If you have a way with animals and you sincerely enjoy being around animals, then maybe you should consider pursuing a bachelors degree in relation to this. As an animal trainer, you would have the possibility of working with trainable creatures, such as horses, dogs, or dolphins. In your capacity as an animal trainer, you will work with a person's animal to help curb undesirable behavior. You may also have the opportunity to train dogs so that they will be able to guide the blind. While a bachelor's degree in this career field is not a requirement for many employers, it is becoming more common for employers to choose employees that do have formal training in their educational background. After you have completed the course work for your high school education and you have your diploma (or your GED) in your hands, you will be ready to begin working towards your bachelor's degree. You should expect the college or university that you choose to attend to require copies of your transcript and copies of your ACT scores.
In order to work as an animal trainer, it is more common for individuals to obtain their degree in an area of animal science or biological science. Of course, you may have to select a degree program based on what is offered by the college or university that you want to attend. Therefore, there are some other degree programs that you can pursue, depending upon the type of animals that you plan to work with. For instance, you can obtain your bachelor's degree in zoology, marine biology, animal behavior, wildlife management, veterinary care, or animal health and still practice as an animal trainer.
No matter which of these degree programs you decide to pursue, you will be required to successfully complete courses such as: grooming, wildlife education, positive reinforcement techniques, conservation, commands, record keeping, capture and restraint, mating and instinct, animal transportation, animal behavior management, and psychology. If training animals for entertainment purposes is what your career goal is, then you may be required to complete classes related to theater. In addition, you will want to complete business related courses that will teach you how to manage your business finances, how to write effective communications for your clients, and how to market your services. While the requirements for this degree program are not identical from one college to another, you should expect to be required to complete an internship. Furthermore, obtaining certifications that are relevant to the animals that you intend to train will help to make you more marketable to potential employers.
After completing your degree in a field related to animal training you will also be able to seek employment as a pet groomer, an animal shelter manager, an aquarist, a search and rescue handler, an aquarium curator, a kennel caretaker, or a zoological park trainer. Remember, in this profession it is essential that you have a patience with animals and that you can respect them and their space as they work through the learning process.
Brandon Beckham, Owner of First Hand Training
When I was little I actually first started training dog at 14. My neighbors all had dogs and I’d teach them tricks to entertain the other kids in my neighborhood. When the adults noticed that I was really training their dogs they started paying me to walk their dogs and teaching them commands.
I went to school to be a veterinarian and during school started my first business. Instead of working at a job I didn’t enjoy I could focus my efforts on building a good animal training business. Once I graduated I was given an opportunity to buy an existing animal training shop with a partner and we opened it up within 6 months. I focus on dog obedience training for hard to work with dogs.
One of the things I changed when we bought the business was they always did all of the training at the facility. I started doing house-calls to the client’s homes and it was a big hit. Some of the dogs as mentioned are hard to train. I set up my day so that I can do dedicated 1 hour sessions that are specifically designed for the pet. The pet responds to the training better at their own home because we work on behavioral issues that are commonly found at the home. One of the biggest problems I help the client with is jobs that jump on fences. Usually within 3 sessions we can prevent this.