I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to do next and have realized that more than anything, I am interested in jobs working with animals. Animal cruelty breaks my heart and supporting the well-being of animals fulfills me. I have noticed that dog groomers and animal trainers are among the happiest people I know. I have no idea what their average salaries are, but there’s more to life than money. Animal caretakers are my kind of people and I want to figure out a way to be one. I wonder if you could give me some ideas you’ve run across? I want to work with friends—furry ones!

Olivia B.


Hey Olivia,

You are our kind of person, an animal person! We’re excited to help you figure out what your dream job might be. According to the Bureau Labor Statistics, the opportunities in animal-related occupations are growing in the United States. Did you know that pet shelters in New York have been emptied during the Covid-19 pandemic? People love their animals and turn to them for companionship, inspiration, comfort and more. 

Before we get into long lists, we’re sure you know that some positions will have education requirements such as a high school diploma, associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree or even a master’s degree or doctor of veterinary medicine. Since you didn’t specify your own education or job training, we’ll just give you a range of possibilities. You can always go back to school like Amava Member Kim Hunter, who now works as a pet sitter and animal trainer. Even if you don’t have the formal education or want to go after it now, some organizations may offer training programs for certain positions. 

Our Member and veterinarian Shelley Onderdonk has a lot to say about how animal lovers can define their relationship with both domestic pets and wild animals: “Animal welfare has many dimensions.” Have a read!

On to some potential animal-centric career paths. When it comes to the world of pets, there are many job opportunities:

  • If you care about animal health, you can work in a veterinary office or animal hospital as a veterinary assistant or a veterinary technician (sometimes called a vet tech).
  • There are jobs at groomers, kennels (they hire kennel attendants), local animal shelters or humane societies (they need adoption counselors and shelter managers) or animal control offices (animal control officers are often needed and it is a unique form of law enforcement).These are all ways to be around big and small animals (and people who love them).
  • You can also be a dog walker (yes, get paid to play with dogs), a dog trainer, run your own doggie or kitty daycare or work in a pet store (pet groomers often work right out of them).
  • You can also be a pet photographer!

Any of those will get you interacting with pet owners and more importantly, the animals themselves.

If you’d rather be with animals in nature or at a zoo or preserve or in a lab setting, or are fascinated by the complexities of animal behavior, there are diverse choices. If you haven’t trained in animal science you can study to become an animal scientist or look for an entry-level position at a zoo or wildlife organization and learn the ropes. You could work with or become a zoologist, wildlife rehabilitator, marine biologist or wildlife biologist. Laboratory animals need love and care too and you can consider working as a technologist in a lab.There are almost as many choices as there are species. Well, almost.

Whether you choose to pursue animal training as your own business, work at a veterinary clinic, pet store, wildlife preserve or someplace else, we’re rooting for you, Olivia! Rawr! 

All the best,

Team Amava


We’re trying to cover a lot of ground in our quest to be your hub for ideas and inspiration as you Discover Your Next. We hope our content is thought-provoking and that it raises some questions as you keep planning for an active, engaged life. Ask them here and we’ll publish some answers!