Taxidermy is the process of preparing and stuffing a carcass.
The people who carry out taxidermy work are called taxidermists.
While anyone can take up taxidermy as a hobby, becoming a paid taxidermist requires skill and training.
Taxidermy is a growing field with room for new taxidermists, but you may spend several years learning the skills of the trade.
Here’s a detailed look at the career path and job expectations for a taxidermist.
You should first understand the basics of what a taxidermist is and what they do…
- What is a Taxidermist?
- Work Opportunities in the Taxidermy Industry
- What It’s Like to Be a Taxidermist
- Taxidermist Salary & Income
- Overview of the Taxidermist Industry
- Taxidermist Facts
- Jobs Related to Taxidermist
- Requirements, Skills, and Education Required for Taxidermists
- What Do I Need to Become a Taxidermist?
- What Education Does a Taxidermist Need?
- How to Become a Taxidermist
- Current Career Job Openings
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Taxidermist?
A taxidermist is a person who practices taxidermy.
They prepare or mount animals for display.
This often involves removing the skin from an animal carcass and preserving it.
Taxidermists often stuff or mount hunting trophies and wild animals.
They work for a business or as independent contractors, depending on the region and their experience level.
What is a Taxidermist Called?
A taxidermist may also be called an animal stuffer or an artificer. However, taxidermist is the most common name for a person who practices taxidermy.
What Does a Taxidermist Do?
A taxidermist preserves animal carcasses by stuffing them. The stuffed animal is typically put on display or mounted and hung on a wall. Depending on the animal, taxidermy may involve the following steps:
- Remove the skin from animal carcasses
- Prepare a model that resembles the animal’s form
- Attach the skin and additional parts to the model
- Prepare chemicals for preserving the skin, fur, and other parts
Work Opportunities in the Taxidermy Industry
The taxidermy industry is expected to grow due to the increased interest in hunting.
The increase in the number of hunters helps increase the need for taxidermists to mount hunting trophies or preserve small game.
Taxidermist Job Description
A taxidermist is responsible for preserving deceased animals.
Most taxidermists work with dead animals brought in by clients, such as hunters.
Some of the types of animals that taxidermists may stuff or mount include:
- Small game (rabbit, squirrel, and birds)
- Big game (lions, tigers, and exotic animals)
Top Taxidermist Jobs and Careers
Taxidermists may work for themselves or seek employment.
Many taxidermists start by looking for apprenticeships or attending taxidermy schools.
Where Can a Taxidermist Work?
Taxidermists may work for taxidermy shops, museums, or themselves.
Taxidermy shops specialize in stuffing and mounting all types of dead animals.
Museums may employ taxidermists to preserve animals for museum exhibits.
Taxidermists may also launch their own businesses and work as independent contractors.
What It’s Like to Be a Taxidermist
The work life of a taxidermist is unique, as you don’t typically need to follow a set schedule.
It’s an artistic pursuit that involves preparing displays using deceased animals.
Is Being a Taxidermist Hard?
Some people may find the artistic aspects of this job challenging.
If you lack natural artistic aptitude, this job becomes more of a challenge.
Taxidermists may find this job stressful when an animal hide rips, or they experience other setbacks.
However, the job is not overly stressful compared to other professions.
Common Taxidermist Workday
A taxidermist’s workday may start by reviewing their progress and looking over any upcoming projects.
They may try to reach a specific point or complete certain tasks by the end of each day based on their current backlog of projects.
Taxidermist Tasks & Duties
Tasks and duties for taxidermists include skinning animal carcasses, preparing the hide, and stitching the skin over a model to recreate the look of the animal.
Taxidermist Work Hours & Schedule
The work hours vary.
You may need to put in more hours when finishing up a large project but should typically work less than 40 hours per week. You may even set your schedule.
Taxidermist Dress Code
Taxidermists rarely need to follow a specific dress code.
Does This Career Field Embrace Work/Life Balance?
Taxidermy can provide a great work/life balance, especially for those who go into business for themselves, as you can set your own hours.
Taxidermist Salary & Income
Taxidermists can make a stable living with this career, depending on their skill level and type of employment.
Here’s a closer look.
Taxidermists with minimal experience can supplement their income by offering taxidermy services.
A full-time taxidermist job may provide greater stability and higher pay.
With years of experience and a growing client list, a taxidermist may earn a considerable amount of money each year.
How Much Do Taxidermists Make?
According to the Economic Research Institute (ERI), the average taxidermist earns about $48,313 per year.
However, the ERI also predicts the salary to increase 11% to $53,866 by 2027.
Overview of the Taxidermist Industry
Here’s an overview of what you can expect from the taxidermy industry…
Taxidermist Field: Career Progression
Taxidermists often start as apprentices when working for a taxidermy shop.
Museums and universities often prefer to hire taxidermists with previous experience.
Taxidermists with adequate experience and artistic abilities may go into business for themselves with their own client lists.
Is Taxidermist a Good Career?
Taxidermy is a good career for those who possess the right skills.
An artistic individual can make a good living as a taxidermist.
Taxidermist Job Outlook
The job outlook for taxidermists is good for the rest of the decade.
Many taxidermists frequently have backlogs of a year or longer.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) includes taxidermists in the “fishing and hunting workers” category.
According to the BLS, demand for this group is expected to grow 11% between 2020 and 2030.
Taxidermy is a $766 million industry with fewer than 100,000 employees, which provides lots of room for those just getting into this field.
Jobs Related to Taxidermist
If taxidermy isn’t the perfect fit, you may want to consider one of the following related careers:
Requirements, Skills, and Education Required for Taxidermists
Before embarking on a path to becoming a taxidermist, you should explore the education and skills needed for this career.
- Who Should Consider a Taxidermist Career Path? Those who are fascinated by taxidermy or looking for a unique career may enjoy working as taxidermists.
- Who Should Not Consider a Taxidermist Career Path? Anyone who is squeamish or dislikes the thought of handling dead animals should consider a different career.
- Is It Hard to Become a Taxidermist? Taxidermy is an artistic profession that requires many hours of practice and training, but it’s not an overly difficult field to enter.
What Do I Need to Become a Taxidermist?
Taxidermists often attend taxidermy school or complete an apprenticeship to learn the skills of the trade.
Here’s a closer look at the requirements for this career.
Requirements for Becoming a Taxidermist
Taxidermists often enter this career by working for an established taxidermy business.
The requirements vary, but some employers may prefer candidates who have completed taxidermy school or related courses.
Most states also require a taxidermy license to mount dead animal carcasses and buy and sell certain animal parts.
What Skills Does a Taxidermist Need?
Fine motor skills and dexterity are useful for creating lifelike displays, which helps taxidermists advance their careers.
Taxidermists also require patience and attention to detail.
The taxidermy process is often slow and requires careful workmanship.
What Education Does a Taxidermist Need?
Taxidermists seeking employment typically need at least a high school diploma.
- Can You Become a Taxidermist Without a Degree? Yes, you can become a taxidermist without a degree.
- What Experience Does a Taxidermist Need? Entry-level work is available with no previous experience other than training at a taxidermy school or trade school.
Taxidermist Education & Schooling
Various trade schools and taxidermy academies around the country offer taxidermy courses and programs.
A taxidermy program may be necessary to meet the requirements for a state taxidermy license.
- What Is Taught in a Taxidermist Course? Taxidermy courses often cover the steps needed to create a realistic mount, including skinning the carcass. You will also learn how to stuff and form the skin to recreate the look of the specimen.
- How Long Does a Taxidermist Course Take? A taxidermy program may last several weeks to several months.
Taxidermist Education Options and Degree Programs
While there are no degrees for taxidermy, you can find taxidermy programs that teach the basics of taxidermy.
These programs may also cover the regulations for taxidermy in your state.
- Bachelor’s Degree: Colleges and universities do not offer bachelor’s degrees for taxidermy.
- Master’s Degree: No master’s programs for taxidermists exist.
Schools for Taxidermists
Aspiring taxidermists can find schools and workshops throughout the country.
Apprenticeships are also available, which can provide an alternative to attending a trade school or workshop.
How to Become a Taxidermist
Here’s a review of the steps involved in becoming a taxidermist.
Steps to Become a Taxidermist
- Finish high school. Employers typically require a minimum of a high school diploma.
- Complete a taxidermy program. Taxidermy schools teach you essential skills for this profession.
- Find an apprenticeship or entry-level job.
- Review the taxidermy licensing requirements in your state. You may need a permit or license to work as a taxidermist.
- Apply for a full-time taxidermist position. Common employers include taxidermy shops and museums.
- Gain work experience. You will likely need several years of experience before attempting to make a living as an independent taxidermist.
Current Career Job Openings
If you’re ready to start working as a taxidermist, explore the latest job openings.
Keep in mind that some of these jobs may require you to already have completed a training program or taxidermy course.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Certification Do Taxidermists Need?
Many employers prefer to hire taxidermists with National Taxidermists Association (NTA) certification.
Most states also require a taxidermy license, which is often issued through a state’s wildlife service or related agency.
How Long Does Taxidermy Last?
A carefully prepared and maintained taxidermy animal can last 50 years or longer.
Proper maintenance is needed to prevent the skin and fur or feathers from deteriorating prematurely.
Taxidermy is a unique profession that may appeal to those with strong artistic abilities.
It involves patience and a good eye for detail. However, a skilled taxidermist can make a good living without working a demanding schedule.
If you’re interested in becoming a taxidermist, you should first start learning the basic skills needed for this job.
Consider enrolling in a taxidermy course or finding an apprenticeship in your area.