18 Popular Jobs That Involve Working With Animals

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated January 8, 2021 | Published October 7, 2019

Updated January 8, 2021

Published October 7, 2019

If you’re passionate about studying, observing or rehabilitating animals, one of the below career paths might be a good fit for you. Working with animals can be rewarding, but it can also be mentally and physically demanding. Most careers involve hands-on job duties where you may clean, train or treat a variety of animals. You might decide to focus on a specific type or group of animals. This article lists the top jobs that work with animals.

Best jobs working with animals

While many animal-focused jobs are part-time with hourly pay, others are full time and have high earning potential with time and experience. Each of the below career paths requires varying levels of education, experience and specialty training. Be sure to research the requirements for jobs you’re interested in to ensure you have the proper credentials.

Here are 18 popular animal-related career paths:

1. Pet sitter

National average salary: $1,252 per month

Primary duties: Pet sitters stay in the home of the client to take care of pets such as dogs, cats, fish and birds. Pet sitting involves regular feeding and cleaning up after the animals. Pet sitters exercise animals as required.

Requirements: There are no education requirements to become a pet sitter. Pet sitter services typically have on-the-job training and require sitters to pass an exam.

Companies with this position: Wag!Barks & BloomsRover.com

2. Pet store associate

National average salary: $11.65 per hour

Primary duties: A pet store employee may be responsible for stocking shelves, caring for animals on display, educating prospective pet owners on the care and feeding of their new pet, maintaining aquariums, feeding animals on a regular schedule and cleaning cages and enclosures.

Requirements: There are no educational requirements for this position. Pet stores typically provide on-the-job training.

Companies with this position: VIP PetsPetSmartKriser’s Natural Pet

3. Farrier

National average salary: $12.15 per hour

Primary duties: Farriers take care of hooves on all kinds of equids by trimming, shoeing, and applying corrective techniques when there is an issue with the hoof capsule. They must be able to follow the angle of the hoof, shape a hot shoe to fit and pull the toe back for an optimum break over of the hoof. The farrier also needs to be able to apply corrective shoeing and support for a foundered horse and find ways to deal with hoof wall damage.

Requirements: Farriers need an Associate’s Degree in Equine Sciences or Farrier Technology. Some employers require a certificate from the American Farrier’s Association.

Companies with this position: Humane Society of MissouriColonial Williamsburg Foundation

4. Animal care attendant

National average salary: $12.19 per hour

Primary duties: An animal care attendant performs general duties in the care and feeding of animals. Performance of this job takes place in pet stores, veterinarians’ offices and animal care facilities. Other duties can include taking animals out for exercise and socialization.

Requirements: There are no education requirements to become an animal care attendant. An animal care attendant typically receives on-the-job training and ongoing education from coworkers.

Companies with this position: Sun CommunitiesVeterinary Specialty CenterCountryside Veterinary Clinic

5. Animal trainer

National average salary: $12.33 per hour

Primary duties: Trainers work with animals to exhibit specific behavior. Some animal trainers help dog owners develop a command-and-response system. Other trainers condition animals to become accustomed to humans. All trainers must formulate plans specific to the animals they work with.

Requirements: There are no minimum education requirements to be an animal trainer, though some specialized trainers may need a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Sciences or Biology.

Companies with this position: Fur-Get Me NotPets in NeedPalace Entertainment

6. Wildlife rehabilitator

National average salary: $12.82 per hour

Primary duties: A wildlife rehabilitator works with non-domesticated mammals, birds and reptiles. Duties involve evaluating injured animals, creating a treatment plan and overseeing the care and handling of the animal while it’s in captivity. A rehabilitator also determines if an animal will heal sufficiently to return to its natural habitat. Interacting with the public and educating people about wild animals may also be part of a rehabilitator’s duties.

Requirements: You must have a permit to work with wildlife. Obtaining a degree in biology or ecology with animal-related coursework is recommended but not mandatory.

Companies with this position: Texas State AquariumWildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation, Lindsay Wildlife Museum

7. Animal shelter manager

National average salary: $13.55 per hour

Primary duties: Being a manager of an animal shelter requires overseeing the daily care of the animals and the cleanliness of the facility. Animal shelter managers make sure adoptable animals are ready for prospective families and arrange for the proper care of sick animals. They also manage staff including hiring, training and planning schedules.

Requirements: There are no minimum education requirements to be an animal shelter manager. Managers typically need professional or volunteer experience in a shelter or related environment.

Companies with this position: Baltimore County, MD, Arizona Humane SocietyHumane Society of Washington County

8. Veterinary technician

National average salary: $15.66 per hour

Primary duties: Veterinary technicians perform duties that include preparing animals for treatments, taking baseline measurements to determine the health of an animal, administering medications and more. A veterinary technician, or vet tech, works closely with a veterinarian to ensure they treat animals based on a diagnosis.

Requirements: Veterinary technicians need an associate’s degree and most states require them to pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination.

Companies with this position: Animal Medical CenterChesapeake Veterinary Surgical Specialists, Sixth Street Veterinary Hospital

9. Animal control officer

National average salary: $16.21 per hour

Primary duties: An animal control officer enforces municipal and state laws regarding the humane care and treatment of animals. They also handle calls for assistance with animals from police and help civilians with domestic and wild animal issues.

Requirements: There are no standard minimum requirements. Some agencies provide on-the-job training while others look for an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Some states also require a certificate from the National Animal Control Association (NACA).

Companies with this position: Dinwiddie CountyCity of Hopkinsville, City of Vicksburg

10. Horseback riding instructor

National average salary: $17.31 per hour

Primary duties: Horseback riding instructors teach entry-level students how to ride a horse and advanced students a variety of riding techniques. They develop lessons and exercises for each session. They may also help keep the stable clean and care for horses.

Requirements: There are no minimum requirements; however, most instructors get a Bachelor’s Degree in Equine Sciences or a certificate from the American Riding Instructors Association (ARIA).

Companies with this position: Camp Killoqua, Girl Scouts of the USAYMCA of Greater Boston

11. Pet groomer

National average salary: $38,104 per year

Primary duties: Animal groomers clean and trim animals based on their knowledge of types of fur and grooming products. They consult with the owners to determine the best grooming method for the animals. They work mainly with dogs, though other animals can require grooming, as well.

Requirements: There are no minimum requirements to become a pet groomer. Most workplaces provide on-the-job training.

Companies with this position: PetcoPet Paradise ResortCentral Bark Doggy Daycare

12. Animal nutritionist

National average salary: $47,308 per year

Primary duties: An animal nutritionist researches the current condition and history of an animal to determine a diet and exercise schedule. They can work with a variety of animals both wild and domestic.

Requirements: Animal nutritionists need a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions.

Companies with this position: Zoological Society, UC DavisWayne Farms

13. Marine biologist

National average salary: $53,733 per year

Primary duties: A marine biologist combines several disciplines into the job. They must be able to SCUBA dive, take samples in a challenging environment, record information for statistical purposes and perform tests on samples in a lab. Depending on the workplace, they could also educate students and the public.

Requirements: Marine biologists need at least a bachelor’s degree, though some pursue a Ph.D. for more specialized studies.

Companies with this position: The University of Southern Mississippi, US Department of the InteriorIntegrated Statistics

14. Zoologist

National average salary: $62,400 per month

Primary duties: Zoologists study groups of animals located in zoos and natural habitats. They inspect and evaluate their behavior, migration pattern, habits and more. A zoologist might study a wide variety of animals including fish, amphibians, mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates.

Requirements: Entry-level zoologists need a bachelor’s degree.

Companies with this position: Seminole Tribe of Florida, State of Washington, University Prep Schools

15. Veterinary sales representative

National average salary: $62,470 per year

Primary duties: A veterinary pharmaceutical representative visits veterinary offices within a designated geographical territory. They bring information about new medications from the manufacturer and discuss the veterinarian’s experience with existing medicines.

Requirements: Veterinary medicine sales representatives need at least a bachelor’s degree in a field related to business or animals.

Companies with this position: Boehringer IngelheimCardinal HealthMerck

16. Veterinarian

National average salary: $91,830 per year

Primary duties: Veterinarians evaluate, diagnose and treat animals. They perform annual checkups and may administer vaccines and medicines. Veterinarians can choose to work in general practice or specialize in a specific field, such as amphibians or small mammals.

Requirements: Veterinarians must get a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and pass a licensing exam.

Companies with this position: Griffith Small Animal HospitalPathway Vet AllianceVetCor

17. Veterinary dentist

National average salary: $45.11 per hour

Primary duties: Veterinary dentists study, diagnose and treat a variety of issues with animals’ mouths and teeth. Dentists can also perform oral surgery based on the needs of the animal.

Requirements: Veterinary dentists must get a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine then pursue a residency in veterinary dentistry.

Companies with this position: Steele Creek Animal HospitalMedVet, Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists

18. Veterinary anesthetist

National average salary: $104,998 per year

Primary duties: A veterinary anesthetist evaluates animals before treatment and determines the best method for sedation for a procedure. The anesthetist also monitors the animal during the procedure through visual observation and monitoring equipment.

Requirements: Veterinary anesthetists require a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine before they can undergo additional training in animal anesthesiology.

Companies with this position: Chesapeake Veterinary Surgical SpecialistsMetropolitan Veterinary AssociatesTexas A&M University

Explore more articles