There are many taxidermists who are self-thought or who learned solely through informal apprenticeships. However, there are also schools and classes that you can attend to learn taxidermy, and having a diploma can help you if you want to carry out taxidermy professionally.
Also take into account that in many parts of the world, taxidermy requires a license, permit or similar – even when its just a hobby. Sometimes it is not the taxidermy itself that requires the permit, but the handling of dead animals above a certain size or belonging to a certain cathegory. You may for instance be required to attent a course to learn about proper hygien routines in order to qualify for your license. In the United States, certain animal categories – including migratory birds – require a federal permit in addition to the regular state license.
Taxidermy courses and programs
Before you sign up for any taxidermy course or program, make sure you know exactly which categories that will be covered, e.g. small game, large game, birds, fish, etc. Also check which tools and materials that will be included, and what you will be reuquired to bring.
More comprehensive taxidermy programs will often include not just hands-on classes, but also theoretical classes regarding taxidermy regulations, businesses economy, entrepreneurship, marketing, and similar.
Some taxidermy courses are available online, such as Freetaxidermyschool.com.
One way to get started as a hobbyist is to purchase a kit for taxidermy and follow the guides provided by the manufactorer. (Example: https://www.mckenziesp.com/Taxidermy-Kits-C1794.aspx)
Become a taxidermist in the United States
Here are a few examples of schools in the United States that offer courses, certificate or diploma programs in taxidermy.
- Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua, New York State
- Vermilion Community College in Ely, Minnesota
- Montgomery Community College in Troy, North Carolina
- Surry Community College in Dobson, North Carolina
- Lenoir Community College in Kinston, North Carolina
- Johnston Community College in Smithfield, North Carolina
- Pennsylvania Institute of Taxidermy, located in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania, offers certificate and diploma education
- The North American School of Taxidermy, located in Cushing, Minnesota, offers a 4-week course
- The Missouri School of Taxidermy, located in Winfield, Missouri, offers a 4-week course and an 8-week course
Examples of organisations that you can contact to find out more about how to become a taxidermist.
- The National Taxidermists Association (USA)
- The UTA United Taxidermist Association (USA)
- The CTA Canadian Taxidermy Association
Phone: (613) 924-1840
- ATQ L’association de Taxidermie du Québec
- Eupropean Taxidermy Federation
- The UK Guild of Taxidermists
- British Historical Taxidermy Society
- Suomen Eläintentäyttäjät ry (Finland)
- Le Syndicat des Naturalistes de France
- Verband Deutscher Präparatoren (Germany)
- Asociacion Nacional de Taxidermistas de España (Spain)
- Sveriges Zoologiska Konservatorer (Sweden)
- Vlaamse Vereniging van Preparateurs Flemish (Belgium)
- Associazione Tassidermisti Italiani (Italy)
- Verband Naturwissenschaftlicher Präparatorinnen und Präparatoren der Schweiz (Switzerland)
- Association of Commercial Taxidermists and Game Skin Tanners (South Africa)
Tel: +27 12650 0000, Fax: +27 12650 0009, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Taxidermy Association of South Africa
Tel: +27 51 443 8621, Fax: +27 86 661 6610, Email email@example.com
- Japan Taxidermy Association
Fax: (Japan) 03-813-1426