Are you someone who has had a passion for animals since you were a child? Perhaps you bird watched for hours on end or constantly played fetch with the family dog? If so, you may have decided to pursue your passion through a career in an animal oriented field. However, you may find yourself somewhat overwhelmed by the endless possibilities of career options. Whether you would enjoy cleaning kennels or becoming a board certified veterinarian, the rewards for working with animals are endless. Listed below are several animal oriented careers that may help you narrow your choices and give you a starting point for launching your career:
Veterinarian or Veterinary Technician – Someone who performs or assists with medical examinations and surgical procedures, diagnosis illnesses, and determines treatment options for various animals. There are several types of veterinarians including small animal, large animal, marine, avian, exotic, and more. A veterinarian requires extensive education, often several years of graduate school, while a veterinary technician may only require an associate’s degree.
Groomer – Grooming consists of several cosmetic and hygiene maintenance tasks for animals, mainly dogs, including: cutting and styling coats, bathing, trimming nails, brushing teeth, etc. Many pet retail chains such as Petco and Petsmart provide grooming salons for their customers within their stores, but groomers may choose to open their own private business instead.
Pet Nutritionist – Although this career may not include as much “hands on” opportunities, pet nutrition is an imperative and competitive field that is always striving for the improvement of their product. Pet food companies are constantly researching various ingredients that, with the right combination, will produce the best product for the best price.
Zookeeper – Duties would include cleaning the animals’ enclosures, preparing meals, observing behavior, and providing enrichment (stimulating activities) for the animals. Depending on the employing establishment, the education required may range from a high school diploma to a Master’s degree in zoo science, zoology, biology, or other related field.
Animal Educator – Someone who informs audiences about various types of animal facts such as habitat, diet, range, conservation status, behavior, etc. Positions may be found in a wide range of establishments such as zoos, animal shelters, veterinary offices, wildlife parks, and animal control agencies.
Kennel Worker – Duties may include cleaning/disinfecting kennels and runs, preparing and monitoring meals, observing behavior, and basic medical maintenance. Animal shelters and boarding facilities are some of the most common businesses requiring kennel workers; however, some pet stores or grooming facilities may request addition kennel staff depending on their size of business.
Keep in mind that these professions are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to animal oriented careers. Although these are only a handful of options, there are several other professions available to research. The animals that need the love and care you could provide are anxiously waiting for you to make your decision and begin your lifelong devotion to helping them live better lives.