If you love working with animals, becoming a veterinarian isn’t your only job option. There are quite a few animal-related careers that will allow you to be surrounded by animals on a daily basis while still earning a living. Some don’t pay as well as others, but there’s definitely something to be said for loving what you do!
Some jobs on this list require little to no formal academic training while others require an associates, bachelors, or even masters or doctorate degree. Depending on your skills and what you’re looking for, you might find something here that helps you get your furry fix while making money full time or part-time.
Here’s our list of the top 10 jobs working with animals . . .
1. Pet Sitter
Many people don’t want to leave their beloved pets in a kennel when they go on vacation. When you take care of the animals for them, their pets get specialized treatment in their own environment and the pet owners get to rest assured that their pets are happy at home.
Research to find out if there are local pet sitters already available (where you can apply to be a sitter) or whether you’d want to start up your own professional pet sitting business.
2. Wildlife Rehabilitation
If you don’t mind mundane tasks and are committed to helping animals, consider wildlife rehabilitation. The rewards that comes with the job include connecting with nature and knowing that you’re helping animals as you relieve their suffering.
Wildlife rehab folks feed animals, bandage animals, and help with fluid therapy. They also clean cages and help capture and transport wounded animals. You don’t have to have a degree for this job. You do have to have a bit of bravery and a total willingness to do some tough jobs.
3. Animal-Assisted Therapy
Pets can help humans sort through problems other humans can’t. Working with animals with appropriate temperaments to reach out and help humans with physical or emotional disabilities is beautifully rewarding.
There are equestrian centers (like the one in this picture), hospitals, nursing homes, and therapists who sometimes use or allow pets to visit for the benefit of their patients or residents. Consider looking into what kinds of opportunities are currently around you to determine if animal therapy job might be a good fit.
4. Pet Groomer
Learn to become a pet groomer by assisting one or by attending a professional grooming school. An expert groomer is well versed in caring for a wide variety of animal breeds and knows how to handle animals with care.
While a formal education is helpful, it’s not required. Grooming jobs are available at local groomers and national chain stores. You can also open your own pet grooming business. Mobile groomers are also quite popular.
5. Animal Trainer
Animal trainers train various animals for various purposes from dog trainers working with dogs for obedience, performance, or assistance to horse trainers working with horses for showing or riding.
You can become an animal trainer by attending a college specializing in hands-on training or by working with a professional animal trainer. Marine mammal trainers generally have to have a bachelor’s degree.
An animal trainer should have patience and a gift for problem solving as well as a sensitivity to animals.
6. Barn Manager
A barn manager is involved with many different aspects of animal care from scheduling vet visits to monitoring feed. Responsible for the day-to-day operations of a barn, experience is a must for this job, and it’s beneficial to have a degree in an area such as management.
Large equestrian facilities are often in need of a good barn manager and this is a job where demand remains fairly high. Barn managers have to be knowledgeable about the animals (most often, horse) and be good with people since you’ll be managing people, too.
7. Animal Therapist
An animal therapist works with injured animals to help increase mobility after an injury. They also help animals rehabilitate after surgeries or brain injury.
The animal therapist is a licensed individual who helps an animal manage pain while improving an animal’s quality of life. To work as an animal therapist, you need a Master’s Degree in Physical Therapy with a concentration in animals.
A zoologist studies animals in their natural surroundings. Generally, a zoologist specializes in one animal type. For example, there are mammalogists who study and work with primates and other mammals and herpatologists who study and work with reptiles and amphibians.
Zoologists generally hold a degree in biochemistry, microbiology, zoology, or a related field. While some zoologists do work in zoos (zookeepers), many work in the field, in labs, or in educational settings.
9. Marine Biologist
A marine biologist studies different facets of life in the ocean. In order to get a career in marine biology, you must take many science courses. You might want to consider a Master’s Degree in marine ecology, ichthyology, marine biology, cytology, or aquarium sciences.
Marine biologists typically work for state and federal government agencies, aquariums, museums, and national and international conservation groups.
A veterinarian is a doctor for animals. This requires extensive formal education. A veterinarian must earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in addition to receiving a license from the state in which they plan to practice.
Most vets work in veterinary hospitals or private clinics, though large animal vets often travel to farms. Still others work in labs, schools, or for the government.
If you’re not sure whether you’d like working with animals, or if you can’t find an animal-related job right away, consider volunteering at an animal shelter, a wildlife rehab center, or even for a sick friend who could use some help caring for their pets, or for family members who could really use a pet sitter for an upcoming vacation.
Go Back to School
Whether you’re young or old, it’s never to late to research your options and find continuing education courses online or at local colleges that will help you get the animal related job of your dreams. Don’t forget to check out local community college catalogs and current job opening requirements to spark ideas and get essential training. You might even call a vat, or a groomer, and ask if you can volunteer to get a bit of on-the-job training.
Whatever path you end up taking, start with identifying your passion, your interests, your skills and experience and then put your imagination to work to find the perfect, pet-related job.