~by Monica Gomez
If you love animals, there is a wide array of careers where you can turn your passion into a living while making a positive impact on the lives of pets and their owners. From working in animal shelters and assisting veterinarians to opening your own business, opportunity knocks.
At animal shelters like the Animal Humane Society, you can work with different animals at all stages of their lives. As an animal technician, you can help care for animals by providing water, food, and a clean environment. Other job duties include assisting with medical procedures and monitoring animal health.
If you work as a pet helpline representative, you’ll take calls in reference to surrendering an animal and provide resources for the best solution.
Professional Dog Trainers
If you’re interested in becoming a dog trainer, you could take a few online courses. Learn all about dog ethology, breed characteristics, behavioral conditioning, and social development. Many dog trainers are self-employed or work under head trainers. Some work in pet-related businesses like pet stores and veterinarian offices.
While there are no licenses for pet groomers, the National Dog Grooming Association of America (NDGAA) offers training workshops for aspiring dog groomers in major cities throughout the country. Earn a dog grooming certification with the NDGAA.
After participating in the organization’s training workshop, aspiring groomers must demonstrate practical grooming skills and pass two exams to obtain the certification. Pet stores and vocational schools also offer workshops on dog grooming.
Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers
Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers look after animals in clinics, animal hospitals, and laboratories. They perform a variety of tasks under the supervision of veterinarians, technicians, and scientists:
• Cleaning and disinfecting kennels, operation rooms, and cages
• Feeding, bathing, and exercising animals
• Caring for animals after surgery
• Sterilizing surgical instruments and equipment
• Giving medication or immunizations
• Assisting in urine and blood collection
No formal education is required to become a vet assistant or lab animal caretaker. While many learn on the job, some employers may prefer to hire those who already have experience. A technical school can provide hands-on training for those who lack experience working in the field.
Certifications, including the Approved Veterinary Assistant (AVA) through the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, can help job candidates demonstrate competency.
Steady Career Outlook
Career opportunities for working with animals tend to abound even during tough economic times. Pet owners treat their furry, four-legged friends as part of the family. It’s not uncommon for them to hire pet trainers to tame negative behaviors and groomers to spruce up tangled manes.
As long as you love and care about animals, working with them can be rewarding—both emotionally and financially.
Monica Gomez is a freelance writer whose subjects of focus range from animals to healthcare to career.