What is your dream job? Many aspiring animal professionals have a dream job in mind from an early age (though their top choice can certainly change over the years). There are several popular career paths that tend to factor prominently on many “dream job” lists. Here are 7 of the best animal-related dream jobs that you might be considering:
Veterinary medicine is one of the highest profile animal career paths (if not THE highest profile animal career path). It is often the first career option that comes to mind when you ask an animal lover “what is your dream job?” There are many different veterinary specialty options that can accommodate a wide range of interests. While this career path does involve a fairly significant educational commitment, a career as a veterinarian can be rewarding both professionally and financially. Veterinarians are also able to find work (or start a clinic of their own) in nearly every part of the country, making this a highly mobile option.
Marine Mammal Trainer
Marine mammal training is another extremely popular dream job, though the total number of positions available in this field is very limited. Marine mammal trainers get to have a high level of direct interaction with dolphins, whales, sea lions, seals, and other marine species. Aspiring marine mammal trainers place a very high value on being able to swim with these animals during training sessions and performances. The salary might not be particularly high, but the experience tends to outweigh the financial aspects in many cases.
Veterinary technicians can specialize in many different areas of medicine and have a high level of direct contact with animals. Vet techs are an essential part of the veterinary team and provide valued support services to the veterinarians on staff. While the salary for vet techs is not particularly high, it is possible to complete the educational requirements for becoming a vet tech in a relatively short period. This makes it a very affordable career option. Vet techs are also able to find work in almost all cities and towns, making this a highly mobile career option.
Zoo keepers have the chance to care for exotic wildlife kept in captivity. Working as a zoo keeper can be a rare opportunity to directly interact with popular species such as elephants, lions, tigers, giraffes, and zebras. A keeper position is also a great starting point for those who want to eventually move up the ladder into a zoo management role. Keeper positions are traditionally low paying opportunities, and they require a great deal of labor, but they are in extremely high demand due to their “dream job” status.
Movie Animal Trainer
Movie animal trainers get to work in many locations, and with a variety of animals while participating in the film industry. Trainers can specialize in working with one particular species of interest (such as horses or dogs) or work with animals of all types. Aspiring trainers should be aware that the hours are often long and the conditions are not as glamorous as they might appear to be at first glance, but this usually doesn’t deter someone with a strong interest in this type of work. Competition is especially keen in this industry as only an extremely limited number of positions are available.
Wildlife rehabilitators have the chance to work with many species of native wildlife including birds of prey, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and more. While it is not a high paying animal career path, wildlife rehabilitation is extremely popular as it offers the opportunity to assist injured animals and has extensive direct contact with them.
Jockey or Racehorse Trainer
Who hasn’t dreamed of being a part of the team that wins the Kentucky Derby? Jockeys and trainers have the opportunity to chase that dream. Those who can meet the size and weight requirements (and have the necessary riding skill) can pursue the jockey route. Trainers have the chance to direct all aspects of racehorse care and management. Each role is a high profile position in the Thoroughbred racing world.