Animal Training Colleges, Schools and Universities in the U.S.

Animal trainers may find themselves teaching canine obedience classes or helping wild animals adjust to captivity. Education requirements also vary depending on the type of animal training involved but typically call for a specialized certificate or degree.

Individuals who want to work with wildlife or marine animals typically need a bachelor's degree and need to look for schools that provide 4-year programs in animal science or animal behavior, while those interested in working as dog trainers may want to pursue an associate's degree in overall pet care, grooming and training. Animal training and management degrees allow students to gain hands-on experience training animals through, whether for general care, veterinary or research purposes.

Schools with Animal Training Programs

Students interested in an academic program relating to animal training can apply to programs offered at these schools:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered *Tuition (2015-2016)
University of Florida Gainesville, FL 4-year, Public Non-Degree Program Undergraduate In-state $6,381; Undergraduate Out-of-state $28,659
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Minneapolis, MN 4-year, Public Master's, Doctoral Graduate In-state $15,844; Graduate Out-of-state $24,508
Texas A & M University College Station, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state Undergraduate $10,176; Out-of-state Undergraduate $28,768; In-state Graduate $5,598; Out-of-state Graduate $15,125
University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign Champaign, IL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's Undergraduate In-state $15,054; Undergraduate Out-of-state $30,214; Graduate In-state $15,023; Graduate Out-of-state $28,213
Purdue University West Lafayette, IN 4-year, Public Doctoral In-state Graduate $9,208; Out-of-state Graduate $28,010

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when looking for animal training schools:

  • When choosing an animal trainer college, prospective students should select a curriculum that matches their career goals.
  • Choosing an animal trainer college that provides hands-on experiences or internship opportunities is ideal, as most employers look for candidates who have experience working with animals; these internships may also be available at humane societies, national zoos or veterinary offices.
  • Certification is an important part of some animal training programs: for example, dog training students need to look for programs that offer credentials from professional associations, such as the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors, and prospective marine mammal trainers might want to look for a degree program that includes SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) certification.
  • Some traditional colleges offer programs as part of training to become a veterinarian, and the length of the program and outcome should be considered when selecting a course of study.

Animal training programs may be non-degree programs, or part of studies towards a veterinary degree or degree in agricultural studies. Program requirements are an important consideration for those interested in pursuing studies in this field; schools offering graduate programs will require applicants already have a bachelor's degree.

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