Taxidermists can be found throughout the United States and abroad. Experienced and established taxidermists, especially those with a large client base, will often hire apprentices, or less experienced taxidermists, to assist with larger projects or undertake smaller jobs. The majority of taxidermists, about 70 to 80 percent, are self-employed.
Taxidermy is a profession that requires experience. Most workers start out as hobbyists in their own homes, and eventually start doing taxidermy work part time professionally. Later, after they have built up a client base, they may enter the profession full time. Jobs in existing taxidermy shops or businesses are difficult to find because most taxidermists are self-employed and prefer to do the work themselves. However, in some cases, it may be possible to become a journeyman or apprentice and work for an already established taxidermist on either an hourly basis or for a percentage of the selling price of the work they are doing.
Jobs in museums are often difficult to obtain; applicants should have a background in both taxidermy and general museum studies. Taxidermy schools primarily train their students to become self-employed but may sometimes offer job placement as well.
Advancement opportunities are good for those with the proper skills, education, and experience. Taxidermists who can work on a wide range of projects will have the best chances of advancing. Since larger game animals bring more money, one method of advancing would be to learn the skills necessary to work on these animals. Taxidermists who develop a large customer base may open their own shop. Workers employed in museums may advance to positions with more responsibilities and higher pay.
Talk to a taxidermist about his or her career. The National Taxidermists Association provides a list of its members on its Web site, https://www.nationaltaxidermists.com, which can be used to identify possible interview candidates.
Attend the United Taxidermist Association Expo and Competition (https://unitedtaxidermyassociation.com) and the National Taxidermists Association Annual Convention and Competition (https://www.nationaltaxidermists.com/national-convention) to participate in continuing education classes, enter taxidermy competitions, and network.
Read Taxidermy Today (http://www.taxidermytoday.com) to learn more about the field.