Careers With Animals

Turn your passion for animals into a rewarding career.

~ 13 minute read

For many people, working with animals can bring personal growth and fulfillment. It can provide a sense of purpose and satisfaction, as well as a chance to make a positive impact on the lives of animals. In any animal-related career, the work is approached with empathy, patience, and an understanding of the unique needs of each species. While a love for animals is a plus, what is most important is having the necessary skills, education, and dedication to provide the best possible care.

Animals cannot speak for themselves. Therefore, those who pursue careers in this field ensure the welfare of animals, provide them with proper care and attention, and contribute to their protection and the preservation of their habitats. This includes providing them with proper nutrition, medical care, and safe and comfortable living environments.

Who is best suited to working with animals?

Working with animals is not for everyone, but if you have the following qualities, it may be a good fit for you:

  • Compassion: You should have a genuine love and concern for animals and their well-being. You should also be able to empathize with animals and understand their behavior and needs.
  • Patience: Working with animals can be challenging and requires a lot of patience. You may need to work with animals that are sick, injured, or scared, and it may take time to gain their trust.
  • Physical fitness: Some careers, such as a zookeeper or animal control officer, may require physical labor and the ability to lift heavy objects.
  • Attention to detail: You should be meticulous and detail-oriented in your work, as the health and well-being of animals depend on it.
  • Good communication skills: Good communication skills are important when working with animals, as you may need to communicate with other professionals, such as veterinarians or animal owners.
  • Ability to work as a team: Many animal careers require teamwork and the ability to work well with others. You should be able to work well in a team and be willing to lend a helping hand to your colleagues.
  • Adaptability: The animal care field is constantly evolving, and you should be able to adapt to new techniques, regulations, and technologies.
  • Commitment: A career in animal care requires a significant amount of time, effort, and dedication. You should be committed to your work and be willing to put in the time and effort necessary to provide the best possible care for animals.

How to choose the right animal career

By following the following steps, you can find a career that involves working with animals, and that is the right fit for you and your goals. Remember, a career in animal care is not just a job, but a calling. If you have a passion for animals and are committed to providing them with the best possible care, you will find great satisfaction in this field.

  • Identify your interests, passions, and work environment: Do you want to work with domesticated animals, such as dogs and cats, or do you have a passion for wildlife conservation? Do you enjoy working hands-on with animals, or do you prefer research and analysis? Do you see yourself working in a zoo, an animal shelter, or a veterinary clinic? This information can help you identify careers that align with your interests and skills.
  • Research different career options: Once you have identified your interests and skills, research the different careers that involve working with animals. Learn about the job responsibilities, education requirements, salary ranges, and other important factors for each career.
  • Get experience: Gain hands-on experience in the field by volunteering at animal shelters, zoos, wildlife rehabilitation centers, working at pet stores, or shadowing a veterinarian. You can also consider internships or apprenticeships to gain specialized skills and knowledge. Any of these experiences will help you gain practical experience, make connections in the field, and give you a better understanding of what the job entails so you can determine if it’s the right fit for you.
  • Consider the education requirements: Many careers in the animal field require specific education or certifications. Consider whether you are willing to make the necessary investments in time and money to pursue the career of your choice. For example, if you want to work as a veterinarian, you will need to complete a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. If you are interested in becoming a zookeeper, you may need a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in Zoology or Biology.
  • Evaluate your financial goals: Consider the earning potential and job outlook for your desired career, and weigh this against your financial goals and lifestyle.
  • Be patient: Finding a job in the animal care field can take time, so be persistent and don’t give up. Consider starting out in a related field, such as kennel work or animal grooming, and working your way up to your desired career.
  • Build your skills: Develop your knowledge of animal behavior, health, nutrition, and safety. Consider taking courses in animal care and management, as well as courses in communication, leadership, and teamwork.

Our top 6 animal career picks

If you love animals, there are many career opportunities available in a variety of fields. With hard work and dedication, it is possible to find a rewarding career in a field that allows you to work closely with animals and make a positive impact on their lives. Here are our top six picks:

1. Veterinarian

Being a veterinarian can be a rewarding and challenging career for those who are dedicated and passionate about animals and their health. Veterinarians diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries, perform surgery, and offer preventive care to keep animals healthy. If you are considering a career in veterinary medicine, it’s important to do your research and carefully evaluate the education requirements, job responsibilities, and overall career prospects to determine if it’s the right fit for you. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Job Satisfaction: Many veterinarians report high levels of job satisfaction, as they get to work with animals and make a positive impact on their health and well-being.
  • Demand for Services: The demand for veterinary services is expected to increase as pet ownership continues to grow. This can lead to job security and opportunities for growth in the field.
  • Education Requirements: Becoming a veterinarian requires a significant investment of time and money in education. In addition to a bachelor’s degree, aspiring veterinarians must complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program, which typically takes four years.
  • Work Environment: Veterinarians work in a variety of settings, including private veterinary clinics, animal hospitals, and research facilities. The work environment can be physically and emotionally demanding, as veterinarians often work long hours, perform surgeries, and handle emergency cases.
  • Career Advancement: Veterinarians have the option to specialize in a particular area of veterinary medicine, such as surgery, cardiology, or oncology. This can lead to advanced job opportunities and increased earning potential.

2. Zoologist

If you are passionate about studying and understanding animals, their behavior, and their interactions with the environment, then a career as a zoologist could be a good fit for you. Zoologists conduct research on various aspects of animal life, and work to conserve and protect endangered species.

  • Job Satisfaction: Many zoologists report high levels of job satisfaction due to the opportunity to study and work with animals, contribute to conservation efforts, and pursue their passion for wildlife. However, some zoologists may experience challenges such as long hours, physically demanding field work, and limited funding for research.
  • Demand for Services: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of zoologists is projected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029, as is a strong demand in government agencies and non-profit organizations.
  • Education Requirements: A Master’s or Doctorate in Zoology is typically required for careers in research or higher-level management positions, while a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient for entry-level positions in the field.
  • Work Environment: Zoologists often work in field settings, conducting research in natural habitats, or in laboratory settings, analyzing data and conducting experiments. They may work in zoos, aquariums, wildlife parks, museums, research institutions, universities, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and community groups.
  • Career Advancement: Career advancement involves gaining more education, experience, and responsibility. A master’s or doctorate can greatly enhance career prospects, as can field experience, publishing research papers, attending conferences and workshops, teaching, and networking.

3. Wildlife Biologist

A wildlife biologist studies wild animals and their habitats in order to understand and manage their populations. Wildlife biologists may focus on specific species, such as endangered animals, or on the interactions between different species and their environment.

  • Job Satisfaction: Wildlife biologists are often highly satisfied with their careers. They get to work closely with animals, study their behaviors and habitats, and contribute to conservation efforts. However, wildlife biology can involve fieldwork that can be physically demanding, and working with endangered species can sometimes be emotionally challenging.
  • Demand for Services: The demand for wildlife biologists is driven by a combination of social, economic, and political factors. Governments around the world are now investing in wildlife conservation and management programs to study and protect endangered species.
  • Education Requirements: Typically, a wildlife biologist will have a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife Biology, Wildlife Science and Management, Ecology, Zoology, or a related field. Some employers may require a master’s degree for higher-level positions or for those working in research.
  • Work Environment: Some wildlife biologists work in laboratory settings, while others work observing wildlife and collecting data. They also work in offices, analyzing data, preparing reports, and communicating with colleagues, government agencies, and the public.
  • Career Advancement: Wildlife biologists may advance into management positions, overseeing conservation and wildlife management programs. Those with advanced degrees and a strong background in research may pursue careers in academia or as independent researchers, conducting studies and publishing their findings.

4. Marine Biologist

A marine biologist studies the ocean and its inhabitants, including plants, animals, and microorganisms. Marine biologists may focus on a specific area of study, such as the behavior of a particular species of marine animal, or on a broader topic, such as the overall health of the ocean and its ecosystems.

  • Job Satisfaction: Marine biologists are often highly satisfied with their careers due to their love for the ocean and its inhabitants. The opportunity to work closely with marine animals, study their behaviors and habitats, and contribute to ocean conservation efforts can be deeply fulfilling.
  • Demand for Services: There is a growing demand for marine biologists due to the increasing global population and the consequent strain on marine resources. This is driving the demand for marine biologists to conduct research, monitor marine environments, and provide recommendations for their protection and management.
  • Education Requirements: A minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, Marine Biology, or a related field is typically required to begin a career in marine biology. Most marine biologists choose to pursue a master’s degree or a doctorate to gain specialized knowledge in their area of interest.
  • Work Environment: Marine biologists can work in a variety of environments, such as laboratories, offices, field sites, aquariums, and marine parks. Regardless of the work environment, they typically spend a lot of time working with data, analyzing results, writing reports, and collaborating with other scientists and professionals.
  • Career Advancement: Opportunities for career advancement will depend on the area of specialty, level of education, and experience. For example, marine biologists who specialize in research can take on leadership roles in research projects, those interested in teaching can pursue academic positions at colleges and universities, and if policy change is an interest, then being an advisor to government agencies, NGOs, or international organizations is an option.

5. Animal Behaviorist

An animal behaviorist studies the behavior of animals, including both wild and domesticated species. Animal behaviorists may focus on the behavior of a specific species, such as the communication patterns of birds, or on the behavior of animals in a particular environment, such as the social behavior of primates.

  • Job Satisfaction: Animal behaviorists who are able to make a meaningful impact on the lives of animals and their owners feel more satisfied with their careers. Those who have opportunities to continue learning and developing their skills also seem to experience greater job satisfaction.
  • Demand for Services: The demand for animal behaviorists has been increasing in recent years, as more and more pet owners seek to understand and improve the behavior of their pets. Demand for animal behaviorist services can vary by geographic region, with more densely populated areas often experiencing higher demand.
  • Education Requirements: Most animal behaviorists have at least a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, Psychology, Animal Sciences, or Zoology. Some may choose to pursue a master’s degree which can provide additional expertise, or become certified by the Animal Behavior Society or the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants to increase job opportunities.
  • Work Environment: Animal behaviorists can work in office settings, laboratory settings, veterinary clinics, animal shelters, or in the field observing and studying animals in their natural habitats.
  • Career Advancement: There are many paths for career advancement, including further education, specialization, supervisory positions, independent consulting, research and academia, publishing, and public speaking. Obtaining certification from the Animal Behavior Society or the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants can be helpful in securing employment and advancing in the field.

6. Animal Trainer

An animal trainer works with animals to teach them new behaviors and modify existing ones. Animal trainers may work with a variety of species, including dogs, horses, marine mammals, and birds, and may specialize in specific areas of training, such as obedience training for pets, stunt training for film and television, or behavior modification for animals with behavioral issues.

  • Job Satisfaction: Many animal trainers find great satisfaction in working with animals and helping them to develop new behaviors and skills. In addition, they may also find satisfaction in working with pet owners and helping them to better understand and improve the behavior of their pets.
  • Demand for Services: There is a growing demand for animal trainers in recent years, as pet ownership and interest in animal behavior continues to rise. With more pet owners seeking ways to improve the behavior and well-being of their pets, there is an increasing need for trained professionals who can help.
  • Education Requirements: Many animal training organizations offer certificate programs that provide hands-on training and experience working with a variety of species. Some animal training positions may require a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Behavior, Biology, Psychology, or a related field.
  • Work Environment: Some common work environments include pet stores, animal shelters, kennels, or private homes. Animal trainers may also spend a significant amount of time outdoors, working with animals in parks, training facilities, and other locations.
  • Career Advancement: Animal trainers have a variety of career advancement opportunities available to them, including specialization, management, teaching, consultation, research, and entrepreneurship. These opportunities can help animal trainers to grow professionally, advance their careers, and make a positive impact on the lives of animals and their owners.


Animal-related careers can offer you the opportunity to work with and help improve the lives of these fascinating and diverse creatures. Whether you are interested in animal behavior, training, veterinary care, conservation, or any other related field, there are many different paths you can take to pursue a career in this exciting and rewarding industry.

The education requirements and work environment can vary greatly depending on the specific career path you choose, but a love of animals and a desire to help improve their lives is a common thread among all animal-related careers. With numerous opportunities for specialization, advancement, and personal and professional growth, you can make a positive impact on the world and enjoy a fulfilling and rewarding career for years to come.

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