The Best College Majors and Careers for Animal Lovers

Ginger Abbot

Jun 19, 2020
best careers for animal lovers

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Are you looking for careers for animal lovers?

As someone who enjoys pets, wildlife and animals of any kind, becoming a veterinarian seems like the perfect career choice — but when the time comes to actually pick your major and career path, you might not be sure about the lengthy school commitment it requires.

If you’ve realized that vet school isn’t what you want, it doesn’t mean you can’t take care of your favorite furry friends and critters every day. There are so many jobs with animals that aren’t vets, but if becoming a veterinarian is still your dream, you can make that happen, too.

Finding a career where you work with animals is all about determining your strengths, interests and priorities. If you want to find jobs that work with animals, here are a few of the top options:

1. Veterinarian

To become a veterinarian, you need to go to vet school, which involves getting a bachelor’s degree first, then moving on to your graduate studies and getting licensed. Those in the industry admit that it’s hard work, but it’s also quite rewarding. If you have a knack for science and you’re academically minded, becoming a vet might be your path. It’s also one of the highest-paying animal careers, so that’s something to keep in mind.

College majors that can help get you there include:

  • Biology
  • Animal sciences
  • Animal biology
  • Biochemistry
highest paying animal careers

2. Vet Tech

If the veterinarian environment sounds like your ideal workplace but you don’t want to put in so many years of school, becoming a vet tech is just as promising of a career for animal lovers. They often do one-on-one work with the animals at their practice, from clipping nails to giving medication. Techs can even draw blood and assist in surgery.

To become a vet tech, you need at least an associate degree, which you can attain at many tech schools and community colleges. 

College majors that can help you get there include:

  • Veterinary technology
  • Animal sciences

3. Marine Biologist

If you’re particularly fascinated with sea life, marine biology could be a perfect career for an animal lover like you. Marine biologists study fish and other aquatic life, which could take you to all kinds of new and exciting places. While the minimum requirement for this job is a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree or doctoral degree can help you advance much further, especially if you’re interested in research or faculty positions.

jobs with animals that aren't vets

College majors that can help you get there include:

  • Marine biology
  • Biology
  • Animal sciences
  • Ecology
  • Zoology
  • Environmental sciences

4. Wildlife Rehabilitator

If you’re particularly interested in working closely with wild animals, you might just find your niche working in wildlife rehabilitation. If the idea of nurturing and nursing injured creatures back to health and setting them free sounds like a great day to you, you might make a great rehabilitator. 

Although there is no formal education requirement for those pursuing wildlife rehabilitation, a bachelor’s degree can help you gain the knowledge and skills you need to pass the necessary certifications and exams.

College majors than can help you get there include:

  • Biology
  • Animal sciences
  • Animal biology

5. Park Ranger

Park rangers help protect animals and wildlife in a bit of a more abstract sense, as the job is heavily based on care and conservation. If your love of animals goes hand-in-hand with your enjoyment of the outdoors, this job may suit you especially well. Park rangers spend their days outside, coexisting with nature and wildlife as they work to protect the parks around them.

While park rangers are technically criminal justice professionals, the job requirements include a bachelor’s degree in natural science, among other training specifications. 

College majors that can help you get there include:

  • Forestry
  • Park management
  • Environmental science
  • Biology
  • Botany 
  • Zoology
  • Geology

6. Animal Shelter Manager

work with animals

If you’ve ever volunteered at a shelter and wanted to make a career of helping rescues find their forever homes, you might make a great shelter manager. They handle all the responsibilities of running the facility properly and making sure the animals are properly taken care of.

While experience working with animals is a plus, shelter manager jobs usually require a bachelor’s degree. 

College majors that can help you get there include:

  • Animal sciences
  • Business administration

Careers for Animal Lovers

There are so many majors and careers out there for animal lovers. Whether you’re ready to devote years to vet school or would rather spend your time in the great outdoors, there’s something for everyone. You just have to decide where you’re headed. 

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