Working as a whale trainer at SeaWorld has become a dream job for almost any child who has witnessed the wonder of Shamu. The
History of career field
People have been training animals for thousands of years. Historically, falconers have trained hawks. Dogs have been trained for hunting, for herding livestock, and for pulling sleds. Elephants have been trained to pull or carry logs. Horses and camels have been trained for riding and hauling.
Compared to other types of animal training, marine mammal training is a relatively new field. People have been training killer whales for only about the past 35 years. SeaWorld animal trainers began working with bottlenose dolphins in 1963 before the first park opened.
Each year, hundreds of men and women apply for positions in SeaWorld's and Busch Gardens' Animal Training departments. The number of openings is generally limited to fewer than 10 hires per park each year.
For SeaWorld, a college degree is not required to be eligible for an animal training position, but it is preferred. Applicants are expected to complete some college coursework in biology, marine biology, zoology, and animal behavior or psychology.
Colorado Mountain College, Quinnipiac College, and University of Florida are among many listed and recommended by SeaWorld that offer Zoo research and management programs.
Prior experience with large animals is preferred. Experience working with horses or birds, working on a farm, or volunteering at an animal hospital is beneficial.
Trainers must have SCUBA and CPR certificates, as well as basic first aid skills.
One of the most difficult requirements to fulfill is the rigorous swim test. The test includes a 67 m (220 ft.) freestyle swim and a 33 m (110 ft.) underwater swim. The applicant must also perform a 7.3 m (24 ft.) free dive to retrieve a relatively small weight and bring it to the surface.
Finally, animal trainers must be able to perform and speak in front of large audiences....