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Animal Trainer Job Description, Career as an Animal Trainer, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

income trainers animals marine dogs

Education and Training: Varies—see profile

Salary: Median—$10.60 per hour

Employment Outlook: Good

Definition and Nature of the Work

Animal trainers train animals for a wide range of reasons. Some trainers work with large animals such as elephants, lions, or dolphins to train them to perform in front of large groups of people. Others train dogs or other small pets to be more obedient at home. Some train horses or dogs to perform at competitions such as riding shows or dog shows. Trainers also work with dogs or monkeys to assist disabled persons in performing everyday tasks.

Training involves conditioning the animal to respond to commands through the use of positive reinforcement. When the animal responds correctly to a command, the trainer provides a treat, toy, kind words, or petting in order to reinforce the behavior. This training can take months of repetition and much patience on the part of the trainer.

Animal trainers teach animals how to perform various roles, like training horses to play polo. (© Patrick Ward/Corbis.)

During the training process the trainer may also oversee physical exercise, mental stimulation, and medical care for the animal. They may also take part in shows or competitions, or participate in educational programs at zoos or marine parks.

Education and Training Requirements

Most animal training jobs require a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Animal trainers learn through on-the-job training, working with more experienced trainers to become acquainted with training techniques. Certification is not mandatory, but several organizations offer training programs and certification for aspiring animal trainers.

Some animal training jobs, however, require further schooling. Training marine mammals, for example, requires a bachelor's degree in marine biology, animal science, zoology, or a related field. A SCUBA certification and strong swimming skills are also vital to working with marine mammals.

Getting the Job

Experience with animals is a must, so prospective animal trainers should volunteer in animal shelters or apply for jobs at zoos, marine parks, or large animal services.

Because three in five animal trainers are self-employed, animal trainers can advertise their services, work with individual clients, and then gain new clients from word-of-mouth advertising. Working on a freelance basis requires a self-motivated and disciplined individual who can deal with an irregular schedule.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Animal trainers can advance from working with individual clients to owning their own training business. Some advance to training animals for competitions, such as horse jumping shows or greyhound racing.

Employment growth for animal trainers is expected to grow faster than the average through 2014. Pet ownership is on the rise, and owners with disposable income are increasingly taking advantage of such services as dog training and feline behavior training.

Working Conditions

Training animals often requires repetitious activities, which requires patience and self-discipline. Working with stressed, tired, or unpleasant animals can sometimes be dangerous, as it exposes the trainer to bites, scratches, or kicks.

Animal trainers who work with marine animals work near or in the water. Other training must be done in the field, such as working with seeing-eye dogs on city streets or racing dogs on the race track.

Earnings and Benefits

Salaries for animal trainers vary according to experience, type of training, and geographical location. The median hourly income for an animal trainer is $10.60 per hour. The top trainers in the field earn more than $20.62 per hour.

Where to Go for More Information

Association of Pet Dog Trainers
150 Executive Center Dr.
P.O. Box 35
Greenville, SC 29615
(800) PET-DOGS
http://www.apdt.com

International Association of Canine Professionals
P.O. Box 560156
Monteverde, FL 34756-0156
(407) 469-2008
http://www.dogpro.org

International Marine Animal Trainers' Association
1200 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, IL 60605
http://www.imata.org

The majority of animal trainers are self-employed and are responsible for their own benefits.

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almost 5 years ago

i lov animals, dey are awsome!! :D I wuld lov to be a trainer wen im older, im only 11 so i still have to get thru skool, wish me luck ppl, thumbs up if school is hard or summin :^)

(plus fcat is coming up .__. nervous :/

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almost 6 years ago

i want to be an animal trainer. thanks for the information:)

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about 6 years ago

i would like to be a animal trainer to help diffrent animals and because i love working with animals you might belive this but i have three dogs and one cat my children think thats alot of animals but i dont think that but there not animal lovers i am so what do they know i think they should start going outside and start playing with the poor animals so if you love animals and you want work with them then keep on dreaming and that dream will come true if you work hard so work hard

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over 5 years ago

to whom it may concern

I, Vivien Lai have a interest in being animals trainner.

i have a questions here
Do animals trainner must be excellence in SCIENCE?

thank you for the information^^

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over 1 year ago

hey this really helpful =)

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over 3 years ago

the info was very helpful . thank you

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almost 6 years ago

This was really great information. thanks.

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over 5 years ago

to whom it may concern

I, Vivien Lai have a interest in being animals trainner.

i have a questions here
Do animals trainner must be excellence in SCIENCE?

thank you for the information^^

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over 4 years ago

Im in eith grade and trying to do a Career Cluster...I need help!!

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about 4 years ago

what fringe benefits can you make off of being an animal trainer?

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over 5 years ago

what add the city

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over 2 years ago

this is not even close to what i wanted to do but in the same catagory. a thoroughbred trainer would make more yearly. my family has been doing this for generations. the horse racing industry is big and even other trainers would make more than that

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about 4 years ago

Hey

This is hailee and casey we want to be an animale trainer because we love taking care of animales.

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almost 5 years ago

hey

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over 4 years ago

i want to be an animal trainer. thanks for the information:)



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about 5 years ago

I really like working with animals i really also want to be a marine mammal trainer. I think this infromation could really help thanks!!!!!(:

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over 5 years ago

u suck nigga

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over 4 years ago

you and your animals

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about 5 years ago

hey how ya doin'

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over 4 years ago

Animals are so nice and monica is a b i t c h peace out ppl drink a coke and train some amimals

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over 5 years ago

I am also doing this for a school project and i am looking for job benefits and looked at where it said hours and job benefits and it said the hours but no benefits can you help me out?

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over 5 years ago

I am intrested and i need to do a homework assignment and this sight realy helped me complete it. Nobody can judge other people and this should be for good purposes only. I am greatful fo the information that this web-page has provided. Thank you
JMC

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about 4 years ago

Hey

This is casey and hailee and we would love to help the animals becaus they need to be trained and trained well.

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over 5 years ago

vivien lai , your gaaaaay

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almost 5 years ago

HAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA... YOU'RE ALL LOSERS. ._.