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Dolphin Research Center Training Institute Admissions

2018/2019 Application period open through April 30, 2018

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DRCTI Admission Info

Admission Info

This is a very competitive program. At this time, we only accept the top eight candidates. The Marine Mammal Behavior, Care, and Training (MMBCT) program will only accept applications postmarked between September 1st through December 31st each year.

Any applications postmarked before or after these dates will not be considered. An application may be downloaded from the Resource Library below. In addition to the application, official copies of all college transcripts are required, showing completion of the required prerequisites.

It is strongly recommended that applicants have prior experience working with animals in some capacity. This helps to prepare students for the long hours, intense commitment and varied duties that must be performed during the program at Dolphin Research Center and on the campus of the Training Institute. Some examples are volunteering or working at a zoo/aquarium, veterinary office, or wildlife rescue/ rehabilitation center; experience with domestic or livestock animal care and/or training.


DRCTI Prerequisites


All applicants must complete a minimum of 16 general education quarter credits including the specific courses listed below prior to applying to the MMBCT program. These courses must be completed with a "C" grade or better. The courses must be taken at an Accredited College or University. High School classes do not apply toward the prerequisites. A previously attained associate’s or bachelor’s degree may be considered by the Institute for equivalency. Contact the DRCTI Admissions Coordinator for equivalency determination. Credits may differ at various colleges/universities. All General Education Credits, including those required below, must be completed and on your College Transcript(s) by January 15th following your application submission or it will not be reviewed.

Prerequisite college-level courses for application to the MMCBT Program are:
Required Courses .........................Quarter Credit Hours
Biological Science………………… minimum of 4 or more quarter credit hours
Introduction to Zoology and Zoology Lab
Introduction to Biology and Biology Lab
Communication…………………… minimum of 3 or more quarter credit hours
Public Speaking or Acting classes
Behavioral Science………………... minimum of 3 or more quarter credit hours
General Psychology
Language………………………….. Minimum of 3 or more quarter credit hours
English Composition
Mathematics………………………. minimum of 3 or more quarter credit hours
Statistics or College Algebra

Courses equivalent to the prerequisites listed above must be taken at accredited College or University and must be approved by the Admissions Coordinator.   A previously attained bachelor’s degree may be considered by the Institute for equivalency. Contact the MMBCT Coordinator for equivalency determination.

In addition to the 16 general education quarter credit hours, students must also complete a First Aid and/or CPR course. First Aid/CRP Certification should be submitted with a student’s application. It is also suggested, but not a required, that students obtain an Open Water SCUBA certification prior to applying.

The following documents must be sent to the DRC Training Institute's Program Office in one envelope between November 1st and December 31st for the following academic year. 

  1. Completed MMCBT program application form.
  2. Unofficial transcripts with 16 selected pre-requisites highlighted
  3. Two letters of recommendation from a current or previous supervisor, manager, mentor or professor. Letters should be sent directly to DRC Training Institute by the persons writing the endorsements. If they are mailed to the student, they may be submitted with the application only if they are in official sealed envelopes.
  4. A doctor's release (on DRCTI form) stating that the specific program requirements, as in the Institutional Catalog, do not pose a risk to any current medical conditions the applicant may have
  5. All official, sealed college transcripts documenting successful completion of the prerequisite coursework with a C or better (due by Jan 15th following application submission)


If the student is selected for an onsite interview:

  1. Selected candidates must attend an individually scheduled prospective student interview held at the Institute prior to acceptance into the program. The purpose of the interview is to provide an opportunity for program applicants to gain a better understanding of the requirements of the program in order to make a more informed decision concerning entering the program if selected. Additionally, program applicants will be asked to demonstrate their suitability for participation in the program. Attendance at this interview is mandatory but does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Consult the program academic calendar for more information about the interview period.
  2. If admitted, the student must sign an enrollment agreement and submit a registration fee of $150.
  3. If admitted, the student must show proper identification (Driver’s License, State ID, etc.), and school documents if necessary.
  4. The student must be 18 years or older.
  5. The student must have no criminal record

The DRC Training Institute operates on a Quarter Credit Hour System:

10 clock hours lecture = 1 quarter credit hour

20 clock hours lab = 1 quarter credit hour
Note: A clock hour is defined as 50 minutes of directed, supervised instruction.

For conversion purposes when transferring credit to or from another college or university:

2/3 x 1 quarter credit hour = 1 semester credit hour.

15 clock hours lecture = 1 semester credit hour
30 clock hours lab = 1 semester credit hour

Please note: The DRCTI will accept transfer credits for general education courses only. All credits must be issued by a licensed and accredited College or University. The Occupational Associates Degree in Marine Mammal Behavior, Care and Training is considered a terminal degree. The DRCTI cannot guarantee that it's credits will transfer to another school. The transfer of credit from the DRCTI to another school is at the discretion of the receiving institution. Students are advised to check with the receiving school before assuming any or all credits will be transferable. 

Failure to fulfill admission requirements will result in denial of admission to the school, which will be documented by the Institute and kept on file for at least one year.




DRCTI Requirements

Requirements for the Marine Mammal Behavior, Care & Training Program at the DRC Training Institute

The Marine Mammal Behavior, Care and Training (MMBCT) program at the DRC Training Institute is a very demanding immersion program. Students are required to participate in programming and assignments for a minimum of 50-60 hours a week, including days, evenings and weekends, until the conclusion of the program. MMBCT students will attend classes at, and work closely with staff of, Dolphin Research Center (DRC), located on the campus of the DRC Training Institute (DRCTI). Students assist DRC staff in caring for our marine mammal family, maintaining facilities and educational/interactive programming for the public.

Public speaking and interpersonal skills are very important to success in this program. At some point in the program students will be required to narrate dolphin and sea lion presentations in front of large and small groups of the general public several times a week. Upon completion of this program, students will be able to work in almost any situation related to dolphin/sea lion husbandry care, training and education.

We urge students not to commit to a regular or part time job during enrollment in this program. Each week the schedule can vary greatly and will require a commitment of long hours that leave little time for outside commitments.

Dolphins and sea lions can be potentially dangerous. Safety is our primary concern. All rules and regulations must be followed.

Students should be able to participate in rigorous physical activities including some moderately heavy lifting (up to 50 lbs). Also, students should be healthy, as they could potentially be exposed to zoonotic diseases.

Students are required to achieve a minimum grade of "C" in every course required for the MMBCT program. Any grade lower then a "C" in any of the required courses will result in dismissal from the MMBCT program.



DRCTI Selection Process

MMBCT Selection Process

The top 25 prospective students who have completed all program prerequisites/general college education credits will be required to attend a prospective student interview, scheduled by the Institute. Information about the meeting date and time will only be sent to the top 25 prospective students.

After all prospective student interviews are complete, applicants will be narrowed down to the top 8 candidates and 8 alternates. Admission to the MMBCT Program is based on grades, experience, education, presentation ability and interpersonal skills.  Should any students who are admitted decide not to attend, selections will be made from the "alternate list” to fill available spaces. During the selection process students will be notified if they have been admitted, are on the alternate list, or have not been selected for either. In the event that there is a cancellation after the enrollment period, the Institute will notify the most qualified individual student on the alternate list who has met all established requirements for admission. Students which are not selected must reapply to be considered in subsequent programs. 



DRCTI Application Checklist

Application Checklist

How to Apply to the Marine Mammal Behavior, Care, and Training Program:

Applications are only accepted postmarked from September 1st thru December 31st each year for the following school year


Send the Following (in the same envelope) to:

Dolphin Research Center Training Institute
58901 Overseas Highway, Grassy Key, FL 33050

  • Completed application
  • Official copies of all college transcripts
  • Official copies of high school transcripts (If you have attended college and completed a degree already then you do not need to send in your high school transcripts)
  • Unofficial copies of all college transcripts with prerequisite courses highlighted
  • A First Aid and/or CPR course certification
  • A doctor's release (on DRCTI release form) stating that the specific program requirements, as in the Institutional Catalog, do not pose a risk to any current medical conditions the applicant may have

Two letters of recommendation from persons unrelated to you and who have known you for more than 2 years should be sent directly to DRC Training Institute by the persons writing the endorsements. If they are mailed to the student, they may be submitted with the application only if they are in sealed, signed envelopes.

Please review program qualifications thoroughly before applying.




Resource Library

Our Mission - Through education, research and rescue, Dolphin Research Center promotes peaceful coexistence, cooperation and communication between marine mammals, humans and the environment we share with the well being of DRC's animals taking precedence.
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