Marine animal trainers are usually required to have a degree. Because very few programs exist that are specifically tailored for aspiring marine animal trainers, most students complete a degree in a field such as veterinary science, aquarium science, marine biology or animal behavior.
Schools for Marine Animal Training
These schools offer a variety of programs that include coursework related to training and caring for marine animals.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition 2015-2016*|
|Moorpark College||Moorpark,CA||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate's||$1,388 in-state, $7,050 out-of-state|
|California State University-Monterey Bay||Seaside, CA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$6,119 in-state, $17,279 out-of-state|
|University of Miami||Coral Gables, FL||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Master's||$34,248|
|Florida Institute of Technology||Melbourne, FL||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's||$39,290|
|University of California-Los Angeles||Los Angeles, CA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||$12,763 in-state, $37,471 out-of-state (undergraduate); $12,629 in-state, $27,731 out-of-state (graduate)|
|University of Alaska-Southeast||Juneau, AK||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$6,132 in-state, $17,306 out-of-state|
|Cornell University||Ithaca, NY||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's||$49,116|
|University of Hawai'i-Manoa||Honolulu, HI||4-year, Public||Master's||$15,072 in-state, $35,160 out-of-state|
|University of California-Santa Barbara||Santa Barbara, CA||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||$13,968 in-state, $38,676 out-of-state (undergraduate); $13,193 in-state, $28,295 (graduate)|
Sources: National Center for Educational Statistics
College and School Selection Criteria
When reviewing schools for marine animal training, consider the following:
- Choose a program that allows for hands-on training at marine mammal facilities through workshops, field trips, practicums and internships.
- Check for schools with higher rates of job placement after graduation, but know that you may need to work in related positions before finding one as a trainer.
- Jobs for marine animal trainers can be found in facilities like zoos, theme parks, aquariums and veterinary clinics, so prospective students may want to think about where they'd like to eventually work when choosing which field of study to pursue.
Associate's Degree in Marine Animal Training
Associate's degree programs in marine animal training include an Associate of Applied Science in Aquarium Science and an Associate of Science in Exotic Animal Training and Management. Graduates are prepared for entry-level animal care jobs or may continue on to a university.
Bachelor's Degree in Marine Animal Training
Broader undergraduate degrees in marine animal training, such as a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology or a Bachelor of Science in Animal Behavior, still require additional specialized training. Hands-on training working with marine animals can be gained through internships and fieldwork.
Graduate Certificate in Marine Animal Training
There are a variety of certificate options for aspiring marine animal trainers, including an Aquatic Animal Health Certificate, a Certificate in Beginning Marine Mammalogy and a Certificate in Marine Mammal Behavior and Training. Certificate programs are typically only available to students who have already completed or are enrolled in a degree program.
Marine animal training programs are available at varying levels, and may include hands-on training, internships and fieldwork. Degrees may include marine biology, marine animal training, or animal behavior.