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NostalgicChills's avatar

What are some good paying jobs that involve working with animals?

Asked by NostalgicChills (2774points) December 27th, 2011

I’m at a point in my High school career where I seriously need to think about choices that will affect the rest of my life. I was leaning towards being a teacher or psychologist, but then I realized, I wouldn’t be truly happy pursuing those careers. I sincerely LOVE all creatures, from the little bugs in the ground to the birds in the sky. I know that anything involving animals, I would be passionate about. Therefore, I’m asking the people of Fluther, what are some good paying jobs that involve working/caring for animals? (by “good paying jobs”, I mean a career that will allow me to make enough to get by in life) I’m looking for other options OTHER than being a veterinarian. That, I absolutely cannot pursue.

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29 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Are you in an American high school? If yes, you don’t need to choose a career right now.

Do you plan or want to attend a two-year or four-year college? Have you taken physics, chemistry and biology? If so, how did you fare?

Here’s some info about the Veterinary Assistant or Technician’s Program

(I googled those.)

Check out jobs in zoos, animal shelters, animal hospitals, pet grooming and pet sitting for private clients.

My sister has a very old dog that won’t go out to pee and poop (four times a day) without a human escort. When my sister travels or is away for even the day, she calls her doggy guy to stop by every few hours.

rebbel's avatar

Horse whisperer.
Or any other animal whisperer.
Although I don’t know if there are colleges that educate you in that or maybe you already have it ‘in you’?, it could be a good paying job, as there are people who gladly pay for these services.

NostalgicChills's avatar

Yes I am, but I want to choose a career now. I plan to attend a four (or more) year college. I’ve taken Biology, and I’m taking Chemistry now. I had an A in Biology, (it was my favorite class), but I’m not doing too well in Chem.

gorillapaws's avatar

You could go for getting your PhD in biology or ecology. My sister is working on her Doctoral program in marine Ecology. She spent the summer diving in Okinawa’s reefs and collecting samples/doing studies on a fish there that hasn’t been studied much before. There are many others in her program doing research on land-based bugs, animals, etc.

Also: the more women in science the better.

gailcalled's avatar

@NostalgicChills: If you plan on attending a traditional four-year college, then you choose a general liberal arts curriculum your first two years. Then you declare a major. So you have several years before you commit fully to a profession or career.

There are five year programs that combine a BA and masters’ degree but they are rare and you really must be clear about your career choice.

Here’s a typical general liberal arts set of requirements during your first two years. (Smith College, North Hampton, MA).

…The college recommends that students pursue studies in these seven major fields of knowledge. Students who wish to become eligible for Latin Honors must select at least one course in each of these major fields.

Literature Historical Studies Natural Science The Arts
Social Science Foreign Language Mathematics and Analytic Philosophy

Each first-year student is required, during the first or second semester at Smith, to complete at least one writing-intensive course.

flo's avatar

How about taking care of animals in hospital, or in rehabilitation.

Pet sitting maybe for rich people.

The places who take in animals from circuses and/or laboratories, I don’t know if they pay well generally, but some of them may.

jaytkay's avatar

Dog boarding and training might be lucrative if you own the business. Especially in affluent areas.

For example, here’s a “dog hotel” called Stay

I picked it for the funny name

Neizvestnaya's avatar

If you feel a weakness in chem classes will keep you from degrees needed, get a tutor! It’s a lot simpler to get help now and get to where you want to be than to skirt the issue. I have a relative who tried something similar but can’t get the job she wants because she won’t face her fears of tackling difficult courses.

Coloma's avatar

I have 2 great veterinarians that make housecalls in my rural community. One is my Avian vet that treats my geese, and the other has a hospice practice that tends to dying pets at home. I LOVE these women, and their services are awesome. They get to travel around the countryside and mountains tending to all sorts of birds and animals.

I think being a house call farm vet would be a wonderful career.

gailcalled's avatar

@Coloma: Our OP does say, ” I’m looking for other options OTHER than being a veterinarian. That, I absolutely cannot pursue.”

Coloma's avatar

@gailcalled I was JUST about to mention my oversight, but you beat me to it.
Okay, nix the vet, but a vet assistant might be an option.

I have a friend that was an equine dental assistant, she loved it.

NostalgicChills's avatar

But is that something I can actually go to college for?

Brian1946's avatar

Although I know your avatar is a photo of you taking your pic in a mirror, when I look at it from my direct perspective, it’s like you’re a paparazzo taking my pic with a flash. ;-o

So perhaps you could select a career that involved getting scandalous shots of animal celebrities? ;-)

Or, how about wildlife photography/videography?

6rant6's avatar

Farriers make decent money if they are good at it. I’m sure there are furriers who do, too, but it’s probably something you have to work toward.

NostalgicChills's avatar

“Scandalous shots of animal celebrities” is an interesting way to put it! XD

Wildlife photography is actually an excellent idea. But could I make a decent living out of this? Or would I be a starving artist?

mazingerz88's avatar

I would suggest becoming US President but those animals in Congress are too dangerous. Lol.

Get a business degree and start a pet store/ board/ sitter/ restaurant etc. A billion dollars a year in animal spending in the US! Surely there will be new business ideas targeted for pets that will make waves in the future.

SmashTheState's avatar

Taxidermist. Park ranger. Fisherman/crabber/jigger. Zoo attendant. Breeder. Animal husband. Organize a not-for-profit pet food co-op. Race horse groom. I could list dozens. Any business which involves animals will have lots of support roles available.

Brian1946's avatar


”“Scandalous shots of animal celebrities” is an interesting way to put it! XD”

Hey, the headlines could write themselves: “Cheetah the chimp caught cheating!”

“Wildlife photography is actually an excellent idea. But could I make a decent living out of this? Or would I be a starving artist?”

You might be a starving artist if you started your career by freelancing, but if you got a job with an entity like National Geographic or Disney, you might do just fine.
However, I’m sure that gigs like that are hard to get, although it wouldn’t hurt to contact them to get an idea of what your prospects might be.

NostalgicChills's avatar

Or “Dumbo the elephant gets ears pinned back!”

When you say contact them, how should I go about that?
And what would I say?

flo's avatar

If someone offered you a dream job for a decent pay right now, would you turn it down because you didn’t go to college for it?

Brian1946's avatar


I’m not sure, but my one of my guesses would be to Google something like, ‘Animal/wildlife photography careers’.

You could also try going to the Disney or National Geographic sites, and see if they have links for something like, ‘employment’, ‘human resources’, or ‘careers’.

NostalgicChills's avatar

No, of course I’d take the opportunity. But chances like that are not likely to happen, so I need some education to fall back on.

Okay, Thank you!

Coloma's avatar


Yes, you can train as a Veterinary health technician. I am sure there is a curriculum available at some colleges.

Brian1946's avatar


My pleasure!

As for what to say, there’s no hurry to compose your inquiry. I’d suggest trying those searches first; if you have any luck, let me know and we’ll use your results as a basis for what to say.

jaytkay's avatar

The annual Photographer’s Market book will give you an idea of who buys photography.

There’s a good chance of finding old copies in the library, so no need to buy the 2012 book until you decide you are serious


If you want to actually work in photography I would recommend a career-oriented school, like Rochester Institute of Technology, rather than art school.

flo's avatar

@NostalgicChills I understand. I have read the answers above, lots of good ideas there.

carrielynn's avatar

I’m like you – I love all animals and want a career working with them. I graduated with my bachelor’s in biology last year, and I haven’t found that dream job yet. I want to find the perfect thing I’m suited for that will also help save animals, but I’m finding it difficult to find even a general lab technician job. I worked at a no-kill animal shelter for a while, but it was not a liveable wage. I think I’d like to do lab work in the field of conservation, but you have to be careful not to work in a place that does cruel animal testing.

Like others have said, you still have quite a bit of time. The first two years are really just about the required courses for everyone. I’m not so great at chemistry either, and my degree only required two semesters of general chemistry, so it wasn’t a big deal. They were my hardest classes in college but I got through it – I also took organic chemistry in case I go to grad school as well.

rooeytoo's avatar

Dog groomers can make a fortune if they are good. And let me tell you there are not many good ones around. You can go anywhere in the civilized world and get a job at the drop of a hat (or the snip of a scissors), language is no barrier.

The best way to learn grooming is to apprentice to professional handlers. You don’t make much money to start but you learn. Terrier handlers are excellent groomers and any handler who deals with a coated and trimmed breed is also a good place to start.

I work in a grooming place with 1 person who has a Phd in anthropology, 1 a BS in environmental something or other and 1 with an undergraduate degree in anthropology and another in business. I myself have a respectable collection of letters after my name, we are all grooming dogs. I because I like it, the other 3 because they chose degrees in fields where the demand is not great when the economy is off and government grants die out. Dog grooming is recession proof. And you need no investment except your tools.

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