10 Great Careers for People Who Love Animals

Getting ready to enter the workforce can be intimidating. Your chosen career could fill your days from now until retirement—which, if you’re just getting out of high school, is about three times as long as you’ve been alive. That’s why choosing a career you love is so important. The best careers are those borne out of your passions. But sometimes, it can be hard to know what your career options are. You know what you love, but how do you translate that into a viable career? Loving animals is one of those passions that can be hard to translate. If you’re the type of person who can’t wait to pick out a new collar for your dog or who wants to offer a home to every animal on Craigslist, here are 10 great careers you should consider.

Veterinarian

Education: Doctorate

Average Pay: $88,000-$89,000/year

The most popular career choice for animal lovers—and the one most kids know to shoot for—is that of a veterinarian. Veterinarians are in charge of keeping animals healthy. There are two main types of veterinarians: small animal veterinarian and large animal veterinarians. Small animal veterinarians help with household pets—most commonly, cats and dogs. Large animal veterinarians, on the other hand, may help with farm animals or with any of the larger animals kept in zoos. A job as a veterinarian may be right for you if you like science and figuring out how things work and if you’re not squeamish about illness or blood.

Zookeeper

Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Average Pay: $21,000-$22,000/year

If you want to deal with more exotic animals on a regular basis, a zookeeper might be the right job for you. Being a zookeeper allows you to get up close and personal with animals from all over the world. It’s a great job if you enjoy being outdoors and on your feet on a daily basis. Being a zookeeper is a physically demanding job, so it’s perfect if you’re young and fit. These days, there’s also a public speaking element to the job, as educating visitors is a large part of the modern zookeeper’s job.

Animal Trainer

Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Average Pay: $33,000-$34,000/year

If you have always “had a way” with animals, becoming an animal trainer can help you impart that wisdom on other people and ensuring animals have the care they need in their homes. Most trainers receive on-the-job training. While you may think of dog trainers as the most common type, there are all sorts of animal trainers, from ones who help pet owners train their pets to trainers who prepare working animals for their jobs to circus or zoo trainers.

Groomer

Education: High school diploma or equivalent

Average Pay: $30,000-$31,000/year

If you have good attention-to-detail and a calming presence, being a groomer might be a great job for you. Another job that typically trains you as you go, a groomer keeps animals looking neat and prevents things like overlong nails or matted fur. To be good at this job, you have to be able to listen to your client and meet their vision for their pet.

Zoologist

Education: Bachelor’s Degree

Average Pay: $61,000-$62,000/year

If you’re the type of person who loves learning about how animals live in their environment and communicate with each other, being a zoologist may be the perfect career for you. Zoologists are the people who make new discoveries about animals, as well as about the effects humans and animals have on one another. You might be a great zoologist if you enjoy watching wildlife documentaries and are good at carefully observing behavior over long periods of time.

Dog Walker

Education: Any Level

Average Pay: $30,000-$31,000/year

If the idea of sitting behind a desk day after day bores you, being a dog walker might be a great career for you. Dog walkers are on their feet every day, rain or shine. It’s a great way to get exercise and explore the outdoors in your area. Keep in mind that most dog walkers have to work in a city and walk multiple dogs to earn a decent salary.

Animal Nutritionist

Education: Bachelor’s Degree

Average Pay: $60,000-$61,000/year

If you like the science of how different foods fuel bodies, you might enjoy a career as an animal nutritionist. Animal nutritionists may work in farms, research facilities, laboratories, zoos, and wildlife rehabilitation facilities. Their goal is to make sure animals are eating the best foods for their bodies and that their owners are educated about how to keep these animals healthy. As an animal nutritionist, your job is to be educated about the dietary needs of a whole bunch of animals, which is perfect for the person who absorbs information easily.

Wildlife Rehabilitator

Education: Bachelor’s Degree

Average Pay: $20,000-$40,000 if paid

If conservation and animal rescue interests you, a job as a wildlife rehabilitator may be a great experience. Wildlife rehabilitators take in injured animals and attempt to prepare them to live on their own in the wilderness again. It takes grit, determination, and an understanding of animals’ natural habitats. It also takes a special heart, as you have to be willing to say goodbye to the animal at the end of their rehabilitation. While a lot of wildlife rehabilitation positions are volunteer positions, there are paid positions available as well.

Animal Cruelty Investigator

Education: High School diploma or equivalent

Average Pay: $33,000-$34,000/year

It takes a special individual to investigate claims of animal cruelty. However, if you have the ability to see some of the sadder walks of life without taking on those stresses, being an animal cruelty investigator is an important job. It allows you to help out animals who otherwise can’t speak for themselves in potentially cruel situations.

Marine Biologist

Education: Bachelor’s Degree

Average Pay: $51,000-$52,000

The seas and the oceans are some of our least-explored animals on the planet, and the animals that live in the water are still largely a mystery to us. Marine biologists study aquatic life, increasing our understanding of how these animals work and live. If you like science and studying and also enjoy being out in the water, this might be a great job for you.

There are tons of awesome jobs available for people who love animals. At any education level, you can find a job that will allow you to work closely with animals and learn more about them—and about yourself. When selecting the right job for you, though you should start with your passions, you should also consider how you like to work. Do you like to stand all day? Would you prefer to work behind a desk? These are important questions to ask yourself when choosing your perfect animal career.