As the saying goes, if you choose a job you love, you’ll never have to work day in your life.
Which is why we chose to write this article for all those out there who have a passion for animals. Because if you truly love animals, wouldn’t it be great if you could somehow find ways to make money by working with them?
But we’re not just going to tell you to go be a veterinarian!
Because while that option would be great, for many of us, we simply don’t have the time or the money to take on 4-8 years of education to pursue that dream.
This is why…
We’ve chosen to break down our top 30 jobs (actual jobs, pulled from actual job listing found on job websites during the month of December 2016) for those who love to work with animals based on the educational requirements to secure such a job. We hope you enjoy.
Best Jobs working with animals that don’t require a college degree.
- Dog Walker.
Do you enjoy walking your dog? Are you physically fit to walk for several hours a day handling several dogs at a time? If so, there’s a really good chance you could earn up to $30.00 an hour doing it!
Plus, this job is simply going to require that you be:
- Over the age of 18.
- Own a smart phone.
- Pass a background check.
- And be able to prove your dog handling skills.
If this sounds like something you might be interested in, you might want to check out our Rover review which is a great company to help get you started on your new career.
- Pet Sitter.
Not someone who particularly feels like waking dogs several hours a day? How about “baby sitting” other people’s pets while they’re out of town from your very own home? If it sounds like something you might be interested in, you might want to check out our review of DogVacay which is one of the larger pet sitting appointment setters out there.
- Veterinarian Tech.
How about helping out in a veterinarian office? Veterinarian techs will not only be surrounded by animals, they’ll also be able to assist veterinarians in their practice and handle a lot of the administrative roles, such as:
- Obtaining animal medical history.
- Performing pharmacy duties, lab work and x-rays.
- Along with demonstrating home treatment procedures for your clients (animals and owners).
Now while a four year college degree is not needed, there are different types of credentials for veterinary technicians. Each state has its own governing laws regarding the practice of veterinary medicine and technology. Whether you are an LVT(licensed veterinary technician), RVT (registered veterinary technician) or CVT (certified veterinary technician), all 3 types of credentials typically require a 2 year degree in veterinary technology from an AVMA accredited school.
- Kennel manager.
Think hotel management, except ALL of your customers are party animals! In this role you’ll be required to manage the care of animals that are being boarded as well as managing whatever grooming services the kennel may or may not offer.
Many times, these positions will also include scheduling staff hours, creating daily play groups for your animal guests and developing marketing strategies to better promote the business.
Lastly, these positions will also require you to become an expert at observing pet appearances, monitoring their physical conditions and recognizing signs of illness, disease or discomfort. In essence, once you’ve been a kennel manager for a few years, you should have the experience and know how to do a great many other jobs in this field.
- Animal Groomer.
Don’t let the title fool you, animal groomer’s working for the right company can make a really good living! Don’t believe us? Just do a quick search on www.indeed.com looking for “animal groomer” or “pet stylist”.
In fact, we would bet that if we polled 100 recent college graduates and told them that they could make up to $65,000 a year working as a “pet stylist” without having any student loans to pay off, a great many of them would say “sign me up!”
Additionally, many of these employers are also going to offer:
- Two weeks paid vacation
- Direct Deposit
- 401k plans
- Tuition Reimbursement- Including Groom Expo (Hershey)
- Employee Discounts on all services and retail items and much more…
Another benefit of a pet groomer is you can go mobile! Instead of being stuck in the office all day you can venture out in your mobile dog grooming machine and go to your clients. This can increase your marketability and client base substantially.
- Dog Trainer.
Now we’ll be the first to admit that during our online searches, we did see a lot of positions that require some certification courses and several that did require several years of previous experience. But when it comes to being a good dog trainer, the “proof is in the pudding”. Some people have it and some people don’t.
So, if you know you have a way with animals, and you know you’d be great at it, make it happen! Who knows, maybe you could be the next Dog Whisperer! Apply to work with dozens of different companies, leave fliers out all over the neighborhood and simply will yourself into this industry!
- Pet Care Associate in Retail.
OK, so maybe this one isn’t the greatest, because after all, it’s just retail, but without mentioning any major pet supply retailers by name, this author can say that the one he visits on a regular basis has had the same 4 employees working there for over the past 5 years.
Which in this economy is saying something!
There are some really fun retail stores that cater to pets and pet lovers. If you love animals and don’t mind interacting with their owners, this might just be the right animals lovers job for you!
- Aquarium Tech.
Do you just get mesmerized every time you’re near a fish tank? If you do, becoming an aquarium technician may just be the job your looking for!
These are the folks that will not only work in the home employers store, but will also be responsible for going out to clients to help perform:
- water changes,
- scraping algae,
- aqua scraping,
- fish acclimation and transport.
In addition to just routine maintenance duties, you may also have the opportunity to establish and create new fish tanks and outdoor ponds.
- Pet Adoptions Counselor.
This has got to be one of the more satisfying positions that we’ve discussed so far, because as a pet adoption counselor, you get to participate in saving the life of a rescue animal.
Your primary duties would include:
- counseling sessions with potential adopters,
- match making between adopters and animals,
- providing guidance about responsible pet ownership,
- and setting up an animal and adopter for success in their new home.
Typical salary for someone starting out in this job working with animals is around $24,000 a year. Although that is not setting the world on fire, getting countless dog kisses from your clients makes it all worthwhile!
- Veterinary Receptionist.
So you love animals but you get a little “squeamish” when it comes to doing some of the things veterinarians and veterinarian tech’s have to do. No problem, working as a veterinarian receptionist may be just what you’re looking for!
You get to be around animals all day long, and when it comes time to doing anything other than petting them, you can simply hand them over and go back to managing the office!
Now it should be noted that we did encounter some job postings for the positions above where a bachelor’s degree or some type of certification was preferred. However in the majority of cases, this was not the case. This is why we chose to list these positions as “not requiring” a degree.
So now let’s take a look at our top 10 jobs working with animals that DO require a bachelor’s degree or some type of certification.
Top 10 Best Jobs Working with Animals that Require a Bachelor’s degree.
- Zoo Keeper.
Basically, you would be in charge of the day to day animal husbandry of an entire zoo. How cool is that!
Problem is, in addition to having to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a major in zoology or some other biological science, you’re also going to have to have a ton of knowledge in:
- All aspects of zoo animal care, including animal husbandry, operant conditioning, training, behavior, habitat enrichment, nutrition, health care, reproductive physiology, animal welfare and disease.
- All aspects of zoo operations including duty manager roles.
- As well as be an exception leader, manager and trainer of zoo personnel
Or in other words, this is a position you’re going to need to go to school to train for and work many, many years to obtain. But it’s not like you’re not going to have fun in the process, after all, just think how much fun you’ll have while gaining all the experience you’ll need in order to one day earn the role of Zoo Keeper!
- Dive Safety Officer.
Now this may sound like a rather broad job title, but just think about all of those aquariums that are located all around the country and just realize that at each of those, there are going to be a whole set of divers that are going to need to:
- Clean and maintain the massive aquariums.
- Feed and treat the various types of animals.
- As well as train and work with them as well.
And guess what? There’s also going to be a number of dive safety officers to make sure that everything runs smoothly. Problem with this type of carrer is that in addition to having a Bachelor’s degree in Biology, Marine Biology, Biological Science or a related field, you’re also going to need to be PADI or NAUI certified and have a ton of experience.
But then again, who cares, because how cool would it be to actually go to work every day and be the guy/girl who gets to scuba dive in those giant exhibits!
- Livestock Facilities Specialist.
Now some might think it’s impossible to both love animals and work as a livestock facilities specialist, but if you’ve ever spoken with a farmer, rancher or someone who does work with livestock, we feel that you would quickly realize that these folks not only love what they do, they also love the animals that they’re working with. On top of all that, it’s hard work!
As a livestock facilities specialist, you’ll be responsible for:
- Attending trade shows and industry meetings in order to keep up with industry standards and regulations.
- Managing budgets and sales projections on a quarterly basis.
- Develop a thorough understanding of appropriate penning equipment, feeding and ventilation systems.
- And act as a liaison between the customer and the parent company so that your customers’ needs are always met and exceeded.
This is why you’re generally going to find that in addition to a ton of experience, employers are also going to be looking for at least a 2 or 4 year degree in a livestock related field such as Animal Science or an AG engineering or AG systems management degree prior to being considered for such a position.
- Park Naturalist.
Now you may be wondering, what does a park naturalist actually do? And here’s the cool part, park naturalists are basically a super cool customer service representative for a park land or nature reserve.
Your primary responsibility would be to answer any questions visitors may have as well help explain regulations and information about the park that you work in and its surrounding areas.
Sounds simple, right?
Sort of, but your still going to need to have a Bachelor’s degree in Natural, Life or Physical Science or some other related field, in addition to having to be comfortable with working outdoors in potentially inclement weather conditions and also work weekends, evenings and even some holidays!
- Wildlife Rehabilitator.
In our opinion, this job ranks as one of the coolest when it comes to working with animals. You see, a wildlife rehabilitator, is one of those folks takes injured, orphaned or displaced wildlife animals, nurses them back to health, and with skill (and some luck), is able to release the animal back into the wild. How cool is that!
Applicants looking for positions such as these should hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in biology, medicine, or animal science. The good news on this front is that you’ll often times find it possible to volunteer in many of the locations that do perform this type of work so if you’re interested in pursuing a career in rehabilitating wildlife, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to get your foot in the door while you work on your qualifications.
Now there are stable hands and there are farriers, what’s the difference you may ask? Well if you ask the stable hand, he or she will tell you nothing, but if you ask the farrier, he or she will likely tell you there is a huge difference!
You see, a farrier is a specialist in equine hoof care, which will include having skills in trimming and balancing horses’ hooves and the placing of shoes on their hooves if necessary.
If this sounds like the perfect job for you, and you have experience working with horses, you may certainly want to consider pursuing your dreams by attending a school providing certifications in becoming a professional farrier as it will certainly enhance your resume!
- Animal Cruelty Investigator.
While not a job for everyone, those who do take on this line of work really need to be considered heroes!
As an animal cruelty investigator, your primary mission will be to promote and protect the safe and ethical treatment of all animals and free them from suffering, abuse and exploitation.
Now we have chosen to list this as a position that will require a bachelor’s degree however it should be noted that we did find several examples where needing a bachelor’s degree wasn’t necessary, so if this is your passion, just go for it!
- Animal Breeder.
Now if breeding animals required a college degree, the lady down my street with the 100 cats would probably be the most well educated person I know, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.
What we’re talking about here is “large scale” breeding on farms or exotic breeding in zoos. For these types of positions, you going to find that having a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science or some other related field will be essential.
Now while a bee might be more an insect than an animal, we know there are people out there that have a huge affinity for this little guys. And being a beekeeper is no easy task!
You may be wondering why a beekeeper is going to need a college degree, the simple fact is that the vast majority of those in this field won’t have a degree, so this is why having one can mean the difference between you getting the job versus losing out on the opportunity.
Now this may seem like a cop out, after all, needing a degree isn’t essential, but just ask yourself, how many beekeepers do you know? Probably not that many which is why it’s so important to have that stellar resume ready for when the right opportunity comes around!
Plus, it should be noted that the average beekeeper will earn a median salary of $70,000, so it’s not like this isn’t an awesome career opportunity!
- Research Associate.
When we said “jobs working with animals” most of you probably weren’t thinking about working with animals in a laboratory setting, but the truth is, there are a lot of jobs out there for folks who are willing to work in a lab.
Problem is, you’re probably going to need at least a bachelor’s degree in Biology, Chemistry or some other science related field and have considerable experience working in a lab. The good news is that if you choose this line of work, there’s a really good chance that you’ll have a steady career for the rest of life!
So now that we’ve covered some of the best jobs that involve working with animals that do and don’t require a bachelor’s degree, let’s now take a look at a few careers that will require at least a Master’s degree if not a doctorate.
Top 10 Jobs Working with Animals that Require a Master’s degree or Doctorate.
The following list will provide high paying jobs with animals that pay well. Although not easy to come by, if you know you love animals and you want to dedicate your life to helping animals, getting a degree in the required disciplines for the jobs below may well be worth your time and investment.
When you think about what a zoologist does, think Jane Goodall, the zoologist from the movie Gorillas in the Mist. You see, the main role of a zoologist is to study animals and their behavior and how animals will interact with their own environment and ecosystem. Essentially, zoologists will try to become experts on the physical characteristics, diets, behaviors and the impact human beings have on their environment.
Zoologists are required to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in such fields as zoology, biology, or ecology, usually with additional course work in anatomy, wildlife management, cellular biology as well as botany, physics and chemistry. This is why it’s often recommended that those seriously looking to pursue a career as a zoologist that they also pursue a Master’s degree as well.
- Habitat Specialist.
Habitat specialists will often also be zoologists since their primary job responsibility will to be to build living enclosures for animals in zoos. Which is why it only makes sense that a habitat specialist should also have a thorough knowledge of the animals that they are attempting to build a suitable environment for.
As we all know, a veterinarian is a medical professional whose primary role is to protect the health and well-being of both animals/pets and their owners. But what one might not be aware of is just how expansive the job description of a veterinarian can be. For example: there is your typical pet veterinarian, there are you your zoo veterinarians, veterinary radiologists, veterinary pathologists, veterinarian dentists, etc…
How do these roles differ? Let’s just take a quick look.
- Zoo Veterinarian
As the title suggests, zoo veterinarians are going to be veterinarians that work with zoo animals. Now as you can imagine, this can be quite a challenging position to hold because, after all, one day you could be examining an elephant and the next day be looking at a flamingo! However, this diversity can also be stimulating for the right person cut out for one of the most demanding jobs with animals.
- Veterinarian Parasiteologist.
Veterinary parasitologists are the ones that study animal parasites and the relationships between parasite and animal hosts. Which may not sound all that interesting or exciting, but when you think about it, these folks will often times find themselves working with the most dangerous animals in the world on a daily basis!
What animal are we talking about? The mosquito.
- Veterinarian Pathologist.
Veterinary pathologists are animal doctors who specialize in the diagnosis of disease through the examination of animal tissue and body fluids. So, when you go to the vet and they say that they’ll have the results back from a test in a day or so, it’s these guys that are the ones that are evaluating what those results are.
These folks are often the unknown heroes when it comes to the care of pets and animals because it will often be their diagnosis which can mean the difference between life and death for our little critters.
- Veterinary Radiologist.
Veterinary radiologist specialize in radiation therapy for animals who have been diagnosed with cancer. These folks will be experts in interpreting x-rays, ultrasounds, and CT and MR scans.
Now if you had no idea what an ichthyologist is, you might be able to make a reasonable guess if you’ve ever had a gold fish and had them contract the disease ich (white spot disease), and that’s because, an ichthyologist is a zoologist who deals with the study of fish and other marine life.
Ichthyologists can also be referred to as marine biologists or even “fish scientists”. One of the more exciting things ichthyologists get to do is study new and existing species of fish and will often times be able to travel to some really exotic locations!
To become an ichthyologist, you’ll find that it will require quite a bit of formal education. And while having a bachelor’s degree is a good start, most ichthyologists will generally have at least a Master’s degree in zoology or marine biology.
- Animal Nutritionist.
An animal nutritionist is someone who specializes in the dietary needs of domesticated animals such as pets and agricultural livestock, as well as captive wild animals that are found in zoos or sanctuaries.
Now, what you will generally find is that in this field, there are going to be many levels of employment, meaning that while it won’t always be necessary to hold a bachelor’s degree or higher to obtain the position of animal nutritionist, if you’re looking to secure high paying jobs working for a zoo or a large farming organization, having a bachelor’s degree or higher is certainly going to help.
Our last pick is for all of our CSI fans who aren’t afraid of things getting a little “gross”. You see if you decide that you want to become a forensic entomologist, you’re going to need to understand that your primary job is going to involve examining dead bodies and using the existing species that have began to grow on the decomposing body as a way to determine many important clues as to the time of death and also potentially the cause of death (Ewwwww!)
And there you have it…
Our top 30 jobs working with animals broken down based on educational requirement levels.
Now is this list perfect? Certainly not.
What you’re going to find is that each employer out there will have their own list of requirements and expectations that they’re going to have for filing an available position that they’re looking for.
Our only goal in writing this article was to give you the reader a general idea about what types of positions are available out there for those who love working with animals and provide an “rough” estimation on what type of educational background you will need in order to land your dream job!
This is why, we would like to end the article with this reminder, having a passion for what you do, and not being afraid to fail, are often the two most important factors in determining one’s success in this world.
Now since you’re reading this article, we already know you’re passionate about animals, so now you just need to make sure you’re not worried about failing and you should be good to go!
You might be wondering why a life insurance company is writing about jobs working with animals. Well, the reason why is because one of the first questions we need to ask someone who is considering purchasing life insurance is, “what do you do for a living?” and over the years, we’ve had the pleasure of asking a great number of people this very question.
And what we’ve found is that those who do what the love for a living tend to live happier, more fulfilled lives which is what we hope for, for each and every one of our clients.
This is why we’ve written this article and many others like it, so that in addition to helping folks find an affordable life insurance policy if they need one, perhaps we can also help people find a career that they’ll love and live a happy life.
Thank you for reading our article covering the 30 Best Jobs Working with Animals, we hope that you enjoyed it. If you have more ideas for us or have a question, please leave any questions or comments below. We would love to hear from you!