15 Jobs Involving Animals That Pay Well

Last updated: July 14, 2024
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Eleana Bowman
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15 Jobs Involving Animals That Pay Well
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Are you an animal lover looking to turn your passion into a high-paying job?

Working with animals can be a rewarding career path. While veterinary medicine is an obvious path toward working with animals, many other high-paying animal jobs exist.

You could find yourself taking care of animals in a zoo, grooming dogs and cats at a pet salon, or even working underwater as a marine biologist! Let’s take a look at the benefits of working with animals and some of the most lucrative animal-related jobs.

Why you should consider working with animals

If you’re considering a career working with animals, you’re likely already aware of the many benefits of such a job.

It can be a highly rewarding career, as you’re actively making a difference in the lives of animals.

As a veterinarian, you’ll be helping animals get better after illness and injury. And as a pet groomer, you're able to improve the quality of life of pets everywhere.

There are high-paying jobs for everyone, with requirements ranging from a high school diploma to a Ph.D. And while the pay does differ, there are jobs you could pursue regardless of your skill level.

Qualities you need to land a job working with animals

Fortunately, there isn't a shortage of jobs for animal lovers. However, jobs involving animals require you to have some unique qualities since you'll be working with living creatures. Here are some qualities you need to land a job working with animals.

  • Patience: Working with animals requires a lot of patience, especially if you're working with scared or injured animals.

  • Empathy: It's essential to be able to empathize with animals and understand their needs. For example, if you work as a vet, you need to be able to understand an animal's pain and what it might be feeling.

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  • Physical Strength: Many jobs involving animals require physical strength, so you must be able to lift heavy animals and restrain them if necessary.

  • Knowledgeable: Working with animals requires you to know about their care and handling. You can land high-paying animal jobs without a degree, but while a college education is not necessary, some informal animal science education is recommended.

  • Passionate: You need to be passionate about working with animals to excel in this career field. When you come to work, you should have a positive attitude and be ready to work hard.

15 jobs working with animals

Here are 15 of the highest-paying jobs that will get you working with animals:

1. Veterinarian

A veterinarian is probably the first animal job that comes to mind, and it can be quite a lucrative career. The national average salary of a veterinarian is $88,898 per year.

Becoming a veterinarian involves extensive schooling, requiring a bachelor’s degree and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. It’s a highly competitive program with clinical, lab, and classroom components that teach you about animal health.

Since it's one of the few high-paying jobs with animals, you need to put in the extra time to ensure you get top grades. A panel of professionals will review your academic performance and decide if you’re suited for the program.

Find veterinarian jobs on Jobcase.

2. Veterinary assistant

A veterinary assistant works at a veterinary clinic alongside a veterinarian. They help the vet with routine animal care. Vet assistants do things like feed and bathe the animals, clean animal cages and examination rooms, and monitor animals after surgery.

The national average salary of a veterinary assistant is $30,128 per year.

There are no strict education requirements to become a veterinary assistant. Most have a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training.

Find veterinary assistant jobs on Jobcase.

3. Veterinary technician

Veterinary technicians are supervised by veterinarians and assist with the treatment of animals.

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They do things like administer anesthesia, take x-rays, collect samples, and administer medications and vaccines. They’ll also correspond with pet owners.

The national average salary of a veterinary technician is $38,920 per year.

It’s an excellent path to get you working in animal medicine quickly. Veterinary technicians and technologists have either a bachelor’s or an associate degree. In most states, an aspiring vet technician must pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination.

Find veterinary technician jobs on Jobcase.

4. Zookeeper

A zookeeper is responsible for attending to the animals in their care. This involves feeding and bathing animals, cleaning and maintaining their enclosures, and monitoring their health.

They may also be responsible for handling animals during public-facing educational show-and-tell events.

A zookeeper's work can be physically demanding and dirty, and they must be comfortable working with a variety of animals.

The national average salary of a zookeeper is $28,600.

Zoos traditionally require their zookeepers to have a degree in biology, animal science, or a related field. However, depending on your location, you may be able to find opportunities without a degree.

Find zookeeper jobs on Jobcase.

5. Animal shelter attendant

An animal shelter attendant works in an animal shelter, taking care of the animals at the facility. This involves feeding them, keeping their enclosures tidy, letting them exercise, and facilitating adoptions.

The national average salary of an animal shelter attendant is $28,730 per year.

Most attendants have a high school diploma or GED, and many positions hire workers with no experience. It’s a great opportunity to begin your animal career.

Find animal shelter attendant jobs on Jobcase.

6. Animal trainer

An animal trainer has extensive experience working with animals, with some positions requiring a bachelor’s degree or vocational training.

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For example, if you want to train marine animals, a degree in marine biology or animal sciences is beneficial.

The national average salary of an animal trainer is $29,890 per year.

Most individuals become dog trainers, providing obedience and behavioral training. Some trainers teach companion animals to guide people with disabilities, while others train large animals like horses.

Find animal care technician jobs on Jobcase.

7. Animal control officer

Animal control workers are hired by cities, counties, and states to enforce local laws regarding animals. This involves responding to calls regarding stray animals, looking into animal cruelty or neglect cases, and capturing or rescuing wild animals.

The national average salary of an animal control officer is $42,620 per year.

The following industries have the highest employment levels for animal control workers.

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Some jobs require just a high-school diploma, while others only hire candidates with a bachelor’s degree. Like many of the jobs on this list, it depends on the specific position.

Find animal control officer jobs on Jobcase.

8. Pet groomer

A pet groomer specializes in maintaining an animal's appearance. Beyond that, they improve the quality of life of dogs and cats by keeping them clean.

You’ll find groomers working in pet stores, mobile grooming stations, kennels, and grooming salons. Some specialize in styling dogs for trade shows, while others perform general maintenance.

The national average salary of a pet groomer is $36,203.

Most pet groomers are trained on the job. Many opportunities are available to those with little work experience.

Find pet groomer jobs on Jobcase.

9. Wildlife biologist

Unlike many of the jobs on this list, zoologists and wildlife biologists work with wildlife instead of pets. They study animal behaviors and how they interact with their ecosystems. Nevertheless, it’s one of the most rewarding jobs for animal lovers.

A wildlife biologist could look at how humans impact wildlife and their natural habitats, perform studies, and write a report on how to solve any problems. This job is really focused on protecting wildlife on a larger scale.

The national average salary of a wildlife biologist is $50,464 per year.

You can advance your career to earn a higher salary and hold more esteemed positions.

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To become a wildlife biologist, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree at the very least. However, most people in this position have a master’s degree or Ph.D.

10. Animal-assisted therapist

Animal-assisted therapy is becoming increasingly common as a way to help people cope with a variety of mental and physical health conditions.

The therapist uses interaction with an animal to help the patient improve their social, emotional, or cognitive functioning. Animal-assisted therapy has been shown to be particularly effective in treating conditions like anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

The national average salary of an animal-assisted therapist is $48,000 per year.

As an animal-assisted therapist, you must have strong communication and interpersonal skills. You must also be able to work with various animals, as each patient will have different needs.

As for the educational background, most animal-assisted therapists have a degree in psychology, counseling, or social work. In addition, some therapists may have certification in animal-assisted therapy.

11. Conservation officer

A conservation officer works to protect and conserve natural resources. They may work for a state or federal agency or a non-profit organization.

Many conservation officers have a background in law enforcement, but others come from a variety of backgrounds, including forestry, biology, and environmental science.

The national average salary of a conservation officer is $44,667 per year.

However, experienced professionals can make 35% more than the national average.

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The duties of a conservation officer vary depending on their employer but typically include enforcing laws and regulations, conducting investigations, giving presentations, and leading or participating in educational programs.

12. Animal scientist

When it comes to careers with animals, there are many options to choose from. One option is to become an animal scientist.

Animal scientists typically work in agricultural or veterinary settings, researching ways to improve the health and productivity of livestock.

They may also work in zoos or wildlife parks, studying the behavior of animals in captivity.

The national average salary of an animal scientist is $67,407 per year.

Some animal scientists may also work in laboratories, researching at the genetic or cellular level. As an animal scientist, you can research animal nutrition, animal reproduction, and animal genetics.

For example, you might study how to improve the quality of milk produced by cows or increase the number of eggs laid by chickens.

13. Animal nutritionist

An animal nutritionist studies the diet and nutritional needs of animals. Most animal nutritionists work in agriculture, helping farmers choose suitable feed for their livestock.

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The national average salary of an animal nutritionist is $71,788 per year.

You need a degree in animal science or a related field to become an animal nutritionist. Once you're certified, you can work in various settings, including farms, zoos, veterinary practices, and laboratories.

Moreover, you can also choose to specialize in a certain area of animal nutrition, such as dairy or livestock.

14. Pet adoption counselor

Our careers with animals list wouldn't be complete without mentioning pet adoption counselors. Pet adoption counselors work with animal shelters and rescue organizations to help place pets in appropriate homes.

Nowadays, many animal shelters require potential pet owners to undergo an adoption counseling session before they're allowed to take an animal home.

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The national average salary for a pet adoption specialist is $24,516 per year.

As a pet adoption counselor, you'll interview potential adopters to learn about their lifestyles and what type of pet would be a good match for them. You'll also educate adopters about pet care and help them prepare for the responsibility of owning a pet.

15. Breeder

Breeders work with various animals, such as dogs, cats, horses, and birds, to produce offspring with desired traits. It's one of the few animal careers that pay well since you can sell the animals you breed.

The national average salary of an animal breeder is $37,500 per year.

Some requirements to become a reputable breeder can include completing a bachelor's degree in animal science or a related field and obtaining a license from the government.

You should also have experience working with the animal you want to breed. For example, if you want to breed horses, you should have experience working with horses.

Land a lucrative animal job today

There are hundreds of jobs with animals that are rewarding and pay well. Whether you’re interested in working with animals with no experience or have ample experience working with a certain animal, there’s a job out there for you.

There are animal jobs for everyone, although they differ in pay depending on the amount of schooling you do. For example, a marine biologist will be paid substantially more than a dog walker. But then again, there are some high-paying animal jobs without a degree, such as a breeder.

However, if working with animals is your dream, you should have no trouble finding a job with a respectable annual salary. Start your job hunt on Jobcase today to find animal careers that pay well and kickstart your careers with animals.



Christina Fitzgerald
Bullet point
Retail Sales Associate at Badcock Home Furniture

None of these jobs are “well paying.”

Juliet Kobusinge
Bullet point

I want to get hired to work with animals but am in uganda.do I qualify

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