Animal Trainer

Teach pets obedience, train circus animals, or consult on animal problems.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$17,000 – $54,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Animal Trainers do?

As an Animal Trainer, you have a variety of career options. If you love to travel, you could work as an Animal Trainer for a traveling circus. If you dream of working with exotic animals, you could find employment at a zoo or animal park. To fulfill your dream of swimming with dolphins, you could train them to perform at SeaWorld.

Wherever you use your skills though, to be an Animal Trainer you must have a love for animals, a passion for their care, and a patient, caring demeanor.

The entertainment world employs a lot of Animal Trainers. From the bears in a circus to the dogs in film, there’s no shortage of animals to train. You instruct animals through scenes on movie sets, get the tiger to obey commands at the traveling animal show, and teach the parrot crude jokes as part of the act of a Comedian.

But animal training goes beyond the entertainment arena. Every day, people hire Dog Trainers to teach their pets obedience. In this role, you work with household animals, training them to potty in the proper place, stay off the furniture, stop barking, collect the newspaper from the driveway, or alert their owners to an intruder.

You also train animals to perform tasks that assist humans. For example, dogs are commonly used in police work. You train them to sniff out drugs, cell phones, or bomb-making materials. Or you teach them to assist the handicapped by opening doors or guiding the blind.

Should I be an Animal Trainer?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.

  • Also known as: Agility Instructor, Bronc Breaker, Bronc Buster, Canine Service Teacher, Head, Marine Animal Trainer See More

    How to become an Animal Trainer

    Most Animal Trainers have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9baeaa&chl=no+college+%2865%25%29|certificate+%2829%25%29|associate%27s+%281%25%29|bachelor%27s+%285%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,65,65
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