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National Aquarium - Dolphin Trainers

A Marine Mammal Specialist's Life

A Day in the Life of a Marine Mammal Specialist

A career as a marine mammal specialist has a lot of perks, but our specialists also work really hard.

Our specialists work on a staggered schedule with our dolphins. The Aquarium has 13 specialists who team up with groups of dolphins for different daily activities.

The early shift of marine mammal specialists begins the day at 6:30 a.m., bucketing out the dolphins' food for the day. Before they're finished, the second shift will be busy working with the dolphins.

And because dolphins can eat more than 20 pounds of fish per day, much of our specialists' days is spent on food preparation and cleaning!

In addition to their already-packed daily schedule, specialists also each have a project they are in charge of, such as: repairing wet suits, ordering fish and supplies, diving to clean pools, running the internship and volunteer programs, safety, filing, and entering records into the computers.

How to Become a Marine Mammal Specialist

Interested in learning what it takes to become a marine mammal specialists? It's never too early to lay the foundation for your career.

Working as a marine mammal specialist is a position that often seems glamorous to outsiders, but patience, skill, and a unique understanding of animal behavior are required. SCUBA certification and public speaking skills are also necessary.

To become a marine mammal specialist, we recommend you get a degree in psychology, biology, or zoology. Additionally, most of our specialists started out by gaining hands-on experience through internships or volunteer programs, either at the National Aquarium or at other facilities.

Above all, consider volunteering or working where you can get first-hand experience with animals, study hard in school, and keep a positive attitude!

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