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Animal Lovers
19 Jobs That Are Purr-fect For Animal Lovers
Adobe Stock / LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS
Lauren McEwen
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Partnerships strategist & writer
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Most people are advised to do what they love. If you love kids, maybe consider working in education and childcare. Love computers? You’re in luck, because coders are in high demand at the moment.

 But what kinds of positions might you look into if you're a major animal lover? Here’s a list of jobs that allow you to work with furry, feathered, or scaly friends (plus salary information and education requirements from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and PayScale).

1. Veterinarian

 This is probably the most popular profession suggested for animal lovers. This career path requires more formal training than some of the other options on this list (studying veterinary medicine, becoming licensed, getting your certification in a specialty, etc.) but it is definitely something you might want to consider. 

Average Salary: $88,490

Education Requirements: four-year Doctor of Medicine (DVM) program, in addition to undergraduate school

2. Animal shelter or pet adoption agency staff 

A job in animal adoption requires caring for the animals while they are in the facility: grooming, feeding, playing with them, making sure they get some exercise and cleaning their cages. It also means caring for animals who have been abused or abandoned, carefully observing the animals to check to make sure they haven’t been hurt or fallen ill, occasionally physically moving or restraining animals, and in some cases, being there while animals are euthanized. Pet adoption workers also have to help screen potential owners to make sure the animals are placed in the best possible homes. 

Average Salary: $35,484

Education Requirements: None

3. Animal blogger

If you love both animals and writing, this might be a good idea for you. It’s probably safe to say that Animals Being Cute is a popular niche, but this job could involve more than just scouring the Internet for squee-worthy content of animals being cute, cuddly, or highly intelligent. It also might mean covering weird animal news, reporting interesting, new findings by veterinarians and zoologists, or providing tips for pet owners.

Average Salary: Varies on readership and ad revenue, among other factors

Education Requirements: None

4. Pet Sitter

Did you know that you could actually get paid to play with someone else’s pets? Pet sitters can either work with an agency, work in a pet daycare, or try to grow their own freelance pet sitting businesses via a site like Care.com or DogVacay. Working at a pet daycare is generally pretty straightforward: pet owners who are going to be away for a long time may drop their pets off for the day or to board with the facility for longer. Others might want you to just pop by their house while they are out of town to feed their pets, take them outside for a walk, change litter boxes, give baths, etc. 

Average Salary: $19,780 

Education Requirements: None

5. Pet Groomer 

Groomers don’t simply give animals a shampoo and a trim (although trims are very important for dogs, in particular, because painful foreign objects like twigs can get lodged in an overgrown coat). They also examine their clients’ pets for any signs of pests or illness and provide the necessary care that helps healthy animals remain that way: teeth brushing, ear cleaning, nail trimming, etc. Although these are all things that a pet owner could feasibly do themselves, it can be difficult to trim your pet’s nails safely, without cutting them down too far and causing the animal to bleed, so pet groomers remain in demand.

Average Salary: $11 to $25 an hour

Education Requirements: None

6. Dog Walker

Dog walkers get to spend their days walking other people's dogs on their own hours. You can sign up to walk dogs with apps like Wag!

Average Salary: $13.27 per hour

Education Requirements: None

7. Seeing-Eye Dog Trainer

Seeing-Eye Dog Trainers usually start their careers with apprenticeships at guide-dog schools, where they might are paid around $15 an hour, according to U.S. Department of Labor. When they become trainers, they spend significantly more one-to-one time with dogs.

Average Salary: $25,770

Education Requirements: Apprenticeships

8. Marine Biologist

Marine biologists spend a lot of time scuba diving with sea animals, as well as studying other parts of the ocean. Their median pay increases with education.

Average Salary: $44,311

Education Requirements: at least a Bachelor's degree

9. Zoologist

Zoologists work with animals who live in controlled environments such as zoos. Zoologists with bachelor’s degrees earn around $45,460, while those with doctoral degrees start out in the $57,000-to-$74,000 range, according to Chron.

Average Salary: $58,270

Education Requirements: a Bachelor's degree in zoology, animal ecology, animal behavior or conservation

10. Veterinary Acupuncturist

Veterinary acupuncturists are veterinarians who also use acupuncture in their practices. It's a highly specialized field.

Average Salary: $80,000

Education Requirements: must be a licensed veterinarian with extensive training related to animal muscle physiology, anatomy and acupuncture techniques

11. Animal Cruelty Investigator

Animal cruelty investigators look out for animals' best interests by investigating crimes against animals. O*NET OnLine lists $32,020 as a starting salary for an animal cruelty investigator.

Average Salary: $37,580

Education Requirements: preferably college-level coursework in criminal justice or animal science

12. Dog or Cat Breeder

Breeders can spend time with puppies and kittens while managing their breeding business and maintaining genetic standards. If they love specific breeds, they can focus on those breeds.

Average Salary: $40,000

Education Requirements: None

13. Animal Nutritionist

Animal nutritionists handle the best nutritional diets for different animals. They may work with families to help ensure the health of their pets, for example.

Average Salary: $60,390

Education Requirements: undergraduate degree

14. Veterinary Assistant

Veterinary Assistants assist vets in caring for animals of all kinds. They usually get their jobs from experience working in vet offices.

Average Salary: $23,790

Education Requirements: a degree or certificate program may accompany on-the-job training

15. Scuba Diving Instructor

Scuba Divers get to take both new and experienced divers underwater to explore the depths of the ocean. Many of them work as freelance dive instructors or with companies.

Average Salary: $35,000

Education Requirements: Certification

16. Wildlife Rehabilitator

Wildlife rehabilitators work to clean up wild environments (such as after oil spills and natural disasters) to ensure that animals are safe. This job is especially important as climate change intensifies.

Average Salary: $23,630

Education Requirements: preferably a college degree in biology or ecology

17. Zoo Veterinarian

A zoo veterinarian is a vet who works specifically with zoo animals. Zoo vets can earn good money, but they do have to go to school for quite some time.

Average Salary: $94,733

Education Requirements: a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree

18. House Sitter

While house sitters don't specifically care for pets, many house sitters may be tasked with taking on petcare duties. And you can use sites TrustedHouseSitters.com to look for homes with pets.

Average Salary: $35/day

Education Requirements: Noe

19. Animal Shelter Manager

An animal shelter manager is in charge of running the whole animal shelter. This means that they'll have to spend tons of time at the shelter with all of the animals for which the shelter cares.

Average Salary: $55,000

Education Requirements: preferably a Bachelor's degree

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Lauren McEwen is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and social media manager for "Hermione Granger and the Quarter Life Crisis." 

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