Are you interested in rescuing animals as an animal shelter manager, treating injured animals as a veterinary technician, or studying wildlife as a scientist? The good news is that there are plenty of these animal-related jobs to go around. Although you may have to spend a lot of time in school, you can rest assured that the best jobs for animal lovers pay high annual salaries.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average veterinarian earns $99,250 per year, and jobs for vets are projected to increase by 17 percent by 2030. But vets aren’t the only animal lovers with a promising career path. In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about the highest-paying jobs for animal lovers.
What Is an Animal Lover?
An animal lover is someone who feels fondness for non-human creatures. They often have pets and generally enjoy being around animals. Such people are good candidates to work with animals for a living.
If this describes you and you’re unsatisfied with your current vocation, you may find career fulfillment in an animal hospital or a boarding kennel, in a zoo or aquarium, or out in a forest or out on the ocean. There are top-paying jobs with animals in all of these settings.
What Jobs Are Available to Animal Lovers?
There are plenty of jobs available for animal lovers. Throughout the civilized world, human beings keep pets, and specialists are needed to tend to them. In the wild, meanwhile, animals are often displaced from their natural habitats due to land development and climate change. Both in domestic settings and out in the wild, there is a lot of work to be done.
Some of the best jobs for animal lovers are conservation officers, wildlife biologists, veterinarians, and animal nutritionists. We discuss these and several other high-paying jobs for animal lovers later in this guide.
Companies That Hire Animal Lovers
- VetCor. Founded in 1997, this company offers veterinary services in over 400 veterinary hospitals throughout the United States. Its team of veterinarians provides excellent care tailored to the needs of different pets, clients, and circumstances. A pet lover would find a second home at VetCor.
- San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. If you are an aspiring zookeeper or wildlife conservationist, or you just like the idea of working with animals in zoos, this is the company for you. The San Diego Zoo is committed to building sustainable conservation solutions by integrating science, education, and high-quality medical care.
- Canine Company. If you want to become an animal trainer, Canine Company is a top-rated organization to work for. Located in Connecticut, the company hires animal experts to offer professional animal training and sell special products to pet owners.
- Cargill. This company hires nutritionists to research pet food solutions and livestock feed mixes. Cargill employs 150,000 workers across 70 countries.
- Petsense. This specialty retailer is devoted to satisfying the needs of pet owners. It is known for its pet grooming services, but it also offers a wide range of well-priced natural food. For this reason, if you see yourself as a pet groomer or animal nutrition expert, you can meet your career goals by working at one of Petsense’s 189 stores.
10 Highest-Paying Jobs for Animal Lovers
|Job Title||Average Salary||Top 10% Salary|
|Conservation Land Manager||$73,723||$113,000|
|Animal Control Officer||$30,354||$35,000|
The table above shows the highest-paying jobs for animal lovers, in terms of both the median salary and the salary at the 90th percentile. Let’s look at each of these jobs in more detail below.
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A veterinarian is an animal doctor. They treat sick animals in a veterinary clinic, an animal hospital, or a medical facility attached to a place that handles animals. They track eating habits, make diagnoses, perform medical examinations, and give vaccinations.
The requirements to become a veterinarian are a bachelor’s degree, a veterinary medicine or veterinary science credential, and a license issued by the government. To start a veterinary practice in the United States, you must pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam along with any exam required by your state.
A wildlife biologist is similar to a marine biologist. Whereas the latter studies marine life exclusively, the former studies various kinds of animal and plant life. They tend to focus on the impact of humans on habitats. They can be found studying specimens in labs or writing reports in offices.
The minimum education requirement for a wildlife biologist is a Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology. Due to high competition, however, a master’s degree is recommended.
Conservation Land Manager
Holders of this job are committed to assuring the safety of the wildlife on any land that falls under their purview. This could be a park, a forest, or any other tract of land owned by the government or a company.
If you wish to become one, you must have a Bachelor’s Degree in Resource Management. Besides this, you should also work an internship to gain valuable knowledge and experience. A license may be required in some states.
An animal nutritionist studies animals’ dietary requirements and makes sure they eat the appropriate foods. They monitor how changes to an animal’s diet affect its behavior, and they make recommendations about animal nutrition to government bodies and zoos.
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To become one, you should have at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science. Some high-level jobs in this field require a master’s degree.
A conservation officer protects wildlife habitats. Even though they sometimes come into contact with animals, they usually do not work with them directly. Rather, they make sure that tourists and other visitors to the area follow rules that have been implemented to keep the animals safe.
Besides a Bachelor’s Degree in Conservation Law, a conservation officer should have a love for the outdoors. They should also participate in internship programs before applying for full-time conservation officer positions.
A conservation biologist advocates for all endangered species in the face of global changes. They are often curious, interested in science, and passionate about environmental advocacy.
It is beneficial for these professionals to have a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology. Volunteering gigs, internships, and several years of work experience are necessary if conservation biologists wish to advance in the field.
A pet groomer takes care of an animal’s hygienic needs. They clean teeth, trim nails, and cut hair. Professional pet groomers must have good communication skills to be able to talk to pet owners. They must also have patience with the animals they groom.
This job comes with no formal education requirements. However, aspiring pet groomers should have previous experience with pets.
Animal Control Officer
This type of officer is responsible for enforcing laws that prohibit animal cruelty. They look for and rescue injured animals, keep records on instances of animal cruelty, and prepare reports.
An animal control officer typically needs a GED or high school diploma. In many cases, however, they are expected to have previous experience working with animals. For this reason, aspiring animal control workers should engage in volunteer opportunities in their area.
A veterinary nurse essentially does the job of a veterinary technician. Vet tech and vet nurse are two names for someone who assists a licensed veterinarian. These veterinary assistants help conduct pet physicals, draw blood, and give vaccinations.
All aspiring veterinary nurses must have a GED or a high school diploma. Keep in mind that the state determines the educational requirements, and most states demand that vet nurses complete a training program.
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Pet sitters keep an eye on pets while their owners are away. They play with them, clean up after them, and adhere to the instructions given to them by the owners. Because most pet owners hire people they know, the best way to have success as a pet sitter is to build a loyal clientele.
Prior experience with pets is also recommended.
Tips for Finding Success Working with Animals
If you wish to pursue a career in animal-related fields, you will be more likely to find your dream job if you follow the tips outlined below.
- Cultivate empathy. Anyone who works with animals knows that these creatures have feelings. You can’t understand animal behavior until you’ve felt for them on an emotional level. Animals that exhibit violent or timid behavior are often misunderstood, but if you engage with them carefully and tactfully, you can give them a better life.
- Practice patience. A trait closely related to empathy is patience. Many animals are only aggressive towards humans when they sense a threat. If you handle animals with patience, they will be more likely to be comfortable in your presence.
- Learn about animal behavior. Many animal-related jobs require extensive training. Formal education will help you understand their physiology, body language, and movements. If you go to college and major in biology, zoology, or veterinary science, you will be better equipped to handle animals and meet their needs.
- Develop communication skills. Almost every job that involves animals requires you to interact with people. Communication and interpersonal skills contribute significantly to success because, even though animals are your primary responsibility, your income comes from other people, whether they be pet owners, tourists, or governments.
- Learn to work under pressure. Many animals need constant care. Your presence may be required at inconvenient times, and you may face criticism for the quality of your work. Therefore, you need to be able to handle deadlines and stressful situations.
Jobs for Animal Lovers Outlook
There are many jobs that animal lovers can pursue. Of the occupations surveyed in this article, the ones having to do with taking care of animals have the best outlook. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, animal caretakers and related occupations are projected to grow 33 percent over the next decade, with about 110,800 new jobs created.
Best Jobs for Animal Lovers FAQ
Yes, they do. There are plenty of opportunities in this field to enjoy what you love doing most while making a lot of money. According to ZipRecruiter, for instance, the average salary of a veterinarian is $96,624 per year, while an average Wildlife Biologist makes $81,627 per year.
Many jobs for animal lovers require no formal education whatsoever. You can become a dog trainer, a pet sitter, a pet groomer, or an animal control officer with little more than a high school diploma.
Working with animals requires a combination of hard and soft skills. While the former includes knowledge of animal behavior, the latter includes patience, sensitivity, and interpersonal skills.
No, you do not always need prior experience to work with animals. You can find entry-level positions at several top companies that hire animal lovers. Such companies include VetCor and Cargill.
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