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If you adore all things animals, your mind might gravitate toward veterinary medicine when you contemplate your college major. However, you might not need to take pre-med courses if you think of unusual jobs with animals.
What can you do for a living if you enjoy working with the fur and fin set if the thought of performing canine surgery leaves you queasy? Here are eight unusual jobs with animals that let you go wild in your chosen career.
1. Guide Dog Trainer
Our canine companions have long helped those with visual impairments safely navigate their world. However, Fido isn’t born knowing how to walk on a lead or follow commands. Training dogs to work with this population takes considerable patience and a healthy sense of humor.
It takes anywhere from five to eight months for a future guide dog to complete its training. You won’t work one-on-one with the canines, though. This process requires working with both the pup and the human handler. You’ll teach the 2-legged mammal how to give consistent firm commands while training the dog when to ignore them to keep their person out of harm’s way.
Do you love the aquatic life, perhaps wishing you had been born with gills instead of lungs? If so, maybe a career as an aquarist is your calling. These professionals oversee the care of animals in various indoor facilities, like aquariums. They also go diving in the field to conduct research and collect new specimens.
You’ll need a bachelor’s degree with a major in marine biology, zoology or a closely related field — talk to your advisor. You’ll also need to learn to scuba dive, which many students enjoy. You can acquire this skill while still enrolled and achieve your certification, which alone opens career opportunities.
3. Wildlife Rehabilitator
Are you the kind of person who stops to help a turtle cross the road? If so, you might make an ideal wildlife rehabilitator.
Wildlife rehabilitators work with animals that have been displaced or injured, often due to natural disasters. Think of those overseeing cleanup operations after oil spills and preparing birds with broken wings for re-release into the wild. This field might suit you if you also adore travel — various environmental organizations may have you going to different regions of the nation when trouble strikes.
4. Snake Venom Milker
If slithery snakes make you say “ooh,” not scream “aaah,” then you could bring home your bacon as a venom milker. These individuals extract the toxic excretions from venomous snakes to create the antivenoms used in the laboratory and hospitals.
Snake venom plays a role in saving lives, too. It’s used to create medications that treat blood clots, high blood pressure and heart attacks. You need a steady and gentle hand, as a bite can prove fatal, making this an approved career for adrenaline junkies.
5. Animal Nutritionist
You’ve seen the pet food commercials analyzing the relative merits of various chow. Who decides what constitutes a balanced diet for your hound? An animal nutritionist.
This career isn’t for those who dislike higher education. You’ll need considerable knowledge of both nutrition and animal physiology, often requiring a doctorate.
6. Zoo Interpreter
What is a zoo interpreter? If this attraction was your favorite one to visit as a child, you could transform your passion into a career. These individuals present educational information to visitors, informing them about various animals and their habitats.
Unlike many other careers on this list, a bachelor’s degree isn’t necessarily a requirement. Another path is to get your foot in the door as a member of the zoo crew in another capacity. Perform well and show acumen, and you may get promoted to this post.
7. Conservation Biologist
A conservation biologist studies the earth’s ecosystems to protect plant and animal species and habitats. In particular, they study extinction events to prevent future loss.
This job will likely take you from the office to the field. Some days, you’ll stay at the computer writing reports to various governmental agencies. On others, you might walk the field, observing the patterns of select critters.
8. Park Ranger
If you love nature, solitude and animals, a park ranger career might be perfect for you. These individuals often live where they work in travel trailers and have unfettered access to scenic trails well after the gates close to visitors.
This field typically requires an undergraduate degree in natural resource management or outdoor recreation experience. However, you can often find entry-level positions at gift shops and admissions offices with no more than a high school diploma.
Unusual Jobs With Animals
If you like the 4-legged critters of the world more than the 2-legged versions, why not transform your passion into your career? Consider one of these eight unusual jobs with animals.