Do you love animals? Would you like to have a career working with animals, but don’t know what types of jobs are available? Here is a list of jobs that would allow you to work with animals, while still making a living:
Vet/Veterinary Technician: The most obvious animal-friendly career is to be a veterinarian, which is a great way to work with and help lots of animals. However, becoming a vet requires at least six years of university, and admission is competitive. An alternative career could be a job as a veterinary technician. Veterinary technicians work under the supervision of veterinarians, and take care of many of the animals’ medical needs. The duties of a veterinary technician include: sample collection, physical therapy, bandage application, nutritional management, and administering medication. To become a veterinary technician in Ontario, you must graduate from a recognized veterinary technician program, which is a two year, college level program. In addition, you must also pass the veterinary technician exam. Veterinary technicians need to be strong in math and science.
Groomer: While pet grooming is currently unregulated, getting some training would make you more marketable, and it would be safer for both you and the animals. To be a groomer, you need to be able to quickly develop a good rapport with both the owners and the animals. You need to be able to handle many different animals with varied temperaments, and you must have an understanding of proper sanitary practices. In addition to specific grooming businesses, you may also be able to find grooming jobs at veterinary offices and pet stores.
Kennel Attendant: Kennel attendants take care of the animals’ physical needs. They give the animals food and water, clean the cages, sometimes groom the animals and may even administer some basic medication. While there is no specific training or educational requirement to become a kennel attendant, you do need to love animals and be comfortable working with them. Kennel attendants can work at shelters, kennels, or veterinary offices.
Wildlife Rehabilitator: When animals in the wild become sick, injured or orphaned, they need our help. For example, wildlife rehabilitators know how to handle public inquiries, assess the injuries of the animal, properly identify species, safely capture and transport animals, and to safely restrain the animals. In Ontario, you can take training to become a Provincial Wildlife Custodian. However, since the availability of positions available will depend on your region, it is recommended that you research the labour market demand before taking this training.
Dog Walker/Pet Visitor: To get a dog walking or pet visiting position, you will have to be bondable, have experience working with animals, and show that you are capable of handling big dogs. It is also important that you have strong interpersonal and communication skills, and that you are able to work well with the animals’ owners. If you are thinking about starting your own dog walking business, do your research to determine whether or not you will require insurance, a permit, and if you need to get bonded.
Stable Worker: If you enjoy working with horses, there are jobs available working in stables. Most stables look for help with feeding, turning out the stables, mucking, grooming, and riding. Since most stables will require some experience, you may want to get started on a volunteer basis.
Animal Protection Officer: Animal Protection Officers typically work for Humane Societies or the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The officers investigate complaints of animal cruelty and neglect, and resolve the complaints through education or enforcement. Previous experience in security, investigation or enforcement is considered an asset for this position, and a valid driver’s license is a requirement. Officers must have a general knowledge of animal anatomy, physiology, behaviour, nutrition, and diseases. In addition, officers must have strong communication and interpersonal skills.
While this is not an exhaustive list of all animal-related jobs, it gives an indication of the wide variety of positions that are available. With animal-related jobs, experience and your ability to handle the animals is essential. Even if you have to start out by volunteering, if you genuinely like the animals, you will quickly develop the skills that you need to get a paid position.
(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo From: Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net)