Cool Careers :: Dolphin Trainer

Imagine getting paid to work with one of the world’s most gentle and intelligent creatures. Dolphin training can be a rewarding career. But it’s also hard work, both physically and mentally.

Dolphin Trainer’s Responsibilities

Dolphin trainers are responsible for many things: keeping the dolphins (and sometimes other animals like whales, seals, etc) as well as their environment clean and healthy, feeding them, cleaning their aquatic environment, and providing medical attention. But those are just the basic survival needs. Trainer’s also enrich the dolphins’ lives by providing entertainment and stimulation. And most importantly, they teach them different behaviors.

Types of Dolphin Training Facilities

Every facility will having different education and experience-based requirements. But in every case, the more you have, the better. Facilities that provide marine shows for the public require dolphin trainers who are strong and confident public speakers. Other behind-the-scenes types of facilities that focus on research will require more post-secondary education. Rehabilitation centers—places where dolphins are rescued, nursed back to health and released into the wild—require experience in medicine.

Education Needed to Become a Dolphin Trainer

If you’re planning to pursue dolphin training, you can start in high school. Take courses in biology, psychology and, if you can, animal behavior studies. You’ll also need other science courses like chemistry if you’re pursuing the veterinary side of dolphin training. Some entry-level positions will only require a high school diploma, so having volunteer experience working with animals would put your resume ahead of the pack. But your best bet is to have a Bachelor’s degree in biology or a program specific to marine animal training.

On the Job

A dolphin trainer’s job may not seem glamorous at first. It can take years to gain the skills and experience needed to work independently with animals. So what do you do in the mean time? Clean, prepare food, interact with the public, etc. All things take time. Especially studying behaviors and gaining the animals’ trust.

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