Animal care careers

For those whose love of animals goes beyond being a pet owner, a career in animal care might be the right path for you. Fortunately, there are several career options in the animal care field for you to pursue fit for a variety of skill sets. Here are just a few careers for people who want to work with animals and information on how you can take the first toward starting a career in animal care:

Veterinary technician. Veterinary technicians are responsible for the nursing care of animals under the supervision of a veterinarian. A veterinary technician can work in a veterinary clinic or hospital or in the fields of research, food and animal safety, and public health. While this position requires the most education of the animal care careers listed here – an Associate Degree is recommended – it also has the highest average salary and a job growth rate of 30% -projected by 2020.¹ Check out our ten reasons to become a veterinary technician or learn more about earning your Veterinary Technician Associate Degree here.

Veterinary assistant. Veterinary assistants typically perform basic duties, such as cleaning and setting up equipment, as well as assisting veterinarians and veterinary technicians with daily tasks. Veterinarians rely on assistants to provide an extra hand to restrain or comfort animals when necessary, as well as to complete front office work, such as greeting clients, processing paperwork, making appointments, and answering telephones. Becoming a veterinary assistant does require some schooling, though not as intensive as that of veterinary technicians. Click here to learn more about the differences between veterinary technicians and veterinary assistants, and learn more about pursuing a career as a veterinary assistant here.

Dog obedience trainer. Dog obedience trainers train dogs and teach pet owners how to train and handle their own animals. As a dog obedience trainer, you can prepare dogs for law-enforcement or security, work for a dog obedience training facility or a pet store, or start your own training business. This career requires prospects to be patient, communicative, and compassionate, and often requires professional training if you intend to work as a dog obedience trainer within a company or agency.

Pet groomer. Pet groomers are trained to groom and handle all breeds of dogs and cats, and can typically be found working for a pet grooming business, humane society, veterinary clinic, pet store, kennel, or obedience training facility. Some education is required to learn how to groom animals and develop an understanding of dog and cat anatomy and behavior. Careers in pet grooming are expected to rise 15% over the next few years², so if you are a compassionate and patient person with a special place in your heart for dogs and cats, becoming a pet groomer might be the perfect career choice for you. 

Whether you want to combine your love of animals with a career that requires technical, behavioral, administrative, or even grooming skills, a career path in animal care exists for you. Explore the animal care options above to decide how your skills can best be put to use helping both animals and their human companions!


¹ Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Veterinary Technologists and Technicians, on the Internet here. Statistics found in the United States Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook are based on national data, so job growth in your area may be different.

² Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook," 2014-15 Edition, Animal Care and Service Workers, on the Internet here. Statistics found in the United States Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook are based on national data, so job growth in your area may be different.