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Training animals for a living

February 21, 2007

Animal trainers teach animals how to get along with humans. Some trainers teach pets to obey commands and avoid problem behaviors, such as barking or biting.

Hourly earnings of animal trainers, May 2005
[Chart data—TXT]

Other trainers teach animals to perform tricks. And some trainers teach animals to help their owners, as when a horse is trained to carry a rider or a service dog learns to use its eyes or ears for persons with disabilities.

The most common types of trainers are dog trainers, horse trainers, and marine mammal trainers.

Animal trainers had median earnings of $11.92 an hour, or about $24,800 annually for full-time work, in 2005. These data are medians, so half of all trainers earned more than that amount, and half earned less. The highest paid 10 percent earned more than $22.07 an hour, and the lowest paid 10 percent earned less than $7.37 hourly. These figures do not include the earnings of self-employed workers.

These data are from the Occupational Employment Statistics program. For more information, see "Careers for creature lovers" by Henry T. Kasper, Occupational Outlook Quarterly, Winter 2006-07.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Training animals for a living at (visited June 14, 2024).

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