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How Do I Become a Dolphin Trainer?

Training dolphins typically requires a degree in the area.
A trainer's job often includes teaching dolphins in captivity how to work with veterinarians, as well as overseeing the mammals' diet and medications.
Article Details
  • Written By: Amanda R. Bell
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A dolphin trainer typically works at a private or public park that houses dolphins, and is usually responsible all of the daily care and training of one or more dolphins at the park. In order to become a dolphin trainer, you will typically have to obtain a degree relating to this field. You will also have to make sure that you are physically fit and possess the skills to speak and perform in front of large crowds. Most parks will require that you have a scuba certification, and, either before, during, or after you finish your schooling, completing an internship or working in an entry-level position at a marine mammal park or veterinary office will likely be helpful.

Although it is not a firm requirement in many places, getting a degree in some type of science relating to marine mammals can be incredibly helpful when trying to become a dolphin trainer. A general zoology degree, which focuses on the basic study of all animals as well as specific animals of interest to you, can be extremely beneficial, as can a degree in veterinary medicine, which can help you provide care to the dolphins with which you work. Marine biology and animal behavior degrees can also give you the knowledge that you need to work with and study these creatures.

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Becoming a dolphin trainer not only requires a fair amount of knowledge, but also requires that you are physically fit and capable of public speaking. As you can probably imagine, training dolphins requires a fair amount of swimming and physical labor, both of which require that you be in excellent shape. If you plan to work in a park that puts on shows, you will likely have to speak in front of a large amount of people as well; therefore, taking public speaking classes while you get your degree or attending workshops to help increase your skills in this area can be helpful ask you work to become a dolphin trainer.

Most parks in nearly every country require that you have a scuba certification in order to work as a dolphin trainer. Although you may be able to get hired without one, you will still have to obtain your certification before you start working. For this reason, taking scuba diving lessons and getting the necessary qualifications for your area can make you more desirable to potential employers, therefore enabling you to start working as quickly as possible.

An internship or simply working at a park that has dolphins can help to give you some experience in this area before you start applying for dolphin trainer positions. You can do this before, during, or after obtaining your degree to become a dolphin trainer, or in lieu of getting a degree if you so choose. Many parks offer specific training internships; however, if there are no entry-level jobs or internships at marine parks in your area, you can also work for a veterinarian that handles animals such as horses or zoo animals. While this is not the same as a marine internship, it does show that you have experience working with animals that are not routinely considered to be pets. At this point, you can either work your way up at the park where you initially find a job, or slowly begin applying to different positions until you become a dolphin trainer.

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