Animal Trainer

License required in 9 states

76th most burdensome licensing requirements among moderate-income occupations

82nd most heavily regulated occupation among moderate-income occupations

What They Do

Animal trainers train animals for riding, harness, security, performance, obedience or disability assistance. They accustom animals to human voice and contact and condition animals to respond to commands. They may train animals according to prescribed standards for show or competition or train animals to carry pack loads or work as part of a pack team. This report does not look at animal racing licenses.


Nine states require a license to work as an animal trainer. On average, these laws require $209 in fees, 122 days of experience and about one exam, the 76th most burdensome requirements of the 102 occupations studied. Because it is not licensed very widely, animal trainer ranks as the 82nd most widely and onerously licensed occupation.

License requirements vary widely across states, as do the type of licenses recorded here. Most licenses are for training hunting dogs and require only payment of a fee. However, California’s license is for training guide dogs for the blind and requires three years (1,095 days) of experience, two exams and $250 in fees. Similarly, Nevada’s license is for training security dogs and requires passage of two exams and more than $1,400 in fees—more than half of which pays for background checks.

License to Work

The data and information here come from IJ’s License to Work report, released in November 2017.

States Ranked by Average Licensing Burden for 102 Lower-Income Occupations

More Burdensome Less Burdensom
Based on data released in November 2017

State Licensing Requirements

Select a chart to view:
Burden Rank State States Licensed Fees Estimated Calendar Days Lost Education Experience Exams Minimum Grade Minimum Age
1 California 9 $250 1095 3 years 2 0 0
2 Nevada 9 $1,408 0 2 0 21
3 Wisconsin 9 $25 0 0 0 10
4 Connecticut 9 $50 0 1 0 0
5 New Hampshire 9 $39 3 15 clock hours 0 0 0
6 New York 9 $90 0 0 0 0
7 North Dakota 9 $10 0 0 0 0
8 Alabama 9 $5 0 0 0 0
8 Maryland 9 $5 0 0 0 0