Starting your career as a marine mammal trainer.
It seems that everyone, at least once, has thought about what it would be like to be a marine mammal trainer. How amazing must it feel to swim with dolphins or train a killer whale? How incredible would it be to build a relationship with a sea lion and teach it impressive feats, like walking on two flippers? What about all the other tinier animals? The otters, seals, and penguins. How marvelous would it be to spend your days interacting with them?
Most people will never experience any of those things. They will be left with images in their head of what it might look like and what it might feel like. They will occasionally visit an aquatic park and think, “I wish that was my job.” They may even pay to swim with dolphins at a resort and experience the awesome power of two bottlenose dolphins as they push this person through the water – if only for a moment. As soon as it ends they’ll be thinking, “I wish I could do that again.”
Yes, for most people being a dolphin trainer is a dream and stays that way their entire life. Telling someone you are going to become a dolphin trainer, is like telling someone you want to be a movie star or an astronaut – it sounds amazing but it is unlikely to every become a reality. One of the reasons the dream never comes is because they didn’t know where to start. When you don’t know where to start – you don’t start. Don’t be one of those people. Start! That is the first step in becoming a marine mammal trainer.
Until now, there has never been a resource for those who are looking to enter the world of marine mammal training. Finding information on how to become a marine mammal trainer was almost impossible. There are some books, which provide little more content than the words “work hard and you can do it.” There are a handful of blogs, forums, and websites guessing on how to earn the title, “dolphin trainer”. There has never been an all inclusive site where aspiring individuals could go and get the information they needed in order to achieve their goals. Whether you are interested in how to become a dolphin trainer, a sea lion trainer, a killer whale trainer, or work with any number of the other marine animals, this is the place for you.
In the ever-changing environment of marine parks and marine mammal trainers, it can be confusing to know the best path to take.
- What qualities are these facilities looking for when hiring a new trainer?
- What backgrounds do these trainers have?
- What types of dolphin trainers are there?
- What should I study in school?
- What internships are the best and how can I find them?
- Is there a time of year facilities usually hire?
- Who is in charge of hiring a new trainer and how can I get my face in front of them?
- Is there a school for marine mammal trainers?
- What are my options for working outside the United States?
- What is the salary of a dolphin trainer? Is it different from a killer whale trainer?
- Do I need to be SCUBA certified? When and where can I do this?
- I know I have to swim well, but what specifically do I need to be able to do?
These are only a handful of questions that aspiring animal trainers need to be asking. This is the place to find the answers…and so much more.
This site is built with two types of people in mind:
- (17 or younger) Kids who want to become a trainer. These are for high school aged kids and younger who want to pursue a career in the world of marine mammal training. It will give them plenty of advice on what they need to be doing now in order to be ready for that job after college. It will also give you an idea on what to expect living life as a marine mammal trainer.
- (18 or older) Adults who want to become a trainer. These are people who have graduated high school and are either enrolled in college or are college aged and older and would like to pursue (or keep pursuing) their career in the marine mammal training field. This site will provide them with information on how they should be choosing internships and jobs, what to know about a swim test (a common part of the hiring process), interviews, resume, application submission, and helpful organizations and associations.
No matter which group you may fall under, all of the content on the site can be useful to you. Training marine mammals isn’t that hard, actually. People are the ones who make it hard. So while most of the content will be focused around how you achieve your goal of becoming a marine mammal trainer, some of it will center around how to actually train these awesome creatures. All of this information should be presented in a way in which everyone, no matter their age, can benefit. So move around as you see fit and don’t hold yourself to one section. Explore it all!
The road to obtaining this dream job (and it truly is a dream job) is usually not short and usually not very easy. It is a competitive field with lots of people and very few jobs. If you are serious about becoming a marine mammal trainer, utilize this information and put yourself ahead of the rest of the pack. Whether it is learning about the incredible opportunities with IMATA or which type of dolphin trainer you want to become, you need to engulf yourself with the information on this site. Because when there is a job opening and it comes down to you and five other equally qualified people – you will need to have the extra something in order to “seal” the deal (pun intended).
If you have any questions please feel free to contact us. We also love to hear your suggestions about how we can make this site more useful for you. The only reason we are here is to make sure you have the answers to the questions you have so you can make the best decisions possible.