Dolphin Research Center Training Institute
Professional Animal Trainer Program
The DRC Training Institute offers a Professional Animal Trainer (PAT) Program to individuals currently working in the animal training/handling field or those who have one year of consecutive training/handling experience within the past two years. While the program’s focus is marine mammals, the courses offered can be applied for trainers who work with both marine and terrestrial animals.
Students who complete the PAT program will have expanded their knowledge and skills to successfully assess animal behavior, adeptly provide appropriate husbandry care and apply positive training techniques for the well-being and enrichment of the animals in their care. Students will also gain skills that further their abilities in applying critical thinking and creative techniques to build stronger relationships.
This is a hybrid learning program that consists of 14 weeks of online learning followed by 5 days onsite at Dolphin Research Center. Students will choose 6 courses from the 11 offered in order to receive a certificate of completion. At the completion of the online learning, students will come onsite to Dolphin Research Center for the hands-on portion of the program.
PD001 Furthering Relationships and Enrichment
PD002 Basic Behavior Modification and Training (pre-req for PD003, PD004 and PD008)
PD003 Advanced Behavior Modification and Training
PD004 Training Interactive Programs
PD005 Marine Mammal Research
PD006 Nutrition for Marine Mammals
PD007 Maternity Care for Marine Mammals
PD008 Husbandry Care and Training
PD009 Public Speaking and Controversy of Animals in Professional Care
PD010 Facilitating Positive Social Groups to Increase Welfare
PD011 Training and Managing California Sea Lions
This program will be offered twice a year and will accommodate up to 20 students each time. (See course dates below.)
2019 Program Dates
Session A: Online learning December 10, 2018 - March 17, 2019. Onsite April 1 - 5, 2019, or April 8 - 12, 2019 (depending upon class size)
Session B: Online learning June 3 - September 8, 2019. Onsite September 16 - 20, 2019 or September 23 - 27, 2019 (depending upon class size)
Enrollment and Admissions Information
The application period is open year round. The completed application, fee, and all required documents must be received two weeks prior to the start of the program.
The application deadline for Session A is November 28, 2018
The application deadline for Session B is May 20, 2019
Applications are available on this website
There is $25.00 non-refundable application fee.
Group classes booked through a marine mammal facility or zoo may be scheduled separately. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for costs if booking through a facility prior to completing any paperwork
Option 1: Online and Onsite: $1850 per student if choosing to come onsite for hands-on work with dolphins at DRC for 5 days, receiving feedback from instructors. Tuition covers all admissions, lab fees, and lodging. Travel and food costs are the student’s responsibility.
Option 2: Online Only: $1250 per student if completing the program entirely online. Must be able to video sessions with their animals, with permission from their facility, and have the ability to upload the video to the instructor.
Please see links to the certificate program documents below for more information regarding costs, course descriptions and the application and enrollment processes. You can also email DRCTI@dolphins.org.
DRC Training Institute is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC) #M072566 and licensed by the State of Florida Commission for Independent Education (CIE) #4766.
The DRCTI Professional Animal Trainer Program (PAT) does not fall under the purview of ACCSC accreditation or CIE licensing.