Career Paths in the Animal Field
Find out what a career in the animal field is really like, from how much the jobs pay to what type of person is best suited to work with wildlife. Jenny Shively earns her living taking care of animals. Learn how she got broke into the field and what she finds most rewarding about the work.
I don’t think a lot of people understand the range of career paths…there are veterinarians, zookeepers, marine biologists…that’s just the tip of the iceberg right? Describe some of the career options. Maybe some that are quite common but that people overlook…
There are a large variety of careers in the animal field. Some of these include…
Field Researcher – This career requires patience and attention to detail but allows people to travel and observe animals in their natural environment.
If you like working with numbers and observing animals this is a great career path for you. It involves a lot of paperwork and attention to detail but can take you all over the world.
Animal Trainer – To enter this career path it is essential to have a basic understanding of operant conditioning. This is by far one of the most hands on, exciting careers in the animal field. There are a variety of animals that can be trained and a variety of types of training positions that can be obtained. Sometimes this is a more dangerous path to take because animal trainers are often in close, unprotected contact with dangerous animals.
Animal Adoption Counselor – This can be one of the most rewarding careers because of the difference you make in the lives of families and homeless animals. These people work with families who come into shelters seeking to adopt a new animal for their home. They assist the family in finding the most appropriate animal for their home environment. It can be a stressful job but the emotional reward makes it worth the price.
Education – Most zoos and other facilities have education staff who work towards educating young children about animals through hands on contact with small animals and fun, interactive education programs.
This is a much less hands on approach to working with animals but is ideal for those who love to teach.
See the page about jobs at the San Diego Zoo
and the other zoo profiles too.
Wildlife Conservation – There are many jobs available for wildlife conservation organizations, which range from attorneys to administrative positions. These jobs tend to be the least hands on with animals but are ideal for people who like to stay in an office environment while having an impact on the lives of wild animals.