If you are searching for a career in which you get to work with animals, try a corporate job on Wall Street. You'll meet plenty of sharks, bears, rats and snakes. If you want to work with friendlier creatures, however, there are many careers that enable you to interact with animals directly and indirectly.
Veterinarians are the primary care physicians of the animal world. They not only treat dogs and cats, but birds, hamsters, reptiles, and horses as well. Unlike many medical doctors, veterinarians have normal schedules, except for the occasional animal emergency. Becoming a vet isn’t easy; it requires four years of college followed by six years of veterinary school. The median salary for a veterinarian is $89,450, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Zoologist and Marine Biologist
While zoologists work mainly at zoos, they are also employed by animal rights organizations, research laboratories and the government. Marine biologists are underwater zoologists. They work in aquariums, research settings, fisheries and museums. Both zoologists and marine biologists have to complete a rigorous course of study in college and typically earn master's degrees. Their median salary is roughly $57,430 and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts only a seven percent growth rate through 2020.
If you always wanted to be a counselor but just didn’t want to hear people complain on a daily basis, then perhaps animal therapy is for you. Animal therapists must listen and pay attention to an animal’s behavior for clues as to what may be bothering them. Therapists work on soothing animals and helping them overcome anxiety. Therapists can also be used to help modify an animal’s behavior. The training for animal therapy is not always orthodox. A few schools offer equine therapy classes but most training comes from being a veterinary assistant, dog walker, animal groomer and other jobs that give you experience working with animals.
Animal attorneys fight for animal rights, often against companies accused of engaging in cruelty. Animal lawyers also represent organizations that crusade for animal rights, such as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), the ASPCA and the Humane Society. Animal law is a separate field in the legal world and law schools have special sections for those wishing to enter animal law.
2016 Salary Information for Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists
Zoologists and wildlife biologists earned a median annual salary of $60,520 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, zoologists and wildlife biologists earned a 25th percentile salary of $48,360, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $76,320, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 19,400 people were employed in the U.S. as zoologists and wildlife biologists.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists
- ASPCA: Animal Careers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics:Veterinarian
- Natural Healers: Animal Physical Therapy Schools and Training
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists
- Career Trend: Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists
- Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images