Whether you love dogs, horses or elephants there’s many career paths that will allow you to combine your interest in animals with international travel. Positions that require a love of animals while letting you travel around the world may see you working in zoos, at refugees, in remote wilderness or even an urban park.
Veterinarians and veterinary technicians can apply their skills and professional certifications to a variety of positions worldwide. Vets and techs may be trained to work with small animals or large ones. They’ll be in demand at zoos, kennels, farms, refuges, parks, laboratories and even movie sets with animal stars. During their career, their expertise may also see them invited on special projects, such as an animal rehabilitation program, field research, refuge work or even a sled dog race like the Iditarod.
Zoos exist around the world and offer a wide range of positions. Zoologists, zookeepers, animal nutritionists, veterinarians and lab technicians are just some of the careers that can be found at zoos. These positions involve the day-to-day care of the animals but if you don’t have the qualifications to land one of the jobs, zoos also hire a variety of other workers. Working as a zoo director, membership or communications coordinator or on a maintenance crew team will let you contribute to a zoo and the lives of its animals.
Animal trainers teach animals how to react to different stimuli. Trainers can work with entertainment facilities, law enforcement, search and rescue organizations and private pet owners. The skills are transferable worldwide -- working with everything from dogs and horses to tigers and whales, depending on your training and experience. Many trainers are also responsible for the care of the animals they train and develop a close personal relationship with them.
Many organizations exist to protect the welfare of animals. Some of these groups focus on endangered species while others work with household pets. Groups are distributed around the world and since many are international organizations, job opportunities overseas do exist. The positions are vast, including wildlife rehabilitation, animal welfare lawyers and kennel workers.
Conservation protects the natural resources and preserves habitats. Because animal habitats exist throughout the world, you may find yourself working in the Amazon, the Serengeti or even a local state park. Many conversation jobs are science based and include conservation scientists, biologists, zoologists and ecologists. But park and refuge workers can also fall into this category, including natural resources educators, forestry rangers and conservation officers.
Even if you don’t have a higher education focused on animals, you can still use your love of animals to travel overseas. Some basic training, general certifications and an entrepreneurial spirit will help you along the way. Options include being a dog walker or pet groomer, working a pet store or kennel, doing cleaning and maintenance job at a farm, animal refuge or rehabilitation center, training as a field guide, or becoming an animal therapist or behaviorist.
Based in Toronto, J.A. Zander has worked as a full-time journalist since 2004. Zander's work has appeared in Canadian and American magazines, newspapers and websites.