Top Six Jobs with Animals and How to Land Them
You’ve probably already been told a few times that careers with animals are few and poorly remunerated, and that most zoology graduates today work in retail, hospitality and administration…
Don’t let negs deter you from pursuing your dream vocation. There are about a million possible jobs with animals that you could do without having to sacrifice too much of your earning potential. Here are six of the best careers with animals, including a breakdown of duties, entry requirements and salaries.
1. Wildlife biologist or zoologist
These are popular careers with animals for those keen on research. As a wildlife biologist of zoologist, you would study animal health and behavior in a lab setting or a natural environment. Many zoologists, such as ornithologists or entomologists, specialize in one particular species or animal type and find work with local government, research firms or social advocacy groups, earning a median salary of £38,500 in the UK and $52,283 in the US. You would need a bachelor’s degree in zoology or any related field,as well as a master’s degree to access the higher level positions.
Among the best-known and best-paid jobs with animals, being a veterinarian means working to prevent, diagnose and treat animal illness, with median earnings of £30,387 in the UK, and $72,7089 in the US. Your typical work day would include administering tests, performing surgery and prescribing medication in veterinary clinics or hospitals. You would typically need to complete a bachelor’s degree (three to four years) in zoology, biology, chemistry, biochemistry or animal science, as well as a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine (four years).
3. Animal trainers
As an animal trainer, earning on average $33,600 in the US, and you would normally work in a park, animal shelter, farm or privately, coaching animals for obedience, performance, security or to assist disabled persons. You would be likely to work irregular hours and complete physically demanding and/or dangerous tasks. Key requirements include sensitivity, stamina, common sense, knowledge of the animals with which you will be working and a high school diploma.
4. Animal caretaker
Another popular way to work with animals is as a caretaker. This involves managing all aspects of an animal’s essential needs, including exercising, bathing, feeding and grooming, as well as cleaning out its cage and watching out for improvements or degradations in its health. Possible workplaces include zoos, circuses, animal shelters and kennels. Expect to earn a median salary in the US of $29,309 and £20,390 the UK. Entry requirements include a high school diploma and, in some cases, a bachelor’s degree in animal science or biology.
5. Veterinary technician
If you decide to work with animals as a veterinary technician, you would work in a clinic or an animal hospital and help veterinarians care for animals. Expect to earn an average of £24,770 in the UK, or $35,067.88 in the US, though working for the government might get you higher wages.[v] Specifications for the job include a high school diploma and in some cases a veterinary assistant certification.
6. Laboratory animal caretakers
You could also work with animals kept in labs by scientists for use in research. This might involve working in a private research facility, museum, hospital or university. Whether you are working with a goat, mouse, sheep or other animal, your duties would include feeding, grooming, cleaning and breeding the animals in your care. Expect to earn a median salary of £16,462 or $23,298.59. Entry requirements for the role include a high school diploma, previous work experience in a related field and in some cases a bachelor’s degree.
This article was originally published in April 2016 . It was last updated in May 2023