What do Animal Trainers do?
Animal trainers help train animals for security purposes, for labor-intensive positions, for assisting individuals to live independently, for obedience reasons, or for performances and presentations. Animal trainers are enlisted in the personal care and service of animals, to help them get accustomed to listening and obeying human commands as well as familiar with human contact and interaction. Employment opportunities for animal trainers are expected to increase about 15% in the coming years, with over 2,400 job openings projected nationally.
Animal Trainers Skills and Abilities
In order to work effectively with animals of all species, animal trainers must be comfortable with animals and confident in their abilities to train and coach animals, which can at times be unpredictable. You also need to have an extensive knowledge of the animals you are training in order to know how to help keep animals healthy and happy as they learn. Animal trainers must be patient as they work with animals, and they must be able to sense when something is wrong or if a problem is likely to occur. This personal care can help keep the animal, the trainer, and any other performers safe and prevent serious problems from happening.
Animal Trainers Duties
Animal trainers must perform a variety of duties in their day-to-day interactions with both humans and animals. You will need to be prepared for unexpected working conditions, as well as the unpredictable behavior of animals. Some daily tasks for animal trainers include:
- Administering medications or medical treatments to animals as needed
- Feed, clean, exercise, and provide general care to animals, such as cleaning out pens or stalls
- Evaluate animals for their ability and willingness to learn, perform, and train
- Keep detailed records of animal care, including their behavior, diet, and training
- Provide advice and information for animal owners on appropriate training methods or breed recommendations for purchase
- Create animal-specific training programs along with learning objectives
- Talk to and interact with animals in order to familiarize them with humans, or possibly teach them how to become accustomed to other animals
- Organize shows and animal performance events
Animal Trainers Tools and Technology
Items such as dog training collars, leashes and leads, harnesses for different types of animals, and pet grooming products are all tools that every animal trainer should have on hand. Other items can be more breed-specific, such as agility frames for dog training or saddles and riding gear for horses.Animal trainers do much of their work hands-on and through experience with animals, but technology is still needed in this position. You should have experience with the following technological programs in order to enhance your animal training services:
- Calendar and scheduling program
- Electronic mail
- Webpage creation and management
Education and Training for Animal Trainers
Most animal trainers need only a high school diploma or their GED in order to start preparing to work with animals. You need quite a bit of on-the-job training in this position, and you will likely learn as you go and improve your skills and knowledge accordingly. There are programs offered for animal training and equine studies if you should choose to pursue them, but they are not required for most animal training positions.
Animal Trainers Salary
Animal trainers can expect to earn anywhere from $17,000 to nearly $60,000 per year, depending on your experience and training and your geographic location. On average, most animal trainers earn about $26,000 annually.
Animal Trainer Jobs by Geography
States with the highest demand for animal trainers are California, New York, and Texas, partially due to the entertainment industry located in those areas, as well as a higher population density in those states.