As a dolphin trainer, you will be responsible for keeping captive dolphins healthy, stimulated, and active. You will need to feed the dolphins, keep their tanks clean, and train them to entertain a crowd. Though captive dolphins can be used as a form of public entertainment, they can also be used to encourage the conservation of dolphins and other marine life. To be a successful dolphin trainer, you will need to have an academic background in behavioral and biological sciences, the necessary experience and training, and the willingness to work hard.
- 1 Understand the career prospects of the role. Dolphin trainers often work long hours and are often in the water with the animals or walking around talking and educating the crowd. It is a popular profession that is not made for everyone. The field is competitive and you will need to distinguish yourself among a sea of applicants.
- The average salary for dolphin trainers varies from facility to facility. The salaries for entry-level positions can range between $18,000-$20,000. Many trainers have a second source of income to help them stay financially stable.
- The more experience you have as a trainer, the higher your salary will be. A trainer with 8-12 years of experience can make $25,000-$40,000 a year. Many trainers stay in the profession out of a love for working with dolphins and the opportunity to form long lasting relationships with them.
- 2 Be aware of the role expectations for a dolphin trainer. As a trainer, your typical work day may include preparing the dolphin’s meals, feeding them, and cleaning their tanks. Dolphins need at least three meals a day: morning, midday, and afternoon.
- Trainers also need to give the animals all necessary vitamins and medications during your dolphin daily assessments (DDA). DDAs are done at the beginning of every work day to assess the dolphin’s entire body and their medical needs.
- You will also need to stimulate the marine mammals physically and mentally through hands-on training sessions. As a trainer, you will need to be enthusiastic and energetic as you work with the dolphins to practice existing and new behaviors with the dolphins. You may observe and study the dolphins if you work in a research facility, or you may display the dolphin’s skills and behaviors to a crowd if you work at an entertainment center, like SeaWorld.
- 3 Keep in mind the pros and cons of the role. Though every child that has been to a dolphin show may dream about being a dolphin trainer, in reality, it can be a demanding job. You will need to clean and maintain the large tanks where the dolphins live and you will need to work outside during hot summer months. Because you will be working with dynamic and highly intelligent animals, you will need to adapt your schedule to fit the dolphins’ needs, so you may be working irregular work hours. You may also need to work on holidays, as dolphins need to receive constant care.
- However, there are many pros to being a dolphin trainer, such as the long term relationship you get to build with dolphins and the opportunity to work closely with dolphins on a daily basis. You will also be able to work alongside a team of trainers and support each other as you teach…
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