Working with animals is a very challenging and rewarding experience. As you explore different careers in the animal field, we encourage you to pursue your education and build experience working with animals and people.
What is a typical day of a dolphin trainer?
Dolphin trainers usually start their day by sorting and weighing fish into buckets for each of the dolphins’ diet. The trainers will then choose animal teams for the start of the day and perform their dolphin daily assessments (DDA). During the DDA, the trainers look over the dolphin’s entire body; check their eyes, mouth and blowhole. Before the programs with the guests begin, the trainers have a meeting to discuss the daily animal plan, take medical samples and work on training new behaviors. When the first programs begin, the dolphin teams are assembled, and the trainers lead hands-on interactions with the guests and the dolphins. After these programs, the trainers have some time to work on new behaviors or special projects before the next programs start. Some trainers will lead the interactive programs while others will work on training behaviors with individual animals. Throughout the day, new animal teams are created matching the goals of the day whether programs, relationship play or training. Trainers also spend quality time with the guests that visit us throughout the day and work hard to teach the interns that are currently on site. After the last program, the trainers finish feeding the animals, clean the fish kitchen and the lab to be sparkling clean, and choose new social groupings for the animals overnight. It is an action-packed, fun-filled day EVERY DAY!
How do I become a marine mammal veterinarian?
To become a veterinarian, you must complete a pre-vet or pre-med college curriculum (3-4 years), complete veterinary school (4 years), and pass the state veterinary boards where you want to work. Then you have to get a job. It is a tough field to get into but there are always places for dedicated, competent and hard-working people. If your heart is set on the field of marine mammal veterinary medicine, you will be wise to look for every opportunity to take specialized classes, shadow marine mammal specialists, and complete intern or externships while in college and vet school. The marine mammal veterinary specialty is a small community and it is very important to meet people, and prove your enthusiasm and capabilities at every opportunity. To that end, we would further recommend that you join the pre-vet club in college, attend pertinent lectures in your community, and attend professional conferences in the field, even as a student.
How to become a dolphin trainer?
The most important thing to becoming a dolphin trainer is commitment. Working with dolphins is exciting and rewarding, while dolphin trainers’ work hard they are not highly paid. A trainer’s schedule depends on the needs of the dolphins, so this can include working nights, weekends and holidays. If you are realistic about the job’s expectations and love the idea of a challenging career with animals, here are a few suggestions to help get you started on the path to becoming a dolphin trainer.
Education, training and/or experience are the most important factors to getting a job as a dolphin trainer. A degree in a life sciences related field, such as: animal or marine biology, psychology, behavior or certification as a veterinary technician or from an exotic animal training program would be a beginning. You can also acquire some training or experience with animals by working, volunteering or through an internship at a zoo, oceanarium, public display facility, veterinarian clinic, wildlife rehabilitation center, or animal shelter. You will gain an understanding of the types of duties and responsibilities necessary to work with animals. This will give you a good idea if becoming a dolphin trainer is right for you. You will also develop relationships and contacts with people in the field who can assist you in your career path. Public speaking, a great attitude and excellent swimming, snorkeling and SCUBA skills are important for individuals interested in becoming dolphin trainers. Some locations do have specific requirements, so it is important to inquire about these requirements.
|For more information, download the Careers Working with Marine Animals handout.|
Do you have Dolphin Training internships?
We offer internships at Dolphin Quest Bermuda. For more information, please check out the Internship page.