ANIMAL TRAINERS train animals for riding, security, performance, obedience, or helping persons with disabilities. They evaluate animals to determine their temperament, ability, and aptitude for training. They condition animals to respond to vocal, hand, spur, and rein commands. They teach animals to obey commands. When the animal responds correctly, the trainer rewards the animal with food, toys, play, rubdowns, etc. Animal training often takes months and even years of repetition. Trainers give animals mental stimulation, exercise, and care. They may train guard dogs to protect property. They may teach guide dogs and their masters to function as a team.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $34,000 average per year ($16.25 per hour)
- A small occupation (9,700 workers in 2010)
- Expected to grow rapidly (2.0% per year)
A high school diploma may be adequate for some ANIMAL TRAINERS. Others require a bachelor's degree and additional skills. For example, a marine mammal trainer needs a bachelor's degree in biology, marine biology, animal science, psychology, or zoology, plus strong swimming skills and SCUBA certification. Some organizations offer training programs and voluntary certification for animal trainers. Apprenticeships and private instruction are available. Licensing is required for animal trainers by the state racing commission.