Choosing the right career can seem like a monumental decision. Finding a career that is interesting, fulfilling and personally rewarding can be an important part of one’s overall happiness in life. Those who have a love for animals often try to find a career that fulfills the desire to work with them and improve their quality of life. While the desire to become a veterinarian often comes to mind first, there is actually a vast array of animal-related careers that one can choose from. Reviewing some of these careers and their educational requirements may be helpful in finding the perfect job for an animal lover.
Within the veterinary sciences are a variety of careers in addition to becoming a veterinarian. While becoming a veterinarian is an extremely rewarding career, it does require a significant amount of education. After four years of college, focusing on courses like biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, an individual then needs to complete a 4-year program in a veterinary school. Competition is highly competitive for acceptance into these schools. Of all the careers involving animals, becoming a veterinarian requires the most education.
Still within the veterinary sciences, a career that requires less formal education is a veterinarian technician. A vet tech assists a veterinarian in many ways. They will help a veterinarian take care of animal patients in a variety of settings. It may be assisting a veterinarian who works in an animal shelter, animal hospital, a zoo, or even a farm or ranch. To become a vet tech, an individual needs to complete a Vet Tech Program (usually obtaining an associates degree) and pass a state certification exam.
In addition to careers in veterinary medicine, there are also many careers involving animals that require much less specialized training. Many animal-related jobs involve “on-the-job” training –working and learning from others who have valuable job experience. Animal attendants, kennel workers, pet groomers, and animal trainers are all jobs that are typically taught through on-the-job training or through an apprenticeship. Many such jobs can be found on either a part-time or full-time basis. Potential employers for these positions include kennel companies, grooming businesses, pet stores, stables, animal hospitals, and animal shelters. One of the best ways to enter into any of these careers is to start with volunteering.
Volunteering can be the best way to try out a new job while providing a much-needed service to the animal community. Exploring a variety of animal-related jobs is extremely important when trying to decide which career path to pursue. Gaining experience in a variety of animal settings will be beneficial in determining one’s ultimate job choice. For more information on volunteer opportunities and potential job opportunities, contact one of the many animal organizations in your area. Volunteering not only provides a meaningful, valuable experience to the potential job-seeker, but also provides a much-needed service to animals in need.