How Much Does a Killer Whale Trainer Make?

Killer whale trainers make between $18 and $30 an hour, or $37,440 to $62,400 annually. The pay depends on level of experience and state of employment.

Killer whale trainers working at SeaWorld in Texas start at $18 an hour, while experienced senior trainers in California make around $30 an hour. Trainers must be physically fit and have a background in marine biology.

The job is risky, requiring close interaction with orcas weighing over 22,000 pounds. When the trainers are not working with the orcas, they spend time setting up fish buckets, cleaning fish rooms and setting up for shows.

Injuries to trainers in recent years prompted OSHA to force new rules for trainers' interaction with the orcas.