Aspiring marine mammal trainers might pursue a degree in marine biology or aquarium science. Marine biology programs involve the study of aquatic organisms, while aquarium science programs teach students how to maintain populations housed in aquariums.
Schools with Marine Mammal Training Programs
These schools offer biology and aquarium science programs, in addition to opportunities for field research and hands-on learning with marine mammals.
|College/University||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Undergraduate Tuition 2018-2019*|
|Moorpark College||Moorpark, CA||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate||$1,388 in-state, $7,050 out-of-state|
|Florida Keys Community College||Key West, FL||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate||$3,276 in-state, $13,162 out-of-state|
|Davidson County Community College||Thomasville, NC||2-year, Public||Associate||$2,588 in-state, $8,732 out-of-state|
|Oregon Coast Community College||Newport, OR||2-year, Public||Certificate, Associate||$4,446 in-state, $8,280 out-of-state|
|University of West Florida||Pensacola, FL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||$6,360 in-state, $19,241 out-of-state|
|Florida Atlantic University||Boca Raton, FL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's||$4,831 in-state, $17,276 out-of-state|
|University of Alaska Southeast||Juneau, AK||4-year, Public||Bachelor's||$7,092 in-state, $19,856 out-of-state|
|University of Hawai'i-Manoa||Honolulu, HI||4-year, Public||Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's||$11,970 in-state, $34,002 out-of-state|
|University of New England||Biddeford, ME||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Master's||$37,620|
Sources: *School websites and National Center for Educational Statistics
School Selection Criteria
Students interested in marine mammal training programs and schools may want to keep these considerations in mind when selecting their program:
- School-sponsored internships at aquariums and marine mammal parks can provide real-world experience for students.
- Programs with on-campus facilities relevant to marine science help students gain experience working with marine mammals in a confined environment, some programs have expedition vessels as well.
- Students should look for a school whose graduates have a high rate of finding jobs in the field.
- Programs with a small student-to-professor ratio may ensure a more personal approach to learning than is possible at larger universities.
Associate's Programs in Biology and Aquarium Science
In general, these programs require a sequence in biology, plus foundation courses in other sciences. Some schools give students the option of earning an advanced certificate after graduation by completing a cooperative internship.
Bachelor's Programs in Marine Biology and Aquarium Science
Students in aquarium science typically complete business and finance courses, while those in marine biology curricula might take classes in chemistry and physics, with advanced elective topics in animal nutrition and behavior.
Marine mammal training programs can provide students with hands-on experience in animal care, and there are also internship opportunities at aquariums and marine mammal parks. Students should also consider programs with small student-to-professor ratios and high graduate job placement.