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Careers for animal trainers vary; they may find themselves teaching canine obedience classes or helping wild animals adjust to captivity. Education requirements vary depending on the type of animal training involved but typically call for a specialized certificate or degree.
When choosing an animal trainer college, prospective students should select a curriculum that matches their career goals. Some schools offer associate's degrees in overall pet care, grooming and training. Completing this type of degree is a good option for individuals who would like to work as dog trainers.
Individuals who want to work with exotic 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. Exotic animal training and management degrees are also available. These programs are often associated with teaching zoos where students can gain hands-on experience training exotic animals to interact with their human caregivers, whether for general care, veterinary or research purposes.
Whether an individual hopes to train dogs or dolphins, choosing an animal trainer college that provides hands-on experiences or internship opportunities is ideal. Most employers look for candidates who have experience working with animals and can hit the ground running. These internships may also be available at humane societies, national zoos or veterinary offices.
Additionally, certification is an important part of some animal training programs. Dog training students need to look for programs that offer credentials from professional associations, such as the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors. Prospective marine mammal trainers might want to look for a degree program that includes SCUBA (Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) certification.
|College/University||Student Population||Institution Type|
|Ohio State University - Main Campus||53,715||4-year, Public|
|University of Florida||51,474||4-year, Public|
|University of Minnesota - Twin Cities||51,140||4-year, Public|
|Texas A & M University||48,039||4-year, Public|
|Michigan State University||46,510||4-year, Public|
|Pennsylvania State University - Main Campus||44,406||4-year, Public|
|University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign||43,246||4-year, Public|
|University of Wisconsin - Madison||41,620||4-year, Public|
|Purdue University - Main Campus||41,433||4-year, Public|
|University of Arizona||38,057||4-year, Public|
|University of Maryland - College Park||37,000||4-year, Public|
|Rutgers University - New Brunswick||36,041||4-year, Public|
|University of Georgia||34,180||4-year, Public|
|North Carolina State University at Raleigh||32,872||4-year, Public|
|Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University||30,739||4-year, Public|
|University of California - Davis||30,568||4-year, Public|
|The University of Tennessee||30,410||4-year, Public|
|University of Missouri - Columbia||30,130||4-year, Public|
|Texas State University - San Marcos||29,105||4-year, Public|
|Colorado State University||28,882||4-year, Public|
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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics