5 Potential Career Paths For Animal Lovers

Published September 23, 2013

ecologistMany people have a deep love of animals and a desire to help them, but they are unsure of exactly what careers are available to work with them full-time. Fortunately, there are multiple professions where individuals gain the chance to combine their interest in animals with a stable income. If you are an animal lover too, read on to learn more about five potential career paths where you can put your passion into practice with some furry friends.

1. Veterinarian

Becoming a veterinarian is undoubtedly the most obvious occupation for animal lovers. Veterinarians are responsible for diagnosing and treating medical conditions for a range of species, from pets to livestock and zoo animals. Veterinarians also often treat severe medical conditions, perform surgeries, and euthanize animals. If you really love medicine and animals, being a veterinarian can be very rewarding emotionally and financially. After substantial training from top veterinary schools, veterinarians earn a mean annual salary of $93,250.

2. Zoologist

Zoologists and other wildlife biologists spend their days conducting experimental studies on the characteristics or habitats of certain animal species. With data collected from their studies, they often educate the public by giving presentations, writing research papers, and making recommendations to policymakers. Zoologists must have at least a bachelor’s zoology degree, while others need a master’s or Ph.D. for research positions. Zoologists are compensated with an average annual salary of $62,500, but those employed by the federal government make considerably more.

3. Wildlife Rehabilitator

Wildlife rehabilitators play a vital role in providing treatment to injured animals, so that they can regain their health and be released back into the wild. They may also be responsible for feeding the animals, cleaning their cages, keeping records, and educating the public. Most wildlife rehabilitators begin the career as a biology, zoology, or animal science major, before becoming licensed by their state to work in the field. Wildlife rehabilitators earn an average annual salary of $24,350 when employed by nonprofit organizations, zoos, humane societies, and other government agencies.

4. Animal Trainer

If you have a special talent for training animals to follow voice commands and behavioral rules, becoming a professional animal trainer is another option. Animal trainers may conduct classes for the public to train their pets, teach search and rescue animals, or even provide training for famous animals on movie sets. In most cases, animal trainers only require a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma, but they earn an annual mean salary of $30,340.

5. Animal Massage Therapist

Humans are not the only ones that enjoy a massage. Animal massage therapists use their deep understanding of anatomy and physiology to perform massage techniques that improve animals’ well-being. Some work on a mixture of both large and small animals, while others specialize in being an equine or canine massage therapist. They often work with veterinarians in clinics, kennels, and zoos. Animal massage therapists usually charge between $40 and $70 per massage session, but these wages may rise higher as the field continues to rapidly grow.

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