5 Life-Changing Jobs with Animals In-depth Guide


If you crave working with animals, but you also really love getting paid, these 10 amazing jobs with animals lets you have both.

This in-depth free guide will explain the general career fields where you can find jobs with animals, the salary of each job on the list, and how to get the training, licensing and experience to get started.

 The list even includes links to job vacancy examples. The great news is none of these totally legitimate jobs require you to have a college degree.

First, let’s go over the three career fields that have jobs with animals. As you’ll see there are many other jobs besides a veterinarian that involve the well-being of animals.

3 Career Fields for Animal Lovers

There are three large career fields that work with animals. Medical or veterinary jobs manage the health of all types of animals.

Many of the jobs require specialized education, training and other credentials. Read this article about how to become a vet tech if you want to go that route.

Animal rescue professionals work on ensuring the welfare of animals. They work to rehabilitate and find homes for animals that have been abandoned or abused.

Finally, there are jobs to rehabilitate wildlife areas and manage populations of animals in the wild.  

Medical and Veterinary Jobs with Animals

Veterinary medicine encompasses the health of all animals. These careers treat pets, livestock, zoo animals or wild animals. They treat illnesses, injuries, prescribe medicine, do surgery, and conduct follow-up visits. They also euthanize animals that are sick or a danger to others. 

Not all veterinary medicine professionals have direct contact with patients. They also conduct research to prevent and control illnesses. Job titles include:

  • Veterinarian
  • Vet Technologist
  • Vet Technician
  • Veterinary Assistant
  • Animal Behaviorists

Rescue Jobs with Animals

Animal rescue workers do many types of tasks, but many times the work can be emotional. As you would guess, a lot of the work involves saving animals that have been abused and neglected.

They also work with stray and feral animals that are not trusting of people. Animal rescuers work during emergencies, such as wildfires or floods when animals can become displaced or injured.

This type of work also includes helping people get their pets neutered, providing pet adoption services, and giving pet supplies to people who cannot afford them.

Job titles in this field include:

  • Animal rescuer
  • Animal shelter attendant
  • Animal adoption counselor
  • Animal rescue program coordinator
  • Humane educator
  • Animal control officer

Wildlife Rehabilitation Jobs with Animals

Wildlife rehabilitation is a mix of veterinary medicine, animal behavior, natural history, and environmental studies that works to rehab animals in the wild. They clean, take care of injuries, give medication, vaccinate and feed animals in their natural habitat. Common job titles in this career field are:

  • Wildlife educator
  • Wildlife rehabilitator
  • Wildlife rehabilitation technician
  • Rehabilitation veterinary
  • Program supervisor

5 Life-changing Jobs with Animals

Animal Trainers

Animal Trainer Salaries

5 States with the
Highest Salaries
RangeMedian
Kentucky$24,640 – $68,870$45,750
Washington$25,300 – $63,350$38,460
Illinois$20,310 – $96,000$37,340
South Carolina$20,600 – $56,260$35,240
California$23,560 – $64,960$34, 960
5 States with the
Lowest Salaries
RangeMedian
Wisconsin$18,100 – $48,810$23,170
Maine$20,850 – $37,990$23,040
Kansas$16,830 $48,040$22,910
Idaho$16,760 – $23,740$19,340
Mississippi$16,350 – $30,630$19,270

What Animal Trainers Do

Animal trainers do more than train animals. They have to listen and communicate with people and animals, clean the work areas, provide customer service and assessment, monitor progress and develop programs that meet the goals of the animal owner.

Animal Trainer Jobs

1. Marine Mammal Trainer Assistant

What they do: Marine mammal trainers work with whales, dolphins, sea lions, and seals to teach them to perform or behave for an audience. They also provide care and interact with the animals.

How to become one: Keep in mind these jobs are physically demanding and you work outside in extreme weather.

You have to be able to lift 50 pounds and carry it, have good vision, be willing to wear a wetsuit most of the day and touch raw seafood.

You can volunteer at your local aquarium or zoo to get a feel for the work environment. Many of these businesses offer internships.

What you should know: Entry-level jobs are at Sea World and aquariums, but they are scarce.

Also, if you don’t live within commute distance of a place that houses marine animals, you may be out of luck.

You’ll also need a SCUBA certification in some cases. The higher level marine mammal training jobs require a four-year degree and a lot of experience.

Job examples and links to marine mammal training career pages:

2. Dog Trainer 

What they do: Dog trainers work with dog owners and their dogs to have better communication and teach dogs to behave on command.

They also use tactics to stop aggressive, anxious or annoying behavior that is disruptive to the home. More specialized trainers work with dogs to prepare the pups to become service animals or work in law enforcement.

How to become a dog trainer: It’s relatively easy to get into the dog training business because you can pursue it as a part-time job.

There are not many formal prerequisites, but there are a few things you need.

First, you should obviously be compassionate and have excellent customer service skills in order to mesh with the animals and their owners. Dog training also requires patience and attention to detail.

Some dogs progress slowly through the training and you’ll have to pick up on nuances of the behavior change.

You’ll also want to eventually get certified in dog training. The most widely recognized certifications are:

  • CPDT- KA Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge Assessed, which measures knowledge and skills in ethology, learning theory, dog training technique, and instruction.
  • CPDT-KSA Certified Professional Dog Trainer-Knowledge and Skills Assessed is a skills-based certification. It tests your training and instruction skills using hands-on exercises.

Companies hiring dog trainers want someone with experience being around and training all kinds of dog breeds. To get this experience, you should volunteer at your local animal shelter, ASPCA or dog rescue to learn more about how the dog breeds behave.

You can also read up on dog training methods from Dr. Ian Dunbar, Karen Pryor, Pat Miller, Paul Owens, Patricia McConnell. Just go to their websites and look around to find a couple that resonate with you.

Care Taker Jobs with Animals

If barking commands at an animal isn’t you’re style, then you might be more of a cuddler than a drill sergeant. These next tempting jobs

3. Professional Pet Sitter

pet sitters are a fast growing field

Tracey Lamphere

Tracey Lamphere, M.S. IMC is the editor of Job Affirmations, a publication that provides information and ideas to use mindfulness, positive affirmations, and visualizations to transform your career.

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