Lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my! If this expression excites you more than scares you, then jobs with animals may be in your future. A career working with animals doesn’t mean you have to become a veterinarian.
There are a plethora of jobs with animals across many different industries. It takes a special person to administer animal care. Along with a love for all things furry, fluffy, and scaly, animal lovers must have many other hard and soft skills.
In addition, education requirements will vary depending upon which route you decide to take in treating animals. Find some of the best jobs with animals in our list below.
Before You Pursue Your Dream Job with Animals
There are a few questions you should ask yourself before beginning your journey to land your dream job working with animals.
For example, what types of animals do you want to work with? And, do you want to work with large or small animals? Do you want to administer care for domestic or exotic animals? Are you interested in researching or studying them, or do you want to provide them with hands-on care?
Your answers to the above questions will determine what education you must obtain to secure your job with animals. Some careers with animals will require much more education than others. Do you want to pursue a master’s degree or do you see yourself only completing an associate or bachelor’s degree?
These are all important questions to ask yourself as they will help steer you in the right direction for the following jobs with animals listed below.
Best Jobs with Animals
Veterinary Assistant and Veterinary Technicians
The positions of veterinary assistant and veterinary technician are great stepping stones if you are just beginning your career with animals. Those who pursue these positions can go on to work as veterinarians and zoologists.
A veterinary assistant is responsible for following orders given by a veterinarian. In this position, you will be expected to assist in medical procedures, aftercare of the animal, and communicate with pet owners.
This job does not require a degree, but you must be certified in order to be employed. In comparison to a vet tech, this position will involve much more paperwork and administrative duties. The annual average income for a veterinary assistant is $48,000.
A veterinarian technician is similar to a vet assistant. However, they will have more responsibilities, including conducting exams, procedures, and surgeries for animals. Additionally, you must have a veterinary technology degree to fill this role.
Many people argue being a veterinarian is the most rewarding job that involves working with animals. Vets care for, research, and diagnose animals. This career path requires extensive education and years of experience.
Typically, you will need a four-year veterinary medicine undergraduate degree along with four years of veterinary school and a state license to practice. It all pays off though, quite literally, as the average salary for a veterinarian is between $75,000 and $105,000. However, you can’t put a price on caring for and saving animals every day.
If you want to run your own business and work with animals, then becoming an animal groomer might be the right route for you.
A typical startup for a business like this consists of purchasing items like brushes, pet shampoos and conditioners, animal ear care supplies, and clippers. Some animal groomers choose to offer house calls or run their businesses from their home.
There are also options to work for a company as an animal groomer, which could help you gain experience and get proper training before venturing out on your own. Salaries for this position range depending on the demand for groomers, popularity, and location in which you are practicing. As a mobile dog groomer, your salary can be around $60,000.
In this day and age, everyone with an iPhone is an animal photographer. However, if you have the right set of skills, it could be your full-time job. This is a very versatile self-employment opportunity for those with an eye for photography and the patience needed to deal with unruly pets.
Along with working the camera, you will need to get animals to sit, stay, and work with you during your photoshoots. As a pet photographer, you can set your rates and determine your salary. There is a high potential for income in this field. The national average is between $50,000 and $75,000.
Zoologist and Wildlife Biologists
Get wild as a zoologist or wildlife biologist. If your love for animals extends far beyond the typical house pet, then becoming a zoologist may be the perfect career path for you.
In this career, you will have the opportunity to work in a zoo or a lab and be in contact with animals beyond the typical house pet. Zoologists and wildlife biologists study animals and identify how they act in their ecosystems.
A zoologist career requires a bachelor’s degree in a related field. The average salary for this position is around $70,000.
Animal trainers have an extensive range of career options, from pad training a puppy to behavioral therapy for an out-of-control pet. This is another career path where you can be self-employed and work with your favorite animals.
In this position, you can advertise yourself as a mobile trainer and go to the client’s home or offer to pick up the pet and take them to various locations based on the training needed. This job has endless possibilities involving destinations and income.
A high school diploma is the only educational prerequisite, but taking some animal behavior courses would help further your skills and career.
Animal caretakers feed, water, groom, bathe, and, in general, take care of the animals they are in charge of. As an animal caretaker, you also have the opportunity to work in a variety of settings, including animal shelters, zoos, aquariums, and more.
The national average salary for animal caretakers is $27,060
Dog Walker and Pet Sitter
You can make the job of a dog walker as relaxed or complex as you choose. You can determine your own hours and schedule when booking clients, or you can follow what your client needs.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
In large cities, this is an excellent position as you can control your income. There is no average income for a dog walker. However, you have a better chance of making a higher salary depending on the city you are living in.
The job of a pet sitter is similar to a babysitter, but instead, your client is much furrier. You may be able to make this a long-term position instead of a one-time job.
A pet sitter is usually someone the client has a personal relationship with and trusts their pet with. Rather than just sitting for a couple of hours or a few days, you can be involved for weeks or months with a pet.
Sites like Rover.com are extremely helpful for finding work as a pet sitter. According to Home Guide, pet sitters typically charge $25 for a half-hour, $20 to $30 per day, and $45 to $75 per night.
Animal nutritionists spend most of their time determining the dietary needs of animals who are in captivity. If you pursue this career path, you will be studying animal behavior and making recommendations to corporations or governmental agencies about animal diets.
It’s important to know that as an animal nutritionist, you will spend more time in a lab than in a barn. The annual salary for this position is around $62,000.
It could be argued that the most caring of people become wildlife rehabilitators. Those in this profession work to care for sick and injured wildlife so they can rejoin their natural habitat.
They work under veterinarian assistants and must have plenty of knowledge of the animal they are caring for. While a degree is not required, some choose to pursue bachelor’s degree programs in biology, animal science, or zoology. Additionally, depending on the animal they care for, wildlife rehabilitators will have to acquire specific permits, complete certain training, and pass exams to practice.
Would you rather work underwater than on land? The career of a marine biologist is a little different than the professions previously mentioned. You won’t be working with cuddly animals but rather those with scales and gills.
As a marine biologist, there are many career settings and options for you as well. You can work at a rehab center treating sick animals or you could conduct research in the ocean with other biologists. You might even be studying plants along with marine animals.
The median salary is $48,000, but it could be much higher depending on your education level and the training you complete.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.