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How Do I Get Your Job?

June 14, 2010

One of my favorite parts about my job is talking with people in the park about our animals. I love the teach others about each one of our animals as well as answer any questions they may have. Over time I’ve noticed there are three questions that get asked more than others.

“What’s its name?”
“What does it eat?”
“How do I get your job?”

While the first two questions are easy, the last one usually stumps me because I’m not sure how to exactly answer their question. I talked to most of our animal team about what steps they took to become an animal trainer and everyone was a little different. However, the recurring theme among all of us was our volunteer work.

In high school I volunteered at my local zoo. I stood in front of exhibits and talked to the visitors about the animals. Some of the trainers worked for their local animal shelters cleaning and feeding dogs and cats. A couple of our team members also attended the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Adventure camps and loved it so much they worked each summer as camp counselors.

Along with the volunteer experience, choosing the right classes to take in college can help. We have team members with degrees in biology, zoology, animal science, behavior science, environmental science, education and psychology. Some of you might be surprised to read psychology, but we use it everyday when training the animals.

Whatever path you take, know that it is an extremely rewarding and demanding career. My weekends rarely fall on a Saturday and Sunday. My family has gotten good at holding Thanksgiving dinner until I can get home from cleaning and feeding the animals but I love every minute of it. I never wake up in the morning not wanting to come to work. I anticipate each day and what the animals might bring. What if Tuttle the parrot finally sings that song we have been working on or Mtoro the African Serval jumps in his swimming pool? It keeps me guessing and makes the job an exciting one.

When you visit us at Busch Gardens this summer, feel free to ask any of the animal care team what steps they took to work in the animal field. They would love to tell you all about how they got to where they are. Animals are amazing to work with and worth the hard work it takes to get where I am today.

Animal Trainer at Busch Gardens

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