Dolphin Trainer

Teach dolphins how to perform for an audience.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$17,000 – $54,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Dolphin Trainers do?

Just as dogs aren’t born knowing how to shake or catch a ball, dolphins don’t naturally learn the skills needed for a Sea World show. As a Dolphin Trainer, you teach tricks and special behaviors to dolphins of all varieties. Dolphin Trainers can work for research facilities, aquariums, or resorts that specialize in animal performances.

The purpose of teaching dolphins tricks is more than just to entertain the customers who come to see them. Shows expose people to dolphins in a way they will probably never see in their lives. This type of exposure educates the public about dolphins and their importance to the food chain and the natural world. This can help encourage them to give to organizations that keep dolphins safe, or to scientific programs that research them.

Though it’s awesome if you get people interested in helping dolphins, ultimately, your biggest job responsibility is to keep the dolphins you work with happy and healthy. So even if you never teach any tricks, you can consider yourself a success if your charges live long, content lives. Luckily, tricks actually help keep dolphins healthy. For example, certain behaviors (like holding their mouths open) help make them comfortable during exams.

Tricks also help keep dolphins from getting bored. Like people, they enjoy new challenges and playing games. Dolphin Trainers might teach things like how to retrieve, how to do flips, or how to stand up in the water.

Should I be a Dolphin Trainer?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.

  • How to become a Dolphin Trainer

    Most Dolphin 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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