A number of careers with a range of pay and work functions are available if you want a job with animals. These careers are important because of the large number of Americans who own and care for pets. The American Pet Products Association 2011-2012 National Pet Owners Survey revealed that 39 percent of U.S. homes have at least one dog and 32 percent have at least one cat.
Veterinarians diagnose and treat animal illnesses and injuries. Animal health care may be the right field for you if you have a high level of compassion as well as passion for animals. For people who want to work in animal health care but not invest the time and money for a doctoral or professional degree, vet techs assist veterinarians by bandaging, giving medicine and tracking animal conditions.
Pet care is a major industry in the United States in the 2000s. People who treat their pets like a family member rely on pet hotels, boarding schools and pet sitters to care for their animals while they are away on business or travel. You could start an individual pet sitting business and simply charge people to watch their animals for one or more days. Dog kennels and pet care facilities also employ staff who sell products and services and provide basic love and care for animals during their boarding. Good communication skills are important to interact and build rapport with owners.
Zoologists and wildlife biologists study the way animals behave, often in their natural habitats. This may include field study projects or observations in zoos or wildlife preserves. Behaviors are typically documented for preparation of reports used in conservation or animal facility designs. Some zoologists also work in labs, studying animal diseases. A desire to observe how animals behave or to help in the development of policies for building or maintaining animal habitats is key in this career. Zoologists may also get into academia as college professors or instructors.
Some animal careers involve training animals. Marine biologists, for instance, may work with dolphins and other water animals to train them for theme park shows. Horse trainers help to train race horses or show horses. Dog trainers operate obedience schools or train dogs for competitive shows. In one of these positions, you can work for a business or be self-employed. Pay is modest, but people who like to interact closely in the care and development of animals may find their passion in this line of animal work.
- Bankrate.com: 5 Great Pet Jobs for Animal Lovers
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Veterinarians
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Animal Care and Service Workers
- The Human Society: U.S. Pet Ownership Statistics
- Pet News and Views: Top 10 Tips for Working with Animals
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