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Exotic Animal Training

Do you dream of a career working with exotic animals? Do you want to learn how to train wild animals and understand their behavior? The Exotic Animal Training program focuses on wildlife, rather than domestic species, such as dogs and cats. Students will complete fundamental courses in animal training and behavioral enrichment, followed by their choice of specialized electives emphasizing carnivores, birds, primates or marine mammals.


​Your training will allow you to:

  • Create and execute training plans to teach animals new behaviors.

  • Interpret animal body language & vocalizations.

  • Understand and select appropriate training methods for different species.

  • Use environmental enrichment to promote appropriate behaviors and improve animal welfare.

  • Create effective public presentations.

  • And much, much more!


The Exotic Animal Training certificate requires the completion of five online courses (15 academic credits) and a field requirement consisting of 40 hours of hands-on experience as an employee, intern or volunteer at an approved institution of your choice

Choose three electives:​

  1. ABI 251 Behavior & Training of Marine Mammals

  2. ABI 281 Avian Training

  3. ABI 291 Carnivore Training & Behavior

  4. ABI 331 Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Approach

  5. ABI 378 Primate Behavior & Enrichment


​Required courses:

  1. ABI 222 Animal Enrichment

  2. ABI 233 Animal Training


Upon graduation, students may begin using the designation CEATP, Certified Exotic Animal Training Professional. Many of our graduates start their own businesses after obtaining their certificate, working as independent animal trainers or behavioral consultants. Other graduates find work in zoos, aquariums, wildlife clinics, educational centers, the film and entertainment industries, and other animal-related institutions.


The field of animal care and service workers, which includes animal trainers, is expected to grow at 15% over the next decade.*

Our Approach

Students at the Animal Behavior Institute participate in a highly interactive online classroom, engaging in regular dialog with their professors and student colleagues. You'll receive feedback each week, completing collaborative projects while working with your own animals. This collaboration, coupled with the weekly mentoring each student receives from their instructors, ensures that you will receive a very personal education.

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