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 opportunities in this field vary widely.

It is possible to earn a certificate or associate's degree in animal training. There are also schools that offer standalone courses for amateur dog trainers.

10 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 Programs Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
University of North Carolina - Wilmington Wilmington, NC 4-year, Public Certificate $6,691 in-state, $20,557 out-of-state
Northeastern Junior College Sterling, CO 2-year, Public Associate $3,708 in-state, $5,274 out-of-state
Western Illinois University Macomb, IL 4-year, Public Certificate $12,889 in-state, $17,291 out-of-state
Florida Keys Community College Key West, FL 2-year, Public Certificate $3,276 in-state, $10,726 out-of-state
Meredith Manor International Equestrian Center Waverly, WV 2-year, Private Certificate $22,974
Moorpark College Moorpark, CA 2-year, Public Certificate
$1,388 in-state, $7,050 out-of-state
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign Champaign, IL 4-year, Public Certificate $15,054 in-state, $30,214 out-of-state
Ashworth College Sterling, CO 2-year, Private Diploma $759**
Penn Foster Career School Sterling, CO 2-year, Private Certificate $835**
St. Louis Community College St. Louis, MO 2-year, Public Courses $59 - $69**

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), **School websites

School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when looking for animal training schools:

  • Students must find a school that covers the animal or animals that they are interested in training.
  • It is important to look at internship offerings that are available through the school, which can provide valuable practical experience and professional networking opportunities with potential employers.
  • Certification is an important part of some animal training programs: for example, dog training students may want to look for programs that offer credentials from professional associations, such as the National Association of Dog Obedience Instructors.
  • Students who work full-time or have other scheduling commitments may want to look for online programs that allow students to work at their own pace.

Diploma and Certificate Programs

The most common educational offering for aspiring animal trainers is a certificate or diploma, but these programs vary widely depending on the school. Some programs prepare students to provide obedience or service training for dogs. In other programs, students learn to train horses, marine mammals or exotic animals. The length of these programs also depends on the school.

Associate's Degree Programs

At some schools, animal training is included within broader animal-related programs, such as equine studies. In these programs, students gain animal training experience while also fulfilling general education requirements. These programs take two years to complete.

Standalone Courses

The continuing education departments of some schools provide general dog training courses for pet owners who want to train their dogs to have good manners and follow basic instructions. These programs usually do not confer a certificate or degree.

Animal training programs are most commonly available as certificate programs, but relevant education is also available through standalone courses or within broader animal studies degrees. Prospective students can choose between programs based on the types of animals they cover.

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