Working with animals can be a great escape from the worries and stress of your military life. You may not even realize that you already possess some of the qualities necessary to be a successful animal trainer. As part of the military community, you learn to have the patience and firmness to run a functional household by yourself, which are both qualities that translate well into animal training.
Becoming an animal trainer doesn’t typically require anything more than a high school diploma or equivalent, but there are certain specialty fields, such as training, that require a bachelor’s degree in biology, marine biology, animal science or . Many animal trainers also take courses in veterinary sciences to gain a better understanding of the physical aspects of animals.
Finding the right animal-related program has never been easier. The MySECO website offers a variety of tools to assist you in selecting a program based on your personal preferences. College Scorecard allows you to filter through categories such as location, size, campus setting and more to find a program near you. You can even use the Scholarship Finder to find funding to help pay for classes.
Another key to starting and progressing in your career as an animal trainer is to make the right connections through volunteering, doing an internship and proactively networking. Consider joining a professional organization in your chosen field to gain a better understanding of current industry practices and policies surrounding animal training. Professional organizations are great ways to continue your education through workshops and conferences, which will add to your transferable skill set as you move. Networking with other professionals in your industry will give you an edge in meeting the right people who may have the connections you need to obtain an interview at your new location. Read The Value of Professional Associations for more information on how becoming a member can help enhance your career.
After meeting the education requirements to become an animal trainer, it’s time to find a job in your occupation. One of the first places to look is the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Job Search. Hundreds of partner employers have made the commitment to recruit, hire, promote and retain military spouses in portable careers. You can also search your local state and national job bank. If you aren’t having any luck finding employment in your specific occupation, you may wish to consider similar employment, which can include the following:
- Animal care and service workers
- Farmers, and other agricultural managers
- Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers
- Veterinary technologists and technicians
To explore additional information related to starting your career as an animal trainer, check out the Research Occupations tool on MySECO. Enter the keywords 'Animal Trainers' to learn more about the occupational overview for your specialty field.
If you need additional information on obtaining the proper license or certification as part of your specialty field, visit the Advantages of Licensure article in the Licensures and Certifications section of the Education, Training and Licensing lifecycle stage of MySECO. Be sure to also visit the Department of Labor Military Spouse License Recognition Map for up-to-date legislation and licensure information for your specific state.
You can also speak with a SECO career coach by calling Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 or use the Live Chat feature on the MySECO website to discuss any questions you may have about becoming an animal trainer.