Dolphin Training Schools

dolphin trainer schools

Dolphin Training Schools: The Scoop

Are there dolphin training schools? Well, kind of. Let’s take a look at your options in higher education aimed at preparing you for a job working with dolphins and marine mammals.

If you are picturing a world with multiple dolphin training schools, equipped to give you a four year degree…you are sadly mistaken. In our article “How To Become a Dolphin Trainer” we talk about the need to receive a college degree in psychology or one of the animal sciences. Getting a degree in psychology is your best choice for higher education. However, there are three other options for you that focus more on animal training. Dolphin training schools they are not, but they will prepare you for your dream job.

ABC Animal Training

This is closest thing to a dolphin training school you will find. If we ever live in a world with dolphin training schools, they will be modeled after this facility. ABC Animal Training is located in the Mexican Caribbean and houses dolphins and a variety of seals and sea lions. They offer two types of Training Academy; Basic and Advanced. Each one lasts for five days.

*The Basic Program includes:

  • 5-day animal training course
  • ABC of Animal Training Packet
    • 2 DVD set
    • Study Guide
    • Reinforcement Pouch
    • Training clicker
  • Interaction with professional trainers
  • Hands-on training experience
  • Interaction with a wide variety of animals
  • Career skills
  • Swim with Dolphin experience
  • Behind the scenes access to Dolphin Discovery
  • Certificate

Cost: $1,000

Here is an example of something you would do during the Basic Program.

*The Advanced Program includes:

  • 5-day animal training course
  • Embedded with Dolphin Discovery training staff
  • Hands-on training experience
  • Interaction with a wide variety of animals
  • Exposure to alternative animal training related career
  • Behind the scenes access to Dolphin Discovery
  • Certificate

This program requires you to have one year of professional animal training experience or completion of the Basic Program.

Cost: $1,100

Here is what you can expect to be doing during the Advanced Program.

Notice the “the trainer in training” is in control of both dolphins. This is indeed an advanced training scenario. Notice that she feeds both dolphins at the same time to avoid aggression and is also using her whistle bridge to let them know they did the correct behavior. Clearly she has learned a lot about working with dolphins during her five day program. Now if she would only take that whistle out of her mouth when she’s talking to the guests!

While these programs are not equivalent in earning a four year degree, in terms of dolphin training schools, this is as good as it gets. It is a great way to get a crash course into this career. You will really see what it is like to work around these animals day in and day out. It gives you a behind the scenes look at the grunt work dolphin trainers must complete each day. Being able to apply the training principles with real marine mammals is also invaluable. You will learn a lot.


Becker College

Becker College is located in Worcester, Massachusetts with enrollment of 2,000 students per year. Perhaps best known for their School of Animal Studies, Becker College offers an associates degree in Animal Care.

The Animal Care Curriculum covers all major aspects of animal care and animal care management, including; animal nutrition, animal science, canine obedience and grooming, animal breeding, and domestic animal behavior. Again, this is not a dolphin training school, but it does provide knowledge, information, and hands on experience to prepare you for a dolphin training career.


MoorPark College

MoorPark College is one of the most popular schools for future animal trainers; including aspiring dolphin trainers. Located in MoorPark, California, their two-year Exotic Animal Training and Management Program (EATM Program) is well respected in the industry and gives their students a thorough education in training and caring for exotic animals. They have numerous species of animals under their care. Their students are responsible for caring and training this collection. No, they do not have any dolphins. Don’t let that deter you! Training experience with any animal will help you when you are ready to start training dolphins or other marine mammals.

EATM Program Application and Admission

Acceptance into the EATM Program is not easy. They have 52 spaces available and receive in upwards of 150 applicants.

It is also is not cheap. For non-California residents you should expect to spend about $20,000/year for tuition, books, room/board, and other living costs. You also should not expect to work an outside job during your tenure here. The hours these students work make it almost impossible to hold down a job. Financial aide is available.

Almost all of your questions regarding MoorPark College and their Exotic Animal Training and  Management Program can be answered here.


*Information copied directly from the ABC Animal Training Website.


  • Thanks for finally talking about > Dolphin Training Schools

  • keaireana moorehead

    what courses should i take in high school to become a dolphin trainer/

  • Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key, Florida offers an Associate Degree in Marine Mammal Behavior Care and Training.

    • True! I have done research on the DRC’s new Associate Degree in Marine Mammal Behavior, Care, and Training and the program appears to be amazing and an excellent area of opportunity. However, the competition in getting accepted there is fairly high and the tuition is not the most affordable. But if interested, here’s the website 🙂

  • Hello, I am a junior in High School right now and it has always been my dream to be a dolphin trainer since the third grade. I have swam with dolphins a couple of times before, two of them being a trainer for a day experience. I enjoyed every single second of those great opportunities and it is what I want to do for as long as I can after I earn an Associate’s degree or maybe a Bachelor’s degree. I have been told I should take classes such as Psychology, Zoology, Biology, Anatomy…. Is that really it? I have also been told to volunteer but, I am not sure what to volunteer doing. I am also thinking about getting a job for the summer after Senior year as a lifeguard. I do not live by the ocean so where would i get a Scuba license? I am not even sure if I should earn a 2-year degree and go find a “dolphin teaching facility” of some sort. Honestly, this is what I want to do the rest of my life and I want to have everything in line and to be sure that I will become the dolphin trainer. I have always loved animals and swimming….just caring for them and taking care of them….. this is what I have to do!

    • Emily Wheelwright

      I know Psychology, Zoology, and Biology,are for sure but I’ve never heard about Anatomy… volunteer doing anything with animals…it’ll help. What state do you live in? I live in Utah and am going to hebar or flaming gorge. you need 4 years in collage/universitey…there is no “dolphin teaching facility” to train you.

  • Jacqueline Moreno

    Hello, i am a high school graduate. i am currently in school in NJ for cosmetology but i want to take a career in a love a being with marine life. Are there any schools i can go to that are near by for training in this field?

  • I have been wanting to become a whale trainer my whole life! Thank you for sharing this information! I am almost done with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, and I am becoming more and more excited for my dream job to become a reality.

  • I’m a junior in highschool right now and for as long as I could remember I’ve wanted to be a marine mammal trainer. I’m currently looking into colleges (and I want to stay in Florida) but I don’t know which one to go to. Which college(s) in Florida will help me with becoming a marine mammal trainer?

  • how much is a marine mammal trainer collage

  • Hi, I’m only a sophomore in high school, but I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing before I attempt to do it. With these two programs, can that certificate potientally get you a job dolphin training, or is additional college needed? Psychology, and classes like that? If someone could reply to my comment, that would be great!
    Thank you 🙂

  • Hi, I have a real passion for animals and after doing many differnt jobs at 24 I have finally decided what I really want to do..I really want to become a dolphin trainer..however looking into this it seems that you have to have a degree which I totally understand, however they are extremly pricy…is there any other way around this.?i already hold my scuba diving qualification and not would be happy to do as much volunteering as needed..any ideas.? Thank you

  • This really helped me find my career

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