Career and Education Opportunities for Animal Trainers in Billings, Montana
Billings, Montana provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for animal trainers. The national trend for animal trainers sees this job pool growing by about 20.4% over the next eight years. Animal trainers generally train animals for riding, harness, or obedience, or assisting persons with disabilities.
The average wage in the general category of Animal Care jobs is $9 per hour or $17,670 per year in Montana, and an average of $11 per hour or $23,315 per year nationwide.
There are four schools of higher education in the Billings area, including one within twenty-five miles of Billings where you can get a degree to start your career as an animal trainer. Given that the most common education level for animal trainers is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be an animal trainer if you already have a high school diploma.
CAREER DESCRIPTION: Animal Trainer
In general, animal trainers train animals for riding, harness, or obedience, or assisting persons with disabilities. They also accustom animals to human voice and contact; and condition animals to respond to commands.
Animal trainers evaluate animals in order to establish their temperaments and aptitude for training. They also conduct training programs in order to develop desired animal behaviors for competition, entertainment, obedience, and riding. Equally important, animal trainers have to talk to and interact with animals so as to familiarize them to human voices and contact. They are often called upon to observe animals' physical conditions in order to uncover illness or unhealthy conditions requiring medical care. They are expected to feed and exercise animals, and furnish other general care such as cleaning and maintaining holding and performance areas. Finally, animal trainers advise animal owners regarding the purchase of specific animals.
Every day, animal trainers are expected to be able to evaluate problems as they arise. They need to articulate ideas and problems.
It is important for animal trainers to keep records documenting animal health and behavior. They are often called upon to administer prescribed medications to animals. They also cue or signal animals during performances. They are sometimes expected to place tack or harnesses on horses so as to accustom horses to the feel of equipment. Somewhat less frequently, animal trainers are also expected to manage mating of stallions and mares, and assist mares during foaling.
They also have to be able to train horses or other equines for riding or other work, using knowledge of breed characteristics and the peculiarities of each animal and use oral and/or hand commands so as to condition horses to carry riders or to pull horse-drawn equipment. And finally, they sometimes have to retrain horses to break bad habits, such as kicking and resisting bridling and grooming.
Like many other jobs, animal trainers must have exceptional integrity and be reliable.
EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Animal Trainer Training
Rocky Mountain College - Billings, MT
Rocky Mountain College, 1511 Poly Drive, Billings, MT 59102-1796. Rocky Mountain College is a small college located in Billings, Montana. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 872 students and an admission rate of 68%. Rocky Mountain College has a bachelor's degree program in Equestrian/Equine Studies which graduated two students in 2008.
Certified Pet Dog Trainer: A trainer who has received the Certified Pet Dog Trainer credential has met eligibility requirements and has successfully demonstrated his or her knowledge by passing the certification exam.
For more information, see the Certification Council For Pet Dog Trainers website.
LOCATION INFORMATION: Billings, Montana
Billings is situated in Yellowstone County, Montana. It has a population of over 103,994, which has grown by 15.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Billings, 88, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Billings are valued at $132,200 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred nineteen new homes were built in Billings, down from six hundred four the previous year.
The three most popular industries for women in Billings are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 16 minutes. More than 28.5% of Billings residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.2%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Billings is 4.4%, which is less than Montana's average of 5.8%.
The percentage of Billings residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 48.6%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the LDS (Mormon) Church.
Billings is home to the Twin Pines Ranch and the Hilands Golf Club as well as Cobb Field and Pioneer Park. Visitors to Billings can choose from Western Executive Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Big 5 Motel for temporary stays in the area.