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So, you have your heart set on working with animals! Although many jobs require previous experience, there are several careers you can jump into without ever having worked in the field. Some of them require a degree and some are open to anyone. Do any of the following jobs sound appealing?
- Animal Shelter Worker
The easiest way to get a job at an animal shelter is to volunteer for them first. You can walk dogs, clean kennels, or help with laundry and routine maintenance. However, humane societies often hire people with no experience or degree.
As long as you’re passionate about the job and don’t mind a little mud, water, or drool on your clothes, this is a fantastic way to start working with animals. You’ll be making a real difference!
- Ranch Hand
Picture this: You wake up at the break of dawn, eat a hot breakfast, and head outside to milk cows. You’ll also be doing hard work like digging post holes and shoveling hay, but you’ll get plenty of hands-on experience with livestock in the process.
Unlike a farm, which is a property where people grow crops, a ranch is dedicated to raising animals for meat, dairy, wool, and other products. Many of these operations hire people simply based on their physical abilities and strong work ethic. Having some experience with livestock is a plus, but a willingness to start early and stay late if an emergency arises (such as an animal giving birth) is the main quality ranchers are looking for.
- Pet Sitter
Do you love walking dogs and cuddling cats? Are you comfortable feeding, grooming, and administering medications to someone else’s animals? If so, being a pet sitter may be a great job for you.
While this can be a standalone career, it’s ideal if you’re still going to school or working a second job due to its irregular schedule. Most clients need pet sitting if they leave town, become ill, or simply have a busy life.
If you happen to live near a national park, you’ll have a huge customer base. Park visitors often bring their animals on vacation with them, but pets are prohibited on many trails and visitor centers, so they have to be left behind. You can board animals in your home or stay with them at whatever hotel, cabin, or bed-and-and-breakfast their owners have booked.
- Fish Hatchery Technician
A hatchery is where many fish and shellfish start their lives before going to a fish farm or being released into the wild. As a technician, you’ll monitor fish breeding, check the pH of tanks, and feed newly hatched fry.
Competition for entry-level wildlife careers can be fierce, but keep applying! Hatcheries sometimes hire technicians who just have a bachelor’s degree. Of course, it also helps if you don’t mind the smell of fish!
- Veterinary Technician
If you’re eager to care for sick or injured animals, one way to help is by working at a vet clinic. Clinics often need someone to clean kennels, hold animals still while they receive treatment, answer phones, and carry out building maintenance. This is a fantastic way to gain experience if you’re on track to attend veterinary school.
- Grooming Assistant
Prepare to get covered in hair! As a grooming assistant, you’ll perform an essential part of pet health care. You might bathe animals, cut nails, check clients in at the front desk, and more. In the process, you’ll gain valuable experience that can lead to a career as a groomer.
For example, you’ll discover that, depending on their hair type, you have to groom dogs with completely different tools. Most importantly, you’ll learn how much more a Saint Bernard weighs when he’s trying to jump out of a tub!
- Animal Control Officer
Talk about a tough but rewarding job. Some of your duties as an animal control officer may include:
- Catching loose animals: You might have to chase down pets that slipped their leash, horses that jumped the fence, stray dogs, and feral cats.
- Responding to complaints: You’ll have to let people know that their neighbors aren’t, in fact, happy to hear a chorus of barking at 3 in the morning.
- Removing pests: You’ll be the first to know if a skunk has cozied up in someone’s shed or a rattlesnake is living under the park pavilion. It’s your job to relocate animals that end up where they don’t belong.
While a high school diploma is usually required for this job, personal animal handling skills can sometimes substitute for professional experience.
Looking for Jobs Working With Animals, No Experience Needed?
You don’t need a degree or experience to work with animals. If you apply for entry-level positions or start your own business, many careers are open to you!