Be a Dolphin Trainer

Be a Dolphin Trainer

Plotting Your Dream Career
a Web Quest for high school students (biology careers)


| Task | Process | Evaluation
| Conclusion

Webquest Archives



What career do you want to have?
Do you want to be active and engaged in your work and not be stuck behind a
desk? What kind of lifestyle do you want? Consider being a dolphin trainer!
Before choosing a college, a major, or a job route, take some time to figure
out how to make your career dreams come true. In this Webquest, discover how
to land a one-in-a-million job – learn how to become an exotic animal

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Landing a job in the exotic animal
training field is not easy, but you can use this Web Quest to find all the information
you’ll need to be ahead of the rest of the pack. To succeed, you will need to
write a job description, describe your preparation process, identify proper
employment training facilities and programs, plan your job search, and learn
about the animals you hope to train. At the end of this lesson you will be fully
prepared to pursue and earn your position in this dynamic field.

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There are a number of steps you
will need to take in order to complete this task:

* This is an individual assignment
(and tailored to your specific career goals), so be sure to organize information
so that it will be useful to you later.

* Acquaint yourself with the five major objectives of this assignment.

* Write a job description.

* Describe your preparation process.

* Plan your schooling.

* Plan your job search.

* List your animal’s characteristics.

* Review the grading rubric in the evaluation section.

* Consider the various questions included in this section to better pinpoint
your research.

* Be aware in your research that a single resource may have answers to more
than one question.

* Organize your findings so that the information is easy to access and follow
(you could use a table, outline, list, etc.).


Write a job description:

Why be a trainer?

  • HIA:
    Bridge and Target Training, Beyond Behavior Modification

What does it pay?

What kinds of trainers are there?

Describe preparation process:

What are the skills and abilities required?

What physical condition do trainers
need to be in?

  • Skills for Animal Trainers

Plan your Schooling:

Where can you go for training and apprenticeship?

Plan your job search:

Who offers the jobs?


What professional organizations might be of help/interest to you?


Learn something about the animals you would be training.

  • Save the Whales – information on bottlenose dolphins
  • Sea World – information on bottlenose dolphins

What is the scientific name of the animal?

What are the physical characteristics of the animal?

What are the habitat preferences of the animal?

What are any special adaptations/sensory capabilities of the animal?

Additional References:

Allen, Sonny. “Proceedings of the International Marine Animal Trainers
Association Conference”. November 4-8, 1991. Compiled by Kathy Rose.

Hediger, H. “Wild Animals in Captivity”. Dover Publications, Inc. New York. 1964.

Marshall, Anthony D. “Zoo: Profiles of 102 Zoos, Aquariums, and Wildlife Parks in the United States”. Random House. New York. 1994.

Schusterman, Ronald J., Jeanette A. Thomas, and Forrest G. Wood, eds. “Dolphin Cognition and Behavior: A Comparative Approach”. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. New Jersey. 1986.

Wood, Forrest G. “Marine Mammals and Man: The Navy’s Porpoises and Sea Lions”. Robert B. Luce, Inc. New York. 1973.

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You will be graded on an individual
basis. The minimal requirements are shown and will earn you one point per objective.
Further contributions and requirements are necessary to earn you more points.
Your teacher will use the “score” column to record your earned points.
Maximum score is 25 points.

A Minimal
B Adequate
3 pt
C Optimal
5 pts
Write a
job description
contents of job.
A plus list average pay.
A + B plus
list perks and job conditions.
preparation process
List the
non-academic job preparation requirements.
A plus name your plan of attack.
A + B plus make a preparation schedule (time line of goals).
Plan your
Find out
which institutions offer programs and how most trainers prepare.
A plus outline the differences between those programs.
A + B plus choose a program. Explain your choice.
Plan your
job search
where to find job listings.
A plus identify which institutions/facilities have the animals and will
hire trainers.
A + B plus identify professional organizations available to trainers.
of animal attributes
the most common captive dolphin and its scientific name, physical characteristics,
and diet.
A plus identify pod structure, mating season, and natural habitat description.
A + B plus describe echolation (how is information emitted and received),
and other aquatic adaptations.

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Congratulations! You have now created your own resource for pursuing your dream career as a dolphin trainer! You know what kind of job you are looking for, how to prepare for it, where to find the job, and how to interact with and care for the animals you work with. Hopefully, you have also encountered other questions – you can always go back to many of these resources for further and more detailed information. Keep in mind throughout your career that some of the most important questions may never be concretely answered: Why do you want to train? What goals do you set for yourself? How can you improve? These questions will continue to push you forward.

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