The Number 1 Guide to Becoming an Animal Trainer

Sunny morning on a rural farm. Young farmer holding goat against him with   herd of goats in the background

Being an animal trainer is beyond rewarding. This job allows you to work closely with a variety of animals fostering deep connections. As well as witnessing the growth of the animals knowing that you have been a part of them reaching their key milestones.

Firstly, what is an animal trainer?

Animal trainers actively plan, manage, deliver and review the training of the animals they work with while adopting positive and reward-based training methods. Trainers create bespoke plans to help the animal engage in general training as well as specific tasks.

Animal trainers can work with a wide range of animals, including domesticated pets, exotic animals, marine mammals, and even wildlife. An animal trainer thrives in interactions with the animal, helps to reinforce desirable behaviours as well as reviews and evaluates training to ensure goals are met.

What can I expect when starting an animal trainer apprenticeship?  

When starting a level 4 apprenticeship in animal training you can expect to learn a variety of different skills. These vary from maintaining and evaluating the 5-animal welfare needs to assessing the risk of disease transmission. All these exciting skills will enhance your portfolio and help you to take those all-important next steps in your career.

The length of the course typically spans from 18 months to 24 months with a review after 3 years. Working patterns will involve irregular hours as well as working in all weather conditions. So, what better excuse to treat yourself to some new wellies!

Having fun. Woman in casual clothes is with pit bull outdoors.

What qualities do I need to start?

Before starting as an animal trainer there are some desirable behaviours employers look for:

Work Ethic

Trainers must have a strong work ethic and be a good role model for others. As well as being respectful, punctual, reliable and trustworthy. This skill is important as animals thrive off consistency and routine. You must be able to encourage efficiency to meet deadlines as well as take an organised approach to situations.


Communication is key in the animal training world. Trainers must be able to respect the need for confidentiality and adhere to data protection policies. As well as confidently and respectfully communicate with colleagues, clients, industry specialists and animals. Trainers are encouraged to demonstrate good interpersonal skills and accurately report any incidents or abnormalities.


Trainers must be able to work independently and as part of a team, showing leadership and initiative. This helps to understand their role within the team and their impact on others and animals. Trainers are encouraged to actively promote good working relationships within the team.


Having a strong and professional ethic towards your job as an animal trainer is crucial. Attention to detail; integrity and time management is a must. Animal trainers should foster a commitment and willingness to learn. Trainers are encouraged to take pride in their work, this helps to show commitment and loyalty whilst conducting themselves in a professional manner.

Safe Working

Safe working is highly valued when working with animals and others, trainers are actively encouraged to promote and monitor safe working practices. These practices must be adhered to at all times. By complying with this specification, trainers ensure the safety of the animals, themselves and others.

vet working in chicken coop

What skills will I learn?

While being an animal trainer apprentice you will learn a variety of skills that will enrich your career as an animal trainer, by the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Continually assess, maintain and evaluate a safe working environment for yourself, colleagues and the animals.
  • You will be able to assess the risk of disease transmission and implement appropriate bio-security controls.
  • Trainers will be able to approach all interactions with the animals in a manner that reinforces desirable behaviour patterns.
  • You will be able to prepare the animal, resources and environment for the training session to aid the achievement of learning outcomes.
  • Trainers will be able to balance the conflicting demands of animal welfare, societal expectations and the safety of the public in deciding the future of animals under their care.

And many more! Read more about the skills you will learn on your animal training apprenticeship on the government website.

Where can I take my qualification after?

Once you have received your qualification there are a variety of paths you can take for example typical job roles include zoo & safari park trainers, service animal trainers, commercial animal trainers, audio-visual industry animal trainers and many more!

We hope you are now ready to kick start a career in animal training, good luck! Don’t forget to check out the government website if you want to find out more!

If you want to read any more apprenticeship blogs check them all out here!

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