Animal Magnetism: Careers For Animal Lovers
Posted November 12, 2012, by Mike Kermode
Calling all animal lovers! There’s a range of careers that could see you working with animals – for example, tending to the health needs of man’s best friend, or helping wild populations deal with environmental change. There are thousands of people whose jobs are dedicated to improving the lives of animals, in homes and in the bush – and you could be one of them.
Careers in Animal Care
Domesticated animals are found in a whopping 60 per cent of Australian homes and have their own set of modern demands. Some breeds of dog require extensive grooming, which can include cleaning, bathing, brushing, clipping, dental care, nail clipping, flea control, and preparing them for shows.
With the right training, you could become a dog groomer for either your own pet or others. By completing a pet grooming course you’ll learn not just how to keep Spot spotless, but youâ€™ll gain the skills to launch your own pet grooming business.
Training a pet isn’t an easy feat, and some dogs are easier to train than others. It takes patience but also professional knowledge to know how to best manage those animal instincts.
If you’d like to learn more about how dogs learn, behave, socialise and communicate, and how to train and condition that behaviour to produce a well-behaved and well-adjusted pet, then a pet obedience trainer course will give you the skills to become your own dog whisperer.
Whether it’s in a shelter, kennel, veterinary clinic or zoo, animal attendants ensure that animals are kept healthy, fed, clean, housed and groomed – they basically attend to all their basic needs. Taking an animal care course or studying companion animal services will provide you with a fundamental knowledge and understanding of animals and how to care for them.
Vets are the doctors of the animal world, treating disease, injury and illness. Vets can treat a wide variety of animals or can treat specific groups like cattle, horses or birds. They can also specialise in their practice as surgeons or dermatologists, for example.
To become a vet, you’ll need a degree in veterinary science. Training is rigorous and demanding, requiring five to seven years of study, and programs are notoriously difficult to get into.
Alternatively, you could work as a veterinary assistant. For this, you’ll need a certificate in veterinary nursing. You may not be working as a vet yourself, but you’ll be working alongside the vet and helping the animals to receive the best care possible.
Zoologists study the functions, ecology and environments of animals. Often specialising in one area (like animal environments, animal behaviours or animal functions) or one class of animal (like birds, mammals or reptiles), zoologists are critical to the development of wildlife management and conservation programs, agriculture and medicine.
To become a zoologist, you’ll need to complete a Bachelor of Zoology. With the right training, you’ll be qualified to work in a zoo or wildlife reserve, in the field or in a lab conducting research, or as a wildlife educator or ecological policy maker. If the idea of a support role in a captive animal facility appeals to you, then captive animal studies is an alternative route.
Animal technician is a loose term to describe anyone who assists scientists (veterinary, medical, pharmaceutical or agricultural) to care for animals utilised in research, breeding programs and other scientific settings. A zookeeper can be considered an animal technician, as can a research field assistant. The paths are many, but usually pass through either an animal science degree or an agriculture/rural science course.
Starting your animal career
If you love animals and have the empathy, patience and observational skills required, a career or hobby working with animals could be your calling. You could enjoy an incredibly rewarding experience helping our furry (or winged, scaly or otherwise) friends to live happier, better lives, in a home, on a farm or out in the wilderness.
If you’re unsure about exactly which way to go, volunteering in an animal shelter can be a great way to get experience dealing with and caring for a range of animals. You’ll know pretty soon whether it’s something you want to dedicate yourself to.