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Life As an Animal Trainer

Example of Animal Trainer Job Train animals for riding, harness, security, performance, or obedience, or assisting persons with disabilities. Accustom animals to human voice and contact; and condition animals to respond to commands. Train animals according to prescribed standards for show or competition. May train animals to carry pack loads or work as part of pack team.

A Day in the Life of an Animal Trainer

  • Place tack or harnesses on horses to accustom horses to the feel of equipment.
  • Keep records documenting animal health, diet, or behavior.
  • Train and rehearse animals, according to scripts, for motion picture, television, film, stage, or circus performances.
  • Evaluate animals for trainability and ability to perform.
  • Instruct jockeys in handling specific horses during races.
  • Train dogs to work as guides for the visually impaired.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as an Animal Trainer?

Below is a list of the skills most Animal Trainers say are important on the job.

Instructing: Teaching others how to do something.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Learning Strategies: Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Types of Animal Trainer

  • Dog Obedience Instructor
  • Dog Show Judge
  • Trainer
  • Handler
  • Lion Tamer

Job Opportunities for Animal Trainers

In the United States, there were 54,900 jobs for Animal Trainer in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 11.1% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 6,100 new jobs for Animal Trainer by 2026. The BLS estimates 7,000 yearly job openings in this field.


The states with the most job growth for Animal Trainer are Colorado, Oregon, and New Hampshire. Watch out if you plan on working in South Carolina, Maryland, or Pennsylvania. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

How Much Does an Animal Trainer Make?

The typical yearly salary for Animal Trainers is somewhere between $20,270 and $55,760.


Animal Trainers who work in Kentucky, Washington, or Illinois, make the highest salaries.

How much do Animal Trainers make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $32,900
Alaska $32,470
Arizona $38,420
Arkansas $36,690
California $41,600
Colorado $30,690
Connecticut $36,870
Delaware $35,880
Florida $32,210
Georgia $31,830
Hawaii $31,410
Idaho $19,850
Illinois $46,150
Indiana $33,200
Iowa $72,160
Kansas $28,050
Kentucky $60,660
Louisiana $28,730
Maine $29,310
Maryland $32,210
Massachusetts $38,280
Michigan $32,160
Minnesota $31,640
Mississippi $21,250
Missouri $31,210
Nebraska $32,330
Nevada $28,060
New Hampshire $35,610
New Jersey $33,740
New Mexico $35,580
New York $36,610
North Carolina $27,500
Ohio $28,280
Oklahoma $28,590
Oregon $27,930
Pennsylvania $31,190
South Carolina $36,630
Tennessee $28,220
Texas $29,040
Utah $29,050
Virginia $35,870
Washington $41,880
West Virginia $34,100
Wisconsin $28,890

What Tools do Animal Trainers Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Animal Trainers may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Windows
  • Microsoft Project
  • Database software
  • Facebook
  • Oracle PeopleSoft
  • Oracle software
  • Epic Systems
  • SAP software
  • Atlassian JIRA
  • Customer information control system CICS
  • Work scheduling software

How do I Become an Animal Trainer?

What kind of Animal Trainer requirements are there?


How Long Does it Take to Become an Animal Trainer?


Where do Animal Trainers Work?


Animal Trainers work in the following industries:


Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those thinking about becoming an Animal Trainer might also be interested in the following careers:


Image Credit: Corey Hensley via Public Domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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