Careers with Animals
Working With Animals Can Be Very Rewarding
Have you ever wanted to train dogs and spend your workdays romping around with cuddly canines instead of sitting behind a desk, staring at a computer screen? If so, you should reconsider your career. There are many job opportunities available to those who pursue a career working with animals.
Louise Miller, author of “Careers for Animal Lovers and Other Zoological Types,” poses the following questions. According to Miller, if you can answer “yes” to all or most of these questions, then you have the necessary qualities to succeed in an animal career.
• Do I genuinely care about the welfare of animals?
• Am I willing to work long hours doing stressful work?
• Will I be happy living on a modest income?
• Can I show empathy toward people in times of grief?
• Do I have physical and mental strength and energy?
• Can I exercise good judgment and solve problems under difficult circumstances?
• Am I reliable and compassionate?
Now we will explore just a few of the many options available to animal lovers.
A certified animal trainer has a myriad of career options open to him. These professionals have the unique option of being an entrepreneur and serving private clients. A dog trainer can be employed with major pet stores or county programs. He can also collaborate with animal shelters and/or rescues to provide training programs at their facilities.
An individual who desires this type of training career does not necessarily need to attend a vocational program or obtain a certification. However, it is highly recommended. You can choose an on-campus dog obedience course or become certified through an online program offering local mentorship.
If your taste runs to more exotic animals or wildlife, you could consider becoming a certified zookeeper assistant. Zookeeper assistants do many of the same jobs as head zookeepers. However, zookeeper assistant certification does not limit you to a zoo career. You can have a career caring for animals in a variety of other settings, such as research facilities and wildlife rehabilitation centers.
Pet Care Specialist
The pet care specialist can perform many different duties. Pet care specialists can seek employment at specialty and major pet supply stores, grooming salons, dog walking businesses, doggie daycares and pet hotels. A pet care specialist may also choose to continue his education to become a dog trainer.
A kennel attendant may be employed with a veterinary hospital, boarding kennel, pet hotel or any place where animals are boarded. The duties of the kennel attendant usually involve maintaining cleanliness within the facility. He may also be tasked to groom, feed, and care for patients and he may even get the opportunity to train dogs. It is the kennel attendant’s responsibility to ensure each animal’s comfort and care.
Doggie Daycare or Pet Hotel Operator
Doggie daycares and pet hotels are meant to serve busy dog owners who don’t want to leave their pets alone at home. In a career as a doggie daycare owner or operator, you would take care of other dogs while their owners are at work or away from home (depending on whether you or your facility offers overnight boarding). A doggie daycare attendant walks, exercises, feeds, medicates and plays with pets, and may even provide dog training if he is certified.
Animal Shelter or Animal Rescue Worker
There are thousands of animal shelters and rescues in existence that serve the purpose of temporarily housing homeless animals until they can be placed with new owners. Rescues also accommodate homeless dogs and are usually non-profit organizations. Both shelters and rescues are always seeking assistance from both paid staff and volunteers. An individual who has knowledge and experience in animal training is an asset to a shelter or rescue. This career can be both emotionally difficult and immensely rewarding.
The primary job of the vet assistant is to assist the veterinary technician and veterinarian in completing vital tasks. While this position does not necessarily require certification, completing a vocational veterinary assistant program can provide immensely helpful training and preparation for this dynamic animal career. The veterinary assistant is an essential part of the veterinary team.
These are only a few of the numerous career options available to you as an animal lover. With dedication, persistence and creativity, you could very possibly land a career you truly love. Whether you want to train dogs or just play with them, there is a job out there perfectly suited for you. Simply be proactive and do your research, and consider completing a certification program. Remember that certification gets you noticed. Good luck!
READ ALSO: Animal Training Certification