Animal Trainers



Animal trainers teach animals to obey commands so the animals can be counted on to perform these tasks in given situations. The animals can be trained for up to several hundred commands, to compete in shows or races, to perform tricks to entertain audiences, to protect property, or to act as guides for the disabled. Animal trainers may work with several types of animals or specialize with one type. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, approximately 14,830 animal trainers are employed in the United States.

Quick Facts


Median Salary



Employment Prospects



Minimum Education Level

Some Postsecondary Training






Business Management


Personality Traits



Earnings of animal trainers can vary widely according to specialty and place of employment. Salaries ranged from $20,270 to $55,760 a year or more in May 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The median salary for animal trainers was $29,290. In June 2019, reported salaries that ranged from $23,000 to $46,000 for animal trainers, averaging $30,077. Those who earn higher...

Work Environment

The working hours for animal trainers vary considerably, depending on the type of animal, performance schedule, and whether travel is involved. For some trainers, such as those who work with show horses, educational programs with hunting birds, or new animals being brought into zoos and aquariums, the hours can be long and quite irregular. Travel is common and will probably include responsibili...


Employment of animal care and service workers overall is expected to grow faster than the average through 2028, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Dog trainers in particular are expected to have good employment opportunities. Competition for jobs will be especially strong, though, for marine mammal trainers and horse trainers. Openings for horse trainers are expected to diminish as the ...

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