How To Become a Dolphin Trainer (With FAQs)

The difficulties and rewards of interacting with these intelligent mammals appeal to dolphin trainers. A trainer gets to know each dolphin’s unique personality and learns which rewards it responds to after performing particular behaviors. Rewards include toys, trainer interactions and fish to eat. Additionally, a dolphin trainer maintains the dolphin tanks and prepares the daily fish portions for the dolphins. A candidate for dolphin trainer who is well-rounded has a better chance of succeeding in this cutthroat industry.

How to become a dolphin trainer
  1. Earn a bachelor’s degree. Most zoos and aquariums want entry-level applicants with a bachelor’s degree in a life science. …
  2. Pursue an internship. …
  3. Earn your scuba certification. …
  4. Get work experience. …
  5. Join a professional organization.

What does a dolphin trainer do?

Trainers of marine mammals perform a variety of tasks using their knowledge of marine mammals. They frequently engage the public in entertainment or education, but they also care for different dolphins. Here are a dolphin trainers common duties:

What is a dolphin trainer?

A dolphin trainer is a person who teaches various dolphins tricks and behaviors. They frequently perform with animals at zoos, resorts, aquariums, or research facilities. Dolphin trainers also care for dolphins and ensure their well-being.

In addition to entertaining visitors at an aquarium or zoo, dolphin trainers work to spread awareness of dolphin conservation. For instance, during a show, they might discuss dolphins or their habitats.

How to become a dolphin trainer

There are certain qualifications needed to work as a dolphin trainer. Having these qualifications makes it simpler to find work in this field. The general steps to take to pursue a career as a dolphin trainer are listed below, though each employer may have different requirements:

1. Earn a bachelors degree

Most zoos and aquariums seek applicants with a bachelor’s degree in a life science for entry-level positions. Consider pursuing a degree in marine biology or zoology. These degrees involve animal, science and advanced mathematics courses. Additionally, you can enroll in animal-related classes like marine mammalogy and animal behavior. You typically take courses in oceanography, conservation, and marine ecology if you want to study marine biology.

As a dolphin trainer, think about taking drama or public speaking classes to hone your communication abilities. These abilities can assist you in interacting with guests at an aquarium or zoo or in using a microphone to inform onlookers about dolphins.

2. Pursue an internship

Think about doing an internship to gain experience working with animals while you are pursuing your degree. Some internships may pay you for your work or grant you college credit. You can work as an intern at a zoo, aquarium, humane society, or rehabilitation facility for wildlife. Although you may learn about animal care and husbandry during an internship, you might not get to interact directly with dolphins.

3. Earn your scuba certification

Consider obtaining this certification because most zoos and aquariums demand scuba-certified dolphin trainers. You can become certified as a rescue diver or master diver in addition to earning a basic scuba diver certification. You should anticipate both classroom and online courses if you pursue certification. The final phase of the basic scuba courses involves practical instruction where you gain knowledge of techniques like how to operate various scuba equipment in the water.

Some scuba certification courses also include training in CPR and first aid. By completing your training and receiving your CPR and first aid certifications, you can learn these skills in a setting relevant to your line of work.

4. Get work experience

If necessary for the position you’re interested in, observe an accomplished dolphin trainer or finish a training course. Before engaging in advanced behavior training with dolphins, you might need to complete one or the other. Once you get to know the dolphins in your care and develop your training methods, you can move up to senior-level positions.

5. Join a professional organization

Consider becoming a member of a trade association like the International Marine Animal Trainers Association or the American Association of Zoo Keepers. Both provide you with the chance to participate in workshops and network with other experts in your field. Making these connections could result in future job opportunities.

Skills for a dolphin trainer

Hard and soft skills are required for dolphin trainers to perform their duties. You need the following abilities and traits to train dolphins:

Frequently asked questions about dolphin trainers

Here are some common questions about dolphin trainers:

What are the work hours like for a dolphin trainer?

Since dolphins require constant care, dolphin trainers frequently put in long, irregular hours. Their specific work hours may also depend on their employer.

What is the salary for a dolphin trainer?

What are some jobs similar to that of a dolphin trainer?

The following occupations are comparable to those of a dolphin trainer:

Please note that Indeed is not affiliated with any of the businesses mentioned in this article.

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How many years does it take to become a dolphin trainer?

The College of Marine Mammal Professions in Florida offers a one-year program that emphasizes classroom instruction and practical training with dolphins. Additionally, a two-year course offered by Moorpark College in California focuses on training exotic animals, such as dolphins.

How much do you get paid to be a dolphin trainer?

Entry-level jobs in dolphin training pay between $18,000 and $20,000 in 2019, according to the Dolphin Research Center, while more experienced trainers (those with around a decade of experience) may make between $25,000 and $40,000 in the same year.

Is it hard to be a dolphin trainer?

Physical labor at a dolphin training facility can be very taxing. You’ll need to have enough endurance to train the dolphins for a long time in the water or by the pool. You might frequently carry buckets of fish to the dolphin feeding area and the food preparation station.

How many hours do dolphin trainers work?

Dolphins are trained by dolphin trainers, who also look after their health and welfare. Training requires a serious commitment and is a 24-hour-a-day job.

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