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25 jobs where you get to work with animals

  • 25 jobs where you get to work with animals

    Are you an animal lover? Does the idea of spending your days working with pets or exotic animals make you want to instantly change careers to something a little bit furrier and friendlier? Maybe you think that you have to have an advanced degree in veterinary medicine or years of experience as a zookeeper to work with animals, but that's simply not the case.

    The realm of animal-related jobs runs the gamut, covering everything from wildlife rehabilitators and pet store owners to more obscure occupations like pet psychics and pet massage therapists. And you don't necessarily need a ton of training to get some of those positions—many of which pay surprisingly well—although the number of hours you have to work could be similarly high.

    Stacker compiled a list of jobs that will allow you to work with animals of different shapes and sizes. They require zero experience to extensive experience and could require as little as a high school diploma up to a doctorate degree. For each job, we've outlined what professionals are expected to do on a daily basis (spoiler alert: pet detectives probably don't do exactly what you think, but pet photographers do exactly what you think), and how much you could get paid (ranging from minimum wage to salaries in the six figures). We cover what the job competition is like, and how quickly or slowly that particular field is growing—meaning you'll be able to tell if more jobs will be available in the future, or if it's a dying field. Information was compiled from various career sources, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job search sites, and other workplace aggregators.

    Read on to discover 25 jobs that will allow you to spend your working week with animals. 

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  • Veterinarian

    Veterinarians are responsible for the continued good health of non-human creatures, whether it's animals in the home like dogs and cats or more exotic ones like elephants and giraffes. You'll need a four-year degree from an accredited veterinary college and you'll have to compete for about 80,000 jobs nationwide—but you can expect to make more than $93,000 yearly.

  • Breeder

    Many animal breeders get an animal science degree of some sort, but really, no college degree is necessary for this job. And it's a big one—they are responsible for breeding their chosen animal to bring out the best traits the further the line extends. They also help with artificial insemination and births, provide light medical treatment; and maintain both a proper living space and detailed records for the animals. The average salary is about 43,000, and the quantity of jobs is rising as more people decide to create their own breeding businesses.

  • Zoologist

    Education to become a zoologist is pretty intense: A bachelor's degree for entry-level jobs, a master's degree for investigation or scientific work, and a doctorate for independent research projects or to work with a university. Zoologists study specific species and how they function, including behavior, population counts, and how humans impact the population. Expect to earn about $54,000 with 4% job growth over time.

  • Guide dog puppy trainers

    Before guide dogs are trained to do their job, the puppies need to grow up in a loving home. Guide dog puppy trainers are volunteers, taking in dogs as they're available, and caring for the pups until they're about a year and a half old. They're required to socialize the dogs and teach them basic obedience.

  • Animal shelter manager

    Animal shelter managers can have days ranging from rewarding—saving and helping abandoned and injured animals—to depressing—euthanizing animals. Ideally, you'll have a bachelor's degree, but it's not always necessary; although, most animal shelter managers have an animal sciences degree. Salaries range between $30,000 and $60,000.

  • Horseback riding instructor

    No degrees are necessary to be a riding instructor, though it's important to have extensive riding experience; and professionals can choose to earn certificates that may help them further their careers, such as one from the American Riding Instructors Association. Instructors can run lessons privately or in a group and are responsible for teaching form, discipline, troubleshooting, and horse care. The average salary, based on location and amount of students (which also dictates the availability of jobs), is about $37,000.

  • Animal rights activist

    All you need for this job is a love of animals and the desire to give them a better life. It's generally not paid, but you can choose from tens of thousands of organizations to work with that look out for animal welfare. Activists protest, run campaigns to create change, create petitions, and generally do what they can to solve a problem on a grassroots level.

  • Pet adoption counselor

    If finding a loving home for animals is important to you, a pet adoption counselor might be a great job for you. Their role is to learn about the animals and make sure the prospective owners are a good fit. The salary is just over $23,600, no experience is required, and the job is growing by about 11% every year.

  • Apiarist

    Technically, anyone can be a beekeeper—though the education requirements get steeper depending on the type of beekeeper you want to be, and whether you want to work in conservation or breeding. An industry survey by Bee Culture Magazine estimates that between 115,000 and 125,000 beekeepers work in the U.S., with a salary nearing $45,000.

  • Pet sitter

    Pet owners often need someone to watch their animals when they spend an extended amount of time away from home, be it a single workday or a vacation. In order for it to be a legitimate job, you'll want to make sure you're trained in animal CPR and have past references. Though some pet sitters report making up to $55,000, hobbyists should expect closer to minimum wage on a per hour basis.

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