Marine Mammal Trainers

Jenny Montague training her seal at the New England Aquarium (Provided by Boston Globe, 2009)

Marine mammal trainers work with dolphins, whales, seals, sea lions, walruses, and other marine mammals.  A trainer’s job is to maintain and enhance the health and well-being of animals.  Certain training techniques can be used as powerful tools for providing animals with high quality food, aquatic environments, structural habitats, social and behavioral opportunities, and medical care.

The general education needed for training is a strong knowledge of animal biology, behavior, water chemistry, nutrition, veterinary medicine, marine ecology and other related fields.

Previous hands-on work at local zoos, oceanariums, veterinary hospitals, wildlife rehabiltiation centers, or animal shelters is always helpful for gaining experience in training.

Paid Jobs

Senior Marine Mammal Trainer at the National Aquarium in Baltimore
Job Description
Care and train marine mammals, perform in public presentations, coach staff, interns, and volunteers.  Responsible for daily animal observations, recordkeeping and scheduling of feedings and session.  Also responsible for dispensing prescribed medication and helping in safe restraint of animals for husbandry procedures.

Bachelor degree in biology or related science.

Prior Experience
3-4 years hands on experience necessary.  Also having an open water SCUBA certification is recommended.

Last updated 2009.  Apply at

Marine Mammal Specialist for Atlantis in Paradise Island, Nassua
Job Description
Provide healthy living conditions, proper nutrition, and sustain animal behavior through enrichment training.  Responsible for overseeing safe animal and guests interactions.  Make daily observations of animals and report behavior, administer animal vitamins and medications.

High school diploma or general education diploma needed.

Prior Experience
Must have 7 years of experience training and caring for marine mammals.  SCUBA certification, First Aid training, water rescue/safety training, CPR training, and media/public relations training highly needed.

Last updated 2009.  Apply at or email


“Rocky Shores” Husbandry Internship for Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, WA
Job Description
Maintain habitat, nutrititon, diets, and environmental enrichemnt.  Participate in public presentations.  Maintain water quality and filtration.  Document species natural history and participate in training and husbandry.

Education and Prior Experience information not given.

Last updated 2009.  Apply at and email

Marine Mammal Intern at John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, IL
Job Description
Gain firsthand experience in data collection, food preparation, and marine mammal husbandry.

Must currently be in a degree program (junior or senior) or have graduated from one.  Preference given to those currently studying a related marine-science field or have completed one.

Last updated 2009.  Winter/spring deadlines are Nov. 1, Summer deadlines are March 1, and Fall deadlines are July 1.

Professional Organization

International Marine Animal Trainers’ Association

  • Professional group dedicated to advancement of the profession through improved training and husbandry techniques, increased communications among zoo and aquarium professionals, and the promotion of public awareness through education
  • Provide marine biology, zoology, ecology, animal behavior, veterinary medicine, zookeeping, regulatory careers and marine mammal training