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Just click on the question for answers on our exotic animal training school for jobs and careers in the animal industry
General School Information
Other Questions about HA and our animals
How do I become an animal trainer?
The best way to pursue a career in this field is by attending a school like ours to start with, where we will give you a practical and solid foundation. Then it takes dedication, experience and patience to enter into this exciting field professionally. Most of the knowledge you will need and learn is from observing and participating in the actual handling, training, care and maintenance of exotic animals. Animal training is an art form learned by masters in the field. It is only truly learned by hands on practical experience and knowledge.
Our Professional Training Courses are designed to teach and provide you with the beginning tools necessary to accomplish these goals. After completing these courses you can then apply for our volunteer / apprenticeship programs. The more you watch, experience and see the more you learn. It is not the intent of this school to make you a professional animal trainer or behaviorist by just completing our courses! However, please note that where some people have a special aptitude with animals, others do not. Only you know whether you have the ability to grasp the knowledge and experience we offer.
For more information on the different types of animal careers go to: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos168.htm
What courses should I take in college to enter into the animal field?
Most colleges do not have a clearly defined program for practical animal careers. However some zoo and large corporate animal facilities require degrees in zoology, animal psychology, biological sciences, or veterinary studies.
What are some of the requirement for a job in the animal industry?
Generally some of the requirements for animal related field include:
•Strong dedication and commitment
•Practical hands on experience with exotic and or domestic animals
•Drivers' license (a Class 1 - is a big plus since all animals need to be transported at some time and the larger animals need to be transported in tracker trailers.)
•Team player ability to follow direction
•Good health, physically capable and athletic
•Knowledge in zoology, animal behavioral and experimental psychology
•Confident, patient with a positive attitude when talking to the public
•Excellent communication skills
•Theater, drama and dance (helpful in live presentation and educational programs)
•Realistic views on animals and their care
How much does an animal trainer make?
As our school will show you there are many fields in the animal industry however, in general you don't get rich working with animals. People in our industry who work in zoos, rescues facilities or performers and studio trainers, are not in this profession to get rich but rather because they have a passion for it. Our profession is a lifestyle with a strong commitment to animals. To give you an example, studio animal trainers average rate is $300.00 a day / per 8 hr day with overtime at $56./hour. The work on the set can be long and boring with weeks of prep. The amount of work is also dependent on the film industry which fluctuates on a monthly basis. Its feast or famine. Average starting zookeeper pay start from $17,500 to $30,000.
Where can I learn more about animal careers?
We have put together a comprehensive list of books and videos on animal training careers and other great reference material. Please see our books and videos at the store. You can also look at Stacy's Wag'N'Train website on Operant and Classical Conditioning
Are your graduates working in the animal field?
Yes, many of our graduates are working in the animal industry worldwide - we can not list them all but here are a few of our graduates.
· Jet, Heather, Greg, Wendy and Reese are working for Hollywood Animals
· Andrea is working at Ringling Brothers as an elephant trainer
· Liz is working with big cats in a magic act
· Lisa is working for one of the largest animal companies in England
· Avery is working at the Philadelphia Zoo
· Barbara works as a trainer with Hollywood studio animal company
· Joyce is opening her own wildlife rescue preserve in Georgia
· Magrit is working at the Los Angeles Zoo
· Richard is presenting shows at an animal park in Singapore
· Scott has his own animal company here in California
· Nicole is working as a freelance studio trainer
· Jackie is working at a zoo in Australia
· Alison is working on animal outreach program in central California
· Jennifer is working at the Cincinnati zoo
· David is working at the Puerto Rico Zoo
· Jefferson has an internship with SPAWAR working with dolphins and sea lions
· Amanda has her own dog company in Maryland
· Levi is working at Triple D Ranch in Montana
· Laura is in Africa studying animal in the wild
· Sara is working for the British army's canine unit
· Heidi has her own dog company
· Liz is working with big cats at New Zealand's Zion Wildlife Gardens
· Ellie is working at zoo in Ottawa doing out reach programs
Do you provide lodgings?
We do not provide lodgings or transportation other than for field trips. For more information on accommodations please see our travel page
How old do you have to be to enroll in your school?
For our group professional courses (14 Day & Weekend Course) minimum age is 18 years old.
For the Private Course minimum age is 16 years old
For Trainer For the Day minimum age is 12 years old
For the Seminars the minimum age is 10 years old
For the Animal Encounters minimum age is 8
Are there any other schools like yours in the US or worldwide?
The school is run by working professional studio animal trainers, we are not a zoo, park or college. We are also a small and intimate school, which provides a very personal one to one experience for each student in a family setting. We are unique in that respect. As far as I know there are no other schools like ours in the U.S. or abroad. Moorpark EATM offers a two year program in animal management but it is different than our school in that it concentrates more on the academics rather than practical one to one hands on experience with exotic animals.
Where is the school located?
The school is located at Hollywood Animals' Animal Compound in Canyon Country, California. We are approximately 35 miles North East of Hollywood and it is about a 45 minute drive. See more information on our facility at our About Us page
Are you accredited school?
Can I get college credit?
Can I get a student loan?
Do I get a certificate or diploma?
Yes, upon completing our Private Course - you will be given a Certificate of Accomplishment. Upon passing our 14 Day or Weekend course you will receive a Certificate of Completion. A certificate of Accomplishment is also available (at a nominal fee) for our Seminars.
What is the volunteer / internship program?
Animal training is practical "hands on" knowledge. Knowledge is learned by an apprenticeship and practical experience - this is the formal training. Our volunteer program allows graduates from our Professional Training Programs to further their knowledge and skill to gain this valuable experience. "Internships" are volunteer programs and are not paid. Acceptance depends on how you succeed in the course as well as: a) Consistency b) Emotional attitude towards the animals c) Communication skills d) Quality of work on the ranch e) Ability to get along with the trainers and take direction. When you are accepted into the program, you must prearrange your schedule. You can arrange to come to the ranch one to three days per week (weekends or weekdays), depending on your schedule. The internship lets you volunteer at the ranch - work with the trainers and animals - one to one. The internships are from one month to one year depending on the individual. From then on, if we feel you are ready you will accompany our trainers on films set and work as an assistant. The advancement within Hollywood Animals is up to you. However, your advancement is also dependent on the demand of the industry.
How do I enter into your volunteer / internship program?
Only students that have completed our 14 Day or our Weekend Courses are admitted to our apprenticeship program as a volunteer. Any previous experience at other facilities or schools will not be counted because you need to be familiar with our training methods, our animals, their personalities and safety requirements, before you can volunteer at our facility. Acceptance depends on how you succeed in the course as well as: a) Consistency b) Emotional attitude towards the animals c) Communication skills d) Quality of work on the ranch e) Ability to get along with the trainers and take direction. However most are accepted. When you are accepted into the program, you must prearrange you schedule. You can arrange to come to the ranch one to three days per week (weekends or weekdays), depending on your schedule. The internship lets you volunteer at the ranch - work with the trainers and animals - one to one. The internships are from one month to one year depending on the individual. From then on, if we feel you are ready you will accompany our trainers on films set and work as an assistant. The advancement within Hollywood Animals is up to you. However, your advancement is also dependent on the demand of the industry.
I can not attend your school, are there any other options available?
If you can not attend our school but still have a strong desire to enter into the animal field, we suggest the following:
a) You should contact people working in the animal field in your area, (local zoos, humane society, veterinary clinic, animal rehabilitation centers) and ask what they require for a position at that facility.
b) You should also explore the possibilities of volunteering, experience and practical knowledge is usually essential. Try to volunteer a couple of days a week at your local zoo, humane society, veterinary clinics or animal rehabilitation centers. Although your duties as a volunteer, will mostly involve working indirectly with animals, such as cleaning, answer phones, running errands and paper work, volunteering your time and energy shows future employers that you're serious about your commitment to animals. If you demonstrate determination and hard work you will be able to advance to an entry level job and continue from there.
Do you offer a job referral service?
For graduates from our Professional Animal Husbandry and Training Courses we have an online job board. For qualified graduates, we also provide a free job referral service with names, addresses and telephone numbers of other facilities looking to hire qualified people. We have contacts around the world in the animal industry. However, we do not guarantee any employment. We give you the foundation to start and leads pointing you in the right direction --- the rest is up to you.
What is the main focus of the school?
Education is the key to guaranteeing the survival of our wildlife. Our school has grown out of our desire to share our knowledge and give something back to the animal kingdom in a safe and gentle environment. We started the school for three main reasons:
1) To educate the public and hopefully help prevent the extinction of the world's endangered species in the wild and captivity
2) To ensure that the public is educated on the facts about animals and animal training.
3) To start a formal training foundation to produce the next generation of responsible and caring animal caretakers and trainers.
We feel that our school is important because it demonstrates what real animal enthusiasts can do to aid in the preservation and propagation of endangered species through education and understanding. We know and plan to show you that animals can and do coexist happily with humankind. We look forward to providing you the ultimate animal experience or the first step towards a new and exciting career that we believe will be one of the most memorable and rewarding times of your life.
What are the dates and prices for all the seminars, classes, courses and safaris?
What programs do you offer for international or out of state students?
Our Private Eight Day Course is specifically for international or out of state students. It is a private course, just one student. The course can be around your schedule provided of course the dates are available. Please see the 8 - 10 Day Course page.
Are you a zoo? Can I visit your compound before signing up for a class or seminar?
No unfortunately, we do not allow visitors. If you are uncertain about the program - try one of our seminars to preview the courses. Your registration fee for the seminar will be deducted from the course tuition. Please remember we are not a zoo or animal park, we work in the film and television industry and we are frequently on location filming. It would be a full time job to show all our prospective students our animal ranch and we just do not have the time.
I have always wanted to be up close with a tiger... lion... bear... elephant... chimp... Can I do that with out taking a class?
Sure, try our one day ANIMAL ENCOUNTER - its like going to African but much much closer, hands on fun animal encounters geared to your interests. You can photograph yourself and the animals or take a tiger for walk, ride an elephant up the canyon....Great gift idea and something to share with your close friends or family. See our Animal Encounters page.
Do you do birthday parties and events?
Yes, we do all kinds of parties with our exotic animal actors from children's parties to big corporate events all around the country. Please see our Animal Parties and Events page for details.