Have you ever thought about becoming an animal trainer? I’m sure many of us have particularly if you love animals. Imagine training dogs, bears, dolphins, whales and much more. This is really fun stuff. Animal trainers can teach a number of animals to perform under different conditions and obey certain commands and it is so exciting to see this take place. There are a number of venues that you can work in including, wildlife sanctuaries, zoos, theme parks as well as teaching individuals how to handle their pets. In the case of pets this requires teaching the human first and then you teach the animal.
You’ll need to have a high school diploma or GED and have passed a college entrance exam such as the SAT/ACT. Then you can enroll in a junior college, 4-year college or an animal training center which will give you all the coursework you need along with hands-on experience. The school you enroll in should provide a certificate or diploma when you are done completing their requirements.
College courses you have to choose from include veterinary curriculum, zoology, animal psychology, communications and biological sciences. A four year bachelor’s degree is best if you can go that long but you can start with a two year veterinary assistant degree and continue later. Online coursework is available and if you are currently working this is the way to go. This saves commute time and gas money.
While you are studying, it is a good idea to work with professional animal trainers to get experience. This work may be paid or you may have to volunteer at first. Nevertheless, get as much experience as you can with the animals you have an interest in training. See if internships are available through your college. Your counselor can help you with this. If they are not available see if you can initiate one with your local animal shelter, wildlife sanctuaries or farms.
With your degree, you’ll be able to train animals for competitions, entertainment, obedience, security and riding. Imagine that! Such great fun. You’ll be able to evaluate animal temperaments, abilities and aptitude for training. In some positions, you’ll feed and exercise animals. You’ll be able to assess an animal’s physical condition to determine if they are ill in some way and need medical care.
Consider training animals for motion pictures, television, stage or circus performances. Think about training dogs for people who need assistance because they are blind or disabled in some way. For those of you who loves horses, think about training horses for riding, harness, and show racing. You’ll have knowledge of different breed characteristics and performance standards. You’ll also be able to administer medications when necessary. This is truly an exciting career.