How Long Does Animal Training School Take?
Perhaps one of the more challenging careers for individuals who wish to work with animals is that of an animal trainer. Not only does this require love for animals, it also needs them to have an understanding of how animals behave and communicate. This kind of career obviously requires a special kind of preparation.
Actually, there is no specific animal training school that provides a one-size-fits-all kind of training to all aspiring animal trainers. The reason for this is because trainers may work with different kinds of animals. Even those who work with the same kind of animal have to undergo training for the task that the animal is going to be trained to do. For example, some trainers may train dogs to become household pets while others may train them as service dogs, guide dogs or as members of a law enforcement organization’s K9 unit. Then there are horse trainers, marine mammal trainers and wild animal trainers. Obviously, these kinds of animal trainers need a different educational preparation.
The most popular kind of animal trainers are dog trainers. Certificate programs in dog obedience training typically last for a year and teach students the theory behind canine behavior and provide students the opportunity to get practical hands on experience training dogs. For example, the 12-month Dog Obedience Instructor Training Program of Animal Behavior College covers topics on basic canine knowledge, tools and equipment for dog training, teaching basic obedience cues, addressing common behavioral problems, business building and hands-on training experience, among others. There are also some schools that offer associate degrees for students who wish to learn pet care, grooming and training. These programs typically take two years to complete.
Law enforcement officers who want to become K9 handlers attend training programs for K9 handlers. This usually takes three months to complete depending on the training school. Longer and more comprehensive training courses take about six months to finish. Topics covered usually include patrol training, narcotic detection and explosives detection, among others.
Meanwhile, those who are interested in training horses can enroll in various certificate and associate’s degree programs. One of these programs is the Associate of Applied Science in Horse Training and Management offered by Lamar Community College in Colorado. It also has certificate programs for horse training fundamentals.
Those who wish to work as marine mammal trainers in oceanariums, marine mammal parks and animal theme parks typically need to hold a bachelor’s degree in animal science, biology or related fields. These can be obtained at universities and colleges and take four years to complete.
For those who are interested in training exotic animals, Moorpark College offers a two-year Exotic Animal Training and Management Program. A very demanding program, students are not only required to attend classes but will be given the chance to work at its own teaching zoo which has 200 animals.
Animal behavior courses are also one way for aspiring animal trainers to gain entry into the profession. This is because understanding animal behavior is a key ingredient in knowing how to deal with them. Both undergraduate and graduate degree programs are offered by the Department of Behavior Analysis of the University of North Texas that teaches students the modern methods of animal training using positive reinforcement. Bachelor’s degree programs take four years to finish while master’s degree programs take an additional two years to complete.