Lion Trainer

Make lions perform for audiences.
picture of Lion Trainer

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$17,000 – $54,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Lion Trainers do?

Lion Trainers teach and train wild cats, including not only lions but also other large felines, such as cheetahs, tigers, leopards, jaguars, panthers, and pumas. Lion Trainers might also be described as lions’ best friends. A quick Internet search, for instance, turns up a video of “Christian the Lion” and his heartfelt reunion with two Lion Trainers who adopted him as a cub in the 1970s. Although onlookers expect the grown lion to eat the men, Christian hugs and kisses them, instead.

As a Lion Trainer, you’re employed by zoos, wildlife sanctuaries, theme parks, and circuses. You’re an Animal Trainer who works with lions for one of two purposes: safety or entertainment.

If safety’s your goal, you help protect people — including those who work at zoos and visit them — by teaching lions to trust humans, which makes it possible to more safely interact with lions for the purpose of feeding, petting, or observing them. If your goal is entertainment, on the other hand, you teach lions to do tricks and perform in front of audiences.

No matter your goal, your objectives include getting animals accustomed to human voices and contact, and conditioning them to respond to commands. You also give them positive reinforcement, and oversee their diet. In addition, you build relationships with them by providing mental stimulation, physical exercise, and emotional bonding.

Make no mistake: Lions are dangerous animals. While they can never be truly tamed, therefore, with your experience and expertise, they can definitely be trained!

Should I be a Lion Trainer?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Lion Tamer, Monkey Trainer, Obedience Trainer

    How to become a Lion Trainer

    Most Lion 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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