There’s just something about wet noses, whiskers, loving nudges, beak kisses, and scaly fins that makes us smile. Many animal lovers decide to relay their passion for animals into their career. For those working as animal advocates, animal welfare is an important part of their personal and professional lives. Fortunately, there are many ways to work with animals in a professional setting. The traditional careers associated with animals are veterinarians, animal breeders, or zoologists but some of us seek a more unique career path to link our desire to help animals with our job. For people like us, there are a few ways to work with animals and find your purpose in life without following the more common career tracks.
See Also: 5 Jobs for Animals Lovers
1. Animal Trainer
Animal trainers work with dogs, horses, dolphins, seals, elephants, any many other animals. Some animal trainers train seeing eye dogs, some break horses, and some teach dolphins tricks. This career requires you to be aware of animal behavior and understand the inner workings of an animal’s mind. To be a trainer, you must have physical stamina, problem solving skills, patience, and the ability to turn playtime into training time [302 from http://www.havahartwireless.com/blog/how-to-turn-playtime-into-training-time.php] for the animal. Animal trainers dive into the animal’s psyche to understand their way of thinking in order to evolve and adapt training methods to cater to each individual animal. Many animal trainers don’t have a degree, but some do have bachelor’s degrees in related fields to get a leg up on the competition. This job is one filled with successes and a feeling of gratification watching animals respond and learn from you. Many intelligent, working animals do best in training situations and love learning new things and much like humans, they love having a job to do. As an animal trainer not only are you training an animal and helping them become more resourceful, fulfilled, and happy, but you are also helping the people that are benefiting from the skills you are teaching the animal. This career path is extremely versatile and offers a ton of positive animal interaction.
2. Wildlife Rehabilitator
Working as a wildlife rehabilitator is a great way to connect with wild animals that need to be treated, cared for, and released back into the wild. Many animals that a wildlife rehabilitator will work with will be injured, orphaned, or displaced. The ultimate result for those in the field is to see the animal that is cared for released back into the wild. However, some animals are unable to be returned to their natural habitat and are used for educational programs and raising awareness.
Working as a wildlife rehabilitator is a demanding job that doesn’t follow traditional hours and tends to be on a non-profit basis, which means it won’t make you rich. But, it is a rewarding job that will have your animal welfare passions feeling fulfilled. It will give you the opportunity to work with a wide variety of animals and to concentrate on their wellbeing on a daily basis. Receiving an injured animal, providing medical treatment, helping it rehabilitate, and releasing it back into its environment is an incredibly gratifying and positive experience for those looking to work with animals and their welfare.
For those that are passionate about animals with gills, fins, and scales, working as an aquarist is perfect. An aquarist handles all animal life in an aquarium. They are responsible for tending to the animals and ensuring they are fed and receiving all of the care necessary to allow them to thrive in their environment. They clean tanks, have strong knowledge of marine life, and are even responsible for the life of the plants living in their aquarium. This position requires a little more schooling than the other options as the variety of animals to care for and level of responsibility requires a more educated handler.
Aquarists spend most of their time directly involved with the animals which is great. For those who enjoy observing fish, learning about marine mammals, and believe that not all cute animals are furry and live on land, this job is great. Aquarists are responsible for everything in their aquarium; this allows you to have interactions with a wide variety of marine life including corals, sea lions, birds, reptiles, crustaceans, and a seemingly limitless number of fish.
4. Animal Welfare Lawyer
Overall, animal welfare lawyers don’t spend a lot of time in direct contact with the animals they are helping, but the impact that an animal welfare lawyer can have on the animal population is overwhelming. Animal lawyers are responsible for legal cases involving animal cruelty, veterinary malpractice, pet custody, and other cases relating to animal welfare. Because of this, the job can take an emotional toll on you. Fortunately, the work of an animal welfare lawyer is one filled with purpose as they are lucky enough to possess the ability to improve the lives of many animals.
Animal lawyers can work with a variety of different clients and can take their animal law degree to a few different career options depending on their passions and qualifications. Some schools even offer courses specific to animal law making it easier than ever to specialize in law that will help the animals you are passionate about. Animal welfare lawyers have the ability to help with lawsuits and their relation to animals, while they can also aid in animal cruelty and protection laws going into effect in their area. So, although this job doesn’t have a lot of on-hand contact with animals, it enables you to change the lives of animals in a very profound way.
5. Animal Control Officer
This career path is not for the faint of heart. Animal control officers are on the front lines of animal abuse, neglect, and injury. They deal with domesticated animals as well as wildlife. They pick up stray animals, handle calls for dog bites, and take care of dangerous animals. They enforce animal licensing and humane care regulations. This can be an extremely difficult job emotionally since all of the cases handled by animal control officers are ones that leave an animal compromised somehow. This job also requires a lot of long hours, being on call, and non-traditional shifts.
Despite the hard situations that animal control officers find themselves in, it is an extremely important job that saves many lives that wouldn’t have been saved otherwise. Animals are found and returned to owners, rushed to medical attention, and adopted into loving families because of the work done by passionate animal control officers. For those that can emotionally handle the hard circumstances surrounding the job, the positive work done can outweigh the negatives associated with a career in the animal control field.
See Also: Realities of Working With Wild Animals
Some of us have the need to work around animals, help animals, and involve animals in our professional lives. All these professions offer different opportunities that allow people interested in animals to become advocates for their wellbeing. It goes without saying that all careers related to animal welfare, such as vets for example, are just as important. However if you are interested in doing something a little bit different and you’d like to channel your passion for animals then the jobs listed above might be just right for you.