Choosing a career path in animal care is a highly rewarding choice to make if you love animals. Animal lovers can find countless positions to meet their professional goals and passion for animals.
These opportunities bring a great amount of enjoyment for those who choose this type of work. Some require formal education, while others do not require a college degree to apply for a job. Explore some of the top jobs that involve working with animals.
Average annual salary: $99,250
Education requirements: A bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine and a doctorate are required to become a veterinarian. Veterinarians must also take the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam and any additional state exams for the state where they’ll practice.
Veterinarians examine, treat, operate on, and test animals. They also meet and consult pet owners on ways to maintain their animal’s health. They may work with a wide range of animals, from dogs and cats to horses and cattle.
A veterinarian’s job can be exciting and rewarding, but you will also have to put in many hours and be available for emergencies.
2. Veterinary Technician
Average annual salary: $36,260
Education requirements: Veterinarian technicians need an associate’s degree in veterinary technology and must pass the veterinary technician national exam.
Under the supervision of veterinarians, vet techs provide support during medical treatment for animals. They take blood for testing, collect samples, prepare animals for surgery, and assist in diagnostic procedures.
3. Veterinary Assistant
Average annual salary: $29,930
Education requirements: To become an entry-level veterinary assistant, you need either a high school diploma or a GED.
A veterinary assistant’s primary duties include feeding and cleaning pets, dispensing medication, assisting with examinations, and performing clerical tasks. They work closely with veterinarians and vet techs.
4. Wildlife Biologist
Average annual salary: $66,350
Educational requirements: An undergraduate degree in Zoology, Wildlife Biology, or Wildlife Ecology is required to become a wildlife biologist. Master’s degrees are also necessary to advance in the field. Research at universities and in independent settings often requires a Ph.D.
As a wildlife biologist, you have the opportunity to work with endangered species and other animals. These animal scientists work with other experts to improve habitats, establish catch limits for fish and other hunting species, and conduct research to conserve wild animal populations.
5. Marine Biologist
Average annual salary: $52,054
Educational requirements: The educational requirement for marine biologists is a bachelor’s degree in marine biology. Graduate degrees are needed for advancement.
Marine biologists study the behavior and ecology of sea life to understand how humans affect it. Some spend much of their time in the field, diving, and sailing aboard ships, while others focus on research in laboratories and universities.
6. Animal Breeder
Average annual salary: $40,770
Educational requirements: A breeder does not require formal education. Breeders need to know what type of animal they intend to breed and work closely with their veterinarians to care for their animals.
An animal breeder may specialize in one species, such as dogs, cats, birds, or horses. They mate animals to obtain specific characteristics according to the breed’s standards. Their job also includes caring for these animals until they are old enough to be sold to new owners or to compete in sporting events.
7. Animal Control Worker
Average annual salary: $38,430
Educational requirements: Animal control workers need a high school diploma or GED. However, some employers may require prior experience with animals. Studying for an associate’s degree in zoology or veterinary science and volunteering with animals are ways to build experience for this role.
Animal control workers investigate animal cruelty and neglect reports and enforce animal protection regulations. These investigators may help in removing animals from potentially harmful situations.
8. Animal Caretaker
Average annual salary: $26,080
Educational requirements: No formal education is required, but you likely need to undergo a training program to boost your skills and make your resume more attractive to employers. Many zoos prefer animal caretakers to have a bachelor’s degree in biology or animal science.
Animal caretakers tend to the animals’ needs at zoos, animal shelters, and clinics. While the animals are in their care, they need to provide food, water, an adequate living space, and time for exercise. They play with them as needed and keep track of any mood or health changes.
9. Animal Trainer
Average annual salary: $31,520
Educational requirements: An animal trainer typically has a high school diploma or equivalent and learns their trade on the job. Employers often prefer to hire people who have previous experience with animals.
The role of animal trainers is to teach animals obedience and discipline. Usually, their expertise focuses on a particular species, such as dogs or horses. Their specialty may require them to visit aquariums, kennels, animal sanctuaries, or the pet owner’s home.
10. Animal Shelter Manager
Average annual salary: $37,748
Educational requirements: A degree in business administration or animal science and previous experience working with animals are required for an animal shelter manager. Managerial experience is strongly preferred, ideally with an animal nonprofit or rescue group.
Shelter management involves many responsibilities, from directing workers to reviewing adoption applications. Animal shelter managers oversee the proper maintenance of animals and the facility. They also ensure workers humanely handle animals.
11. Wildlife Rehabilitator
Average annual salary: $28,094
Educational requirements: Although a college degree is not necessary to become a wildlife rehabilitator, a degree in biology with a focus on animal biology can prepare you to care for a wide range of species. You must also pass state exams to become a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
Wildlife rehabilitators evaluate and care for orphaned, injured, and sick wild animals. They perform physical treatment on wounded animals in cooperation with specialized veterinarians. Their goal is to return the animals to their natural habitats in good shape.
12. Pet Photographer
Average annual salary: $41,280
Educational requirements: Many pet photographers start by taking pictures of their own pets to gain experience and build a portfolio. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree and experience with photo editing software, such as Adobe Lightroom, typically stand out to employers.
Photographing pets is a great way to combine your love of animals with your talent as a photographer. Some pet photographers specialize in a particular field, such as cat photography. If you want to take pictures of wild animals, you can venture into wildlife photography.
13. Pet Groomer
Average annual salary: $26,370
Educational requirements: Prior experience working with animals is preferred. A state-approved grooming school offering classes in pet grooming can prepare you for the job.
Pet groomers are responsible for bathing pets, clipping their nails, detangling their coats, and trimming their fur. They work in pet stores and grooming salons, caring for dogs and cats. Some work at riding schools and stables with horses and other animals.
14. Pet Sitter
Average annual salary: $30,500
Educational requirements: Having at least a high school degree or GED and prior experience taking care of pets are the minimum requirements. You can boost your reliability as a pet sitter by becoming certified by the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.
Pet sitters take care of their clients’ cats and dogs while away from home and ensure their wellbeing and companionship. A pet sitter’s job involves feeding, walking, grooming, giving medicine, and visiting the vet, if needed.
15. Dog Walker
Average annual salary: $23,630
Educational requirements: Dog walkers gain experience in dog care and behavior through their own experiences as dog owners themselves. Owners are often willing to pay a premium if a dog walker has an educational background and experience in veterinary health.
You must be responsible, organized, and efficient as a dog walker. Working with dogs of various sizes, temperaments, and needs requires a customized schedule for each client and the coordination of several visits. They must ensure the pet’s safety at all times.
Choose the Right Job as an Animal Lover
Consider your career objectives and requirements to get into one of these animal-oriented careers. You can prepare for a future working with animals with Jobsfuel.com.
JobsFuel’s user-friendly job search tool can help you find your next job. We offer free career resources to guide you when creating your resume and preparing for interviews, so you can start pursuing your dream of working with animals.