Have you ever been to a circus or wild animal park and daydreamed about working with the animals? The animals in these settings learn their tricks from animal educators--a field that's well suited for those who are already good with animals. Retraining through online animal educator training courses can help you improve your skills, and provide some insight into behavioral principles for animals.
Helping Animals Learn: Animal Educator Career Skills
To be successful in this career, you must be patient, careful, caring, detail-oriented, and disciplined. As an animal educator, you need to develop a strong bond with the animals you train, and maintain that level of trust. The targeted behavioral approaches that you'll learn from online animal educator training courses will help you work with a variety of species and develop the career skills that are critical for success.
Animal educators work with all kinds of creatures, from the wildest jungle mammals to unruly domesticated dogs. They work in zoos, circuses, theme parks, educational settings, and in the homes of their clients.
Career Advice for Animal Educators and Trainers
While a four-year education is not required for all occupations in this field, employers appreciate relevant coursework and practical experience with animals. Outside of formal coursework, you'll need to get hands-on practice with the animals themselves. Retraining for a career as an animal educator can be fun and the position is often very rewarding. Additionally, because of the variety of applications of this field, demand and the availability of jobs should remain consistent--even in a turbulent economy. It's important to keep in mind, however, that competition is always fierce to become marine mammal trainers and zookeepers.
Whether you want to teach an old dog new tricks or help a gorilla learn sign language, a position as an animal educator can be thrilling and a good career for you.
Career Outlook for Animal Educators
- Get Paid. The top paying states for animal trainers in 2008 were Minnesota, Georgia, and Delaware.
- Friendly Fauna. The most commonly trained animals are dogs, horses, and marine mammals, such as dolphins
- Work Environment. Trainers can work in a variety of environments including at competitions, shows, circuses, marine parks, aquariums, zoos, animal shelters, dog kennels, and horse farms.
- Hollywood is Calling. Established in 1939, the Patsy Awards honor the top animal performers in television and film.
- Need a Boss?. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 57 percent of animal trainers are self-employed.
- Connecticut Connection. Hartford, Connecticut was the highest paying metropolitan area for animal trainers in 2008.
- Marine Mammals. Marine mammal training is relatively new. Killer whales, for example, have only been trained for the past 35 years.
- SeaWorld Is Competitive. SeaWorld receives hundreds of animal trainer applications each year, but typically only hires 10 applicants each year.