Nonfarm Animal Caretakers
Animal trainers often need a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Some animal training jobs may require a bachelor’s degree and additional skills. For example, marine mammal trainers usually need a bachelor’s degree in biology, marine biology, animal science, psychology, or a related field. An animal health technician degree also may qualify trainers for some jobs.
Most equine trainers learn their trade by working as a groom at a stable. Some study at an accredited private training school. Because large animals are involved, most horse-training jobs have minimum weight requirements for candidates.
Many dog trainers attend workshops and courses at community colleges and vocational schools. Topics include basic study of canines, learning theory of animals, teaching obedience cues, problem solving methods, and safety. Many also offer business training.
Many zoos require their caretakers to have a bachelor’s degree in biology, animal science, or a related field. Most require experience with animals, preferably as a volunteer or paid keeper in a zoo.
Animal caretakers in animal shelters are not required to have any specialized training, but training programs and workshops are available through the Humane Society of the United States, the American Humane Association, and the National Animal Control Association. Workshop topics include cruelty investigations, appropriate methods of euthanasia for shelter animals, proper guidelines for capturing animals, techniques for preventing problems with wildlife, and dealing with the public.
Certifications are available in many animal service occupations. For dog trainers, certification by a professional association or one of the hundreds of private vocational or State-approved trade schools can be advantageous. The National Dog Groomers Association of America offers certification for master status as a groomer. The American Boarding Kennels Association offers a three-stage, home-study program for individuals interested in pet care. Those who complete the third stage and pass oral and written examinations become Certified Kennel Operators (CKO).
Animal trainers especially need problem-solving skills and experience in animal obedience. Successful marine mammal trainers should also have good public speaking skills as seminars and presentations are a large part of the job. Usually 4 to 5 trainers work with a group of animals at one time, therefore, each trainer should be able to work as part of a team. Marine mammal trainers must also be good swimmers; certification in SCUBA is a plus.
The data sources for the information displayed here include: Virginia Career VIEW Research.