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Do you prefer 4-legged critters to those who walk around on two? If so, a career in animal rescue might be your best bet for happiness and success on the job.
Fortunately, you have plenty of options. Some of these careers require extensive education and training, while others provide what you need on the job. Explore these 11 careers in animal rescue to find your perfect match.
Becoming a veterinarian requires a higher level of education than many other jobs on this list. However, it also offers superior flexibility regarding your post-graduation options. You can open an independent practice, sign on with an established one or take work at one of many shelters and rescues.
Your journey to veterinary school begins in undergrad. You’ll want to declare a biology major or a related discipline, like anatomy and physiology. Although you can technically apply to vet school without a bachelor’s degree, you’ll stand a much better chance of admittance with one. These programs are quite competitive due to demand.
2. Veterinary Technician
If a veterinarian is analogous to a human doctor, veterinary technicians are the nurses. These individuals wear many hats, doing everything that a veterinarian can do except for performing surgery, diagnosing patients and prescribing medications.
This route makes working hand-in-hand with a veterinarian possible without taking out tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Licensed veterinary technicians require an associate’s degree, a program that many individuals finish in two years, saving them considerable cash.
3. Animal Shelter Attendant
You can still enjoy a career in animal rescue even if you never attend college. One way to get your foot in the door is by becoming a shelter attendant.
These individuals take care of the animals in their charge, cleaning their cages, feeding them and monitoring conditions. Your typical workday might involve walking dogs and socializing cats, tasks many people find enjoyable.
4. Animal Adoption Counselor
Here’s another animal rescue career you can pursue without seeking extensive higher education. Animal adoption counselors help match prospective pet parents with the perfect pup or kitty for their unique family.
A typical day consists of filling out paperwork and performing background checks on prospective adopters. For example, part of your job entails ensuring renters have their landlord’s permission to bring home a pet. You’ll also counsel folks on caring for their new family member.
5. Marine Rescue Officer
If you live for the ocean, perhaps a career as a marine rescue officer will fulfill your passions. These individuals help in the rescue and rehabilitation of sick and injured animals. Your typical day might involve transporting a turtle entangled in plastic waste or getting a beached whale safely back into the sea.
This career requires a bachelor’s degree. Marine and wildlife biology are the ideal majors to pursue.
6. Wildlife Rehabilitator
Wildlife rehabilitators also help care for and treat sick and injured animals. Their work isn’t confined to marine life — they aid land-dwelling critters, too.
These individuals work directly with sick or injured animals to prepare them for release back into the wild. If you want to practice independently, you’ll need to acquire a federal and state permit, as the law prohibits unlicensed individuals from taking in sick or injured wildlife.
If you want work that gets you out in the field, zoologist might be the right job title for your career in animal rescue. These individuals study the way animals interact with their native ecosystem in the wild.
The reality of climate change puts this career in demand as scientists seek ways to preserve species displaced by global warming. You’ll need a bachelor’s degree to enter this field.
8. Park Ranger
Becoming a park ranger might suit you perfectly if you enjoy the great outdoors. Many such workers live in the facilities they oversee in RVs, getting you as close to nature as possible without pitching a tent.
The National Parks Service requires a bachelor’s degree. However, you can substitute an associate’s degree and two years of specialized experience at the GS-4 level if you already have a government job,
9. Conservation Biologist
Conservation biologists study the earth’s biodiversity to preserve as many plant and animal species as possible. This field is also in high demand due to the pressing reality of climate change.
This career choice also entails significant higher education. You’ll need to complete your doctoral studies if you hope to perform research.
10. Shelter Manager
Is your degree in business but your passion all things furry? If so, you could put your acumen to the test as a shelter manager.
These individuals oversee the daily operations of animal rescue shelters. Duties range from hiring staff to processing payroll, depending on the size of your organization. You’ll also need to analyze trends and determine how to best meet community needs.
11. Nonprofit Administration
A degree in nonprofit administration can also get you working with the fur-and-scales set. Most shelters operate on this basis. Your duties include needed fundraising to power your operations.
You might also spend time writing grant proposals. If you’re savvy at writing essays and want an unconventional way to enter an animal rescue career, consider this pathway.
Careers in Animal Rescue
If you prefer working with 4-legged critters, you have plenty of careers in animal rescue from which to choose. While you don’t need higher education to get your foot in the door, seeking a degree can open new doors. Explore the requirements for various positions and find the one ideally suited for you.