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Dolphin Trainer Job Description: An Insider’s Look

Each marine facility will have a very unique dolphin trainer job description. These job descriptions can vary based on which type of dolphin trainer position you are applying for (research, show, interactive, etc) and what level of experience the job requires. One dolphin trainer job description may include performing in front of thousands of people, while another may include the completion of research studies. Some may include both. While these descriptions will differ, there are certain things that all dolphin trainer job descriptions will include. The purpose of this article is to provide industry standard items in a dolphin trainer job description as well as other likely components based on the level of experienced required.

Here are some thing items that are almost guaranteed to show up on any dolphin trainer job description.

  • 18 years or older
  • High School Diploma or higher
  • SCUBA Certification
  • CPR Certification
  • Strong swimming skills
  • Knowledge of basic animal training; operant conditioning and positive reinforcement
  • Knowledge of husbandry skills, food preparation, & sanitation
  • Knowledge of basic animal biology and physiology


A new (0-2 years experience) dolphin trainer job description may include:

  • Items mentioned above
  • Strong public speaking skills
  • Strong guest relations skills
  • Ability to lift 25lbs or more
  • Animal food/fish preparation
  • Assistance in training new behavior
  • Maintaining current animal behavior, including show, interactive, and husbandry behavior, through the use of operant conditioning, positive reinforcement, and a bridging stimulus.


An experienced (2-8 years experience)  dolphin trainer job description may include:

  •  Items mentioned above
  • Monitoring animal behavior and note anything unusual to the appropriate staff member.
  • Work closely with the veterinary staff to care for the collection. This may include assistance in collecting, blood draws, “chuff” samples, gastric samples, etc.
  • Ensuring proper water quality through educated observation and water sample testing.
  • Training new behavior through the use of operant conditioning, positive reinforcement, bridging stimulus, target poles, and other industry accepted training tools.
  • Training and mentoring of newer staff members.


A management level (8+ years experience) dolphin trainer job description may include:

  • Items mentioned above
  • Overall care and planning for entire animal collection
  • Teaching and mentoring other staff members
  • Responsibility for the maintenance and improvement of the facilities product (show, interactions, exhibits, etc).
  • Enhancement of area cleanliness, efficiency, animal care, and overall quality


Here are some actual examples of dolphin trainer job descriptions posted at If you there are currently none posted, try searching for “marine mammal trainer” to expand your results.