If working with animals seems appealing, there are so many career choices at hand that the number of options can seem overwhelming at times. However, this is a great problem to have. Check out these five great career choices for any animal lover, and see which combination of salary, education requirements and job specifications is most appropriate.
Veterinarians have a wonderful opportunity to assist people in need of healthcare for their household pets. They work closely with both animals and owners to diagnose and treat any pet health problems. The competition is tough in veterinary school, so be prepared to work! If science, studying, problem-solving and hard work with frequent alone time seems appealing, becoming a veterinarian may be the right career choice. Vets make around $54,000 per year on average.
Professional dog trainers specialize in motivating dogs in a manner that will encourage discipline and good behavior. While obedience school is where many dog trainers find work, there are many trainers who work with dogs toward more complicated tricks, as well. Salary varies greatly with this career; while entry-level training jobs often feature a very low wage, those with more experience can make anywhere between $25,000 and $50,000 a year. Additionally, those who manage to run their own training business have the unique opportunity to set their own prices and earn even more each year.
These rehabilitation specialists work with animals in need of targeted care and attention. If the thought of tending to an injured animal to help improve their mobility and quality of life is an attractive one, look into getting licensed for animal therapy. Patience is essential, both for the work itself and the required education; this career requires a Master’s in Physical Therapy (for animals). The earning potential for animal therapists is significant; while starting salaries range between $29,000 and $31,000 per year, those with more experience can make upwards of $36,000 per year.
When a love of animals is coupled with a love of studying their environments, zoology makes a great career choice. Working outdoors and studying earth preservation are absolutely required for this line of work, especially in order to fight the planet’s growing number of endangered species. Zoology also requires several years of advanced education that usually involves specializing in one particular animal species, so expect to be in school for as long as ten years. While experienced zoologists are known to make anywhere between $35,000 and $75,000 a year, those employed by the federal government actually made $117,000 in March 2009 (on average).
Like zoology, wildlife rehabilitation is another great career choice for those who love to work with animals while outdoors. There are several unromantic aspects to helping animals transition back into their natural environments after a particular disaster or illness, and wildlife rehabilitation sees all of these details quite often. Rehabilitators will clean and bandage animals, feed them, clean cages and/or help with transporting them to and from their natural environments. A degree is not required to become a wildlife rehabilitator, and, unfortunately, the salaries often reflect that. However, $30,000 per year plus benefits is a possibility.
While salary is important to anyone researching possible career choices, those with a love of animals know that this is not a career to choose for the paychecks. That said, there are plenty of feasible options available for any animal lover. The salary range above should help give some idea of what’s available, exciting and rewarding.