Animal trainers teach animals specific responses to specific stimuli in order to develop desired behaviors. An animal trainer can shape animal behavior for a wide variety of purposes, such as for competitions and performances (e.g. circus animals) as well as personal use (e.g. house pets). As such, an animal trainer can expect to work in a wide variety of settings, including zoos, pet stores, and veterinary clinics. The work hours can be irregular due to the around-the-clock nature of animal care. Education requirements vary depending on different factors, including the kind of animal and the type of training. It's possible to take courses at vocational schools and training institutions. Some jobs may require a bachelor's degree in animal science or biology.
The interview process will assess a number of skills and abilities, including judgment and decision-making, perceptiveness, and a strong understanding of animal behavior. An effective animal trainer must be able to read and interpret non-verbal cues in animals and shape their behavior by using conditioning techniques; the interviewer may ask questions on your methodology, and on your knowledge of educational/training theory. You may also be expected to have knowledge of safety regulations and animal rights because violations would have a negative impact on the organization. Further questions may assess your knowledge of specific animals and the way they interact with humans, their natural instincts, etc.
To prepare for the interview, think about how you can show the interviewer that you have both the skill set and the personality that's necessary to effectively train an animal. Think about times when you observed an animal's behavior and how it responded to certain stimuli. Show your competence by explaining the behavior in terms of cause and effect. Be specific about non-verbal cues to illustrate your observational skill and clarity of vision. It may also help to show that you work well in stressful environments if the animals you'll be working with are dangerous.