How To Become An Animal Trainer (Steps, Cons, FAQs) | 2023

For a long time, animals have been trained to carry out specific actions, like training a horse for a parade or for the races or training a dog for the track races, or hunting.

From the early years, animals like hawks, falcons, and other types of birds were trained as message carriers to deliver messages across distances when that seemed like the only means of passing messages from place to place.

Animal training has since revolutionized, especially in marine training, as marine mammals like dolphins, seals, and killer whales have been trained for entertainment and even to save human lives.

This article will discuss the steps to becoming an animal trainer.

Steps For Becoming An Animal Trainer

Animal training is one of the professions that often does not require a formal qualification to get started.

Depending on what specific type of animal you would like to work with, the education required for animal training may vary.

Although in some cases, employers look for a high school diploma; some employers also look for people with the basic ideas of anatomy and biology, as well as people with at least an associate degree in zoology, marine biology, or animal science.

Below are the various steps you can take to become an animal trainer:

1. Bag a Professional Degree

Most times, earning a degree isn’t always a necessity to get started as an animal trainer, but it is often required for consideration by some employers.

Walking into an interview room with a formal qualification improves your chances.

A degree means you have foundational knowledge in essential fields like behavioral psychology, biology, animal behavior, or anatomy.

Possessing knowledge of these fields will make a good impression on your prospective employers.

2. Volunteer or get into an apprenticeship program

If you want to become a prospective animal trainer, you could find a way to participate or volunteer to work with an experienced veterinarian.

An apprenticeship, which may last for a year or longer, allows you to learn on the job and gain more hands-on experience dealing with and understanding animal behavior.

The more experience you have with different kinds of animals, the higher your chances of being hired by an employer.

Working on a farm or volunteering at an animal clinic is also beneficial, even if you don’t get paid.

The best thing you can do for yourself is to go into an interview with some experience working with animals of all kinds.

3. Find a job

As an animal trainer, you could work in a veterinary clinic, an animal shelter, stables, etc.

However, increasing your professional experience is a great way to attract more employers.

Getting a job, especially your first one could be hard if you don’t have enough hands-on experience.

Because of this, you should put a lot of effort into getting more hands-on experience through an apprenticeship and other volunteer work, before you start searching for a job.

4. Obtain a certification

Adding a certification to your work and professional experience makes you more likely to get better jobs that pay more.

5. Be part of a professional organization

Joining a professional organization is a great way to meet and interact with other animal trainers who share your passion and do the same thing you do.

You can also get to meet with new employers or get the benefits of the organization in regards to getting new job referrals.

Benefits Of Being An Animal Trainer 

Being an animal trainer has benefits one should always look out for.

Some of them include the following;

  • Work flexibility
  • No college education is required.
  • Plenty of time out in the open, especially if you don’t like the office environment.
  • Good work-life balance
  • Opportunity to make an impact on the lives of animals
  • Opportunity to develop the knowledge needed to teach the public about wildlife and how to better preserve it and deal with animals.

Challenges Of Being An Animal Trainer

Some of the challenges that come from being an animal trainer include;

  • Pet owners can be more difficult to deal with than animals. Most times, they might get confused about what you are trying to teach their animals.
  • Animal trainers may enjoy flexibility with their jobs, but sometimes this could lead to irregular hours of work.
  • Animal trainers may have to work longer than expected on some days because things with the animals don’t always go as planned.
  • Most of the time, it’s hard to find new clients because there are more animal trainers than people looking for one. If you’re new to the field, you may also have trouble at first, but with the right help, you’ll be able to get through it.
  • You may need to get a second job to supplement your income and take care of expenses. This is quite ideal, as you wouldn’t want to rely so much on just one income stream whose pay isn’t very much. Dog trainers are reported to earn around $20,000–$30,000 annually.
  • Being an animal trainer is a job where you can be easily replaced. You can be easily replaced if you do not constantly seek to demonstrate why you are different from every other animal trainer around you with specific, distinct qualities.
  • You may have to deal with getting scratched or bitten by animals, as this is something that automatically comes with the job. It’s typical to own cats as pets and get a couple of scratches here and there.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) On How To Become An Animal Trainer

What are the skills you need to excel as an animal trainer?

Good communication, listening, presentation, and problem-solving skills are the skills you need to become a good animal trainer.

Do animal trainers make good money?

Animal trainers end up with attractive pay at the end of every year. It is understood that animal trainers in the US, for instance, make an average salary of $35,000 every year.

Are animal trainers highly sought after?

Yes, animal trainers are in high demand all over the world. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for animal trainers will grow by up to 22% by 2029.

What are the best jobs for animal trainers?

The best jobs for animal trainers in the world at the moment are those held by shelter workers, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and dolphin trainers.


If you’re thinking about becoming an animal trainer, there will be a 29% increase in employment between 2020 and 2030.

This post gives you the foundational knowledge to get you started on the right path.

You can help train animals to help people in ways like medicine, security, farming, entertainment, or getting around.

Your area of specialization would largely depend on your choice, and you may also wish to investigate opportunities in veterinary medicine, animal husbandry, marine wildlife research, education, and the growing field of wildlife management and conservation.

Awesome one; I hope this article answers your question.

Editor’s Recommendations:

If you find this article good, please share it with a friend.

Abasiofon Fidelis
Abasiofon Fidelis

Abasiofon Fidelis is a professional writer who loves to write about college life and college applications. He has been writing articles for over 3 years. He is the Content Manager at School and Travel.

Articles: 602