Marine Mammal Trainer
Tasks and Duties
- using positive reinforcement techniques to train the animals in their care
- providing appropriate physical and mental exercises to keep animals healthy and happy
- diet preparation and feeding
- keeping accurate health and behavior records
- ensuring the habitat is properly maintained
- addressing the public during educational programs and demonstrations
A dolphin trainer salary can start as low as $8.00 an hour (minimum wage) increasing upwards of $35 an hour after building years of experience.
The most recent average salary $14.67 an hour or an annual salary of $30,510 a year.
Most marine mammal trainers have prior experience as a marine biologist or zoo keeper. Trainers will usually volunteer or intern at a marine mammal facility to gain hands-on experience, which is essential for those seeking a job in this field. Prior experience working in another animal related field is beneficial if working specifically with marine mammals is not an option.
Skills Required and Working Conditions
Marine mammal trainers must be physically fit and capable of working outdoors in varying conditions and extreme temperatures.
Current Employment Trends
There is extremely strong competition for marine mammal trainer positions nationwide. Only a few new marine parks and aquariums open each year, so the total number of marine mammal trainer positions is not expected to grow significantly. This fact, combined with the high level of interest in this career, makes it very hard to get a position in this field.