There are lots of places around the world you can be a marine mammal trainer. Zoos, aquariums, marine parks, hotels (like in Hawaii), etc.
Skills needed, probably; a degree, strong swimming skills, SCUBA certified, be able to lift a certain amount, some drama/speech (you'll most likely have to work with the public sometime), past expedience working with and/or training animals (intern, marine wildlife rehab, vet clinic, animal shelter,...), etc.
Here are some links I hope they help. Good Luck.
16. Will the EATM program give me an advantage over any other schools or programs?
......Many of our students want to train marine mammals - we send graduates all over the world to do this. Especially to the Caribbean - a new Dolphin Program hired 4 graduates in the summer of 2001, and more in 2002, 2003 & 2004.
The May 2003 graduates currently have many wonderful jobs. One is working in Shamu Stadium at Sea World in San Diego, training the Killer Whales! (His photo is to the right) Several others are with Universal Studios - both in Orlando and Hollywood. Others are with various Marine Mammal facilities in the U.S. and abroad. Graduates from the class of 2004 are working training Guide Dogs in California, with marine mammals at Sea World Orlando, Sea Life Marine Park in Hawaii, Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo, California - and many other facilities. Graduates from the class of 2008 have jobs at - Sea World San Diego, the U.S. Navy training sea lions, Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, Universal Studios Hollywood - and many other places. EATM graduates get jobs everywhere.
28. What are some helpful hints if I want to work with animals?
Do some research and explore the type of position you want. Some positions may need specialized training in certain areas. For example, if you want to work at Sea World, they will need you to pass a swim test, and be SCUBA certified. Anyone who wants to work with marine mammals, should plan on getting SCUBA certified. Most marine mammal facilities will not hire you unless you show them a SCUBA certification card (and be a decent swimmer).
This is a good example of something you need to explore and think about......
Smoking - if you do smoke, you are strongly encouraged to quit. The EATM Program and Moorpark College strongly discourage smoking. Plus, many animal facilities will not hire you if you smoke.
Also, quite a few animal companies will not hire you if you have visible tattoos....
In the Animal Care and Training Internship Program, students provide support to Navy Marine Mammal Program Staff while getting a dynamic educational experience in the field of marine mammal care and training. The internship program is designed to give undergraduate students hands-on experience with marine mammals. Students will be responsible for a number of support tasks with dolphins and sea lions throughout the course of the internship. These responsibilities will include diet preparation, sanitation, and equipment and facility maintenance. Interns may also have the opportunity to assist the marine mammal training staff in husbandry and open ocean training. In addition, they will provide support to the animal care staff in animal physicals and assist with a number of different marine mammal research projects. Lectures and field trips will also be conducted throughout the term to enhance the learning experience. It is particularly suited for juniors and seniors in fields such as biology, zoology, marine science, animal behavior, psychology, and veterinary science. This is a volunteer program and students must commit to 40 hours per week for 16 consecutive weeks.
How do I become a trainer?
Obviously, you're going to need to be enrolled in a science program, either Marine Science or Marine Biology. Marine Science, while a fair amount of work to get through, will not adequately prepare you for a career working with animals. Most Marine Science majors end up on oceanographic missions such as charting marine weather patterns, currents, tides, etc. Marine Biology would be best for those wishing to work as a trainer or with animals in general. In addition to learning about the marine environment and its inhabitants, expect to take a lot of math classes, as well as Physics and Chemistry.
The requirements to be a Sea World trainer include a friendly, outgoing personality, the ability to lift and carry up to 50 pounds, SCUBA certification, and STRONG swimming skills.
In general, you will not hire in as a trainer. When a position opens on the training staff, Sea World prefers to promote or transfer from its existing pool of employees. That means that today's popcorn vendor can be next year's Shamu trainer. Well, assistant anyway. Being a trainer is more than just wanting the job. You will start off by slinging fish and cleaning the facilities. It can be as long as two years before you are actually in the water with the animals. Although they are cute and seem friendly, they are wild and can react instinctively at any time. Even a 4-foot long common dolphin can readily kill a human.
Oh, and one final thing. There are no rich marine scientists or marine biologists out there. The pay at Sea World is not far above minimum wage. You will work, long, hard hours. You may not get to be a trainer, even after several years on the job, or you may end up working with animals you'd rather not.
Did I scare you off yet? If not, then may you have what it takes: An undying love of animals that is foremost to everything else in your life. It's not a financially rewarding career, but the emotional payoff can be incredible.
How to become a marine mammal trainer:
Most marine mammal trainers start by volunteering at an oceanarium or zoo. Often people work in other departments, such as operations, maintenance, or education, before transferring to a job in animal training. For the best advice about a career in marine mammal training, contact the International Marine Animal Trainers' Association.
What are some other ways to gain animal experience?
Some places to look for volunteer jobs or internships might be:
• Veterinary offices
• Animal training classes (does your dog need obedience training?)
• Local Humane Society
• Local Park Service
• Wildlife rehabilitation centers (like for wolves, bears, big cats, birds of prey, and even bats)
• Animal shelters
• Farms (for domestic animals, or even ostrich, llama, or butterfly farms)
• Pet breeders (those that breed specific kinds of dogs, cats, or horses)
• Horse stables and boarding facilities
• 4-H Clubs