Marine Animal Trainer Schools and Classes

While marine animal trainers aren't required to hold a degree, having a bachelor's degree can improve job prospects. Degree programs in the field of marine animal training specifically aren't available, but you can consider related programs in marine biology or animal science. Read on for information about bachelor's and master's degree programs in relevant fields and classes you may take. Schools offering Animal Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Most marine animal trainers gain experience by working at aquariums or marinas. Some trainers have a degree in marine biology or animal science. If you decide to go to school for a related degree it's important to find a school with up-to-date research facilities and relevant internship opportunities.

Degrees Marine animal training degrees don't exist, but there are related courses of study
Classes Animal behavior, animal psychology, training techniques, biology, genetics
Schools Select a school that has marine research facilities as well as hands-on training options

What Subjects Will I Study?

At the undergraduate level, marine biology programs teach you about vertebrate zoology and molecular cell biology. An animal science program covers animal care and pre-veterinary medicine. Psychology degree programs focus on the human mind. Any of these programs are likely to include internships. Consider some of these topics which might be covered:

  • Genetics
  • Physiology
  • Marine population genetics
  • Animal biology and management
  • Breeding
  • Animal behavior
  • Training techniques

What About Graduate Coursework?

In a master's degree program, you learn about interacting with and training marine animals. Scientific courses cover biology, chemistry and physiology. You can also expect to take classes in diving and boat handling. The following topics can also be included:

  • Marine diseases
  • Chemical ecology
  • Marine ecology
  • Biometrics
  • Environmental law

What Should I Look for in a School?

When choosing a marine biology or ocean studies school, consider whether the program's research facilities are affiliated with the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. The Alliance provides resources to animal trainers and accredits some institutions that teach or train marine mammals. Also important is if the program is affiliated with the IMATA. The IMATA accredits training institutions that have been approved by the Alliance.

The amount and type of hands-on experience provided are also important. Most schools with marine biology programs are located near water, and many have boats and ocean research facilities located on campus for graduate students to use. A wealth of experience in the field may make you more attractive to employers.

These schools offer marine and animal science classes:

  • West Texas A&M University (Canyon)
  • University of California - Davis
  • University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  • University of California Santa Cruz
  • Indiana University Bloomington
  • University of Wisconsin - Madison
  • University of Miami (FL)
  • California State University (Long Beach)

What Marine Animal Trainer Degree Do I Need?

There is no degree that leads directly to a career as an animal trainer; in fact, it's possible to achieve this role without any formal postsecondary education at all. Most preparation comes through on-the-job training and experience at an aquatic center or marina. However, the International Marine Animals Trainer Association (IMATA) notes that it may be advantageous to have at least an undergraduate degree before embarking on your career. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics further states that marine animal trainers may wish to earn bachelor's degrees in such fields as marine biology, animal science or psychology.

What Other Degree Options Are Available to Me?

Although 4-year baccalaureate programs offer theoretical studies that can help you prepare for jobs in the marine science field, you don't begin to focus on marine animal training until the master's degree level. A 2-year Master of Science in Marine Biology or Ocean Sciences may include components that allow you to work directly with marine animals in a training capacity. These programs are comprised of coursework, internships and fieldwork at local animal rehabilitation or research facilities. Most programs also require you to complete a thesis.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Penn Foster

    Penn Foster responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster:

    • Certificates

    Online Programs Available

  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Bergin University of Canine Studies

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Santa Rosa
  • Becker College

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Worcester
  • Stanford University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Stanford
  • Harvard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Cambridge
  • University of Pennsylvania

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
  • Duke University

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Durham
  • Lake Land College

    Campus Locations:

    • Illinois: Mattoon
  • University of Notre Dame

    Campus Locations:

    • Indiana: Notre Dame