By Gladys Mae
Gladys is the Associate Director of Admissions & Student Services with over 10 years of experience at the International Career Institute.
Do you love animals and want to make a difference in their lives, while they make a difference in yours? If you have empathy and an affinity for animals, then a career that revolves around pets and wildlife might be your calling. The field of animal careers is a burgeoning one, with people spending more than £3,000 a year on their dogs alone. This has resulted in a constant demand for workers in the animal care fields, from medical needs to training needs, with careers in areas like zoology and pet care becoming more popular. No matter what animal you have a preference for, there’s a career out there for you to work with that animal.
There are a variety of benefits of working with animals, starting with daily contact with them. When you work with animals, you feel a purpose in your job because you’re making a difference in the life of that animal. In addition, animal careers require constant brain power and practice, so you’re always learning and getting better at your job. The animal field is also one that offers steady employment and opportunities for career advancement. Finally, working with animals is never dull – every day is different, and it will always keep you on your toes.
Veterinary medicine is focused on providing health care for animals, from domestic pets and livestock to zoo and wild animals. Veterinarians examine animals to determine the source of illness, behavioural issues, injuries, and diseases, and treat them as appropriate. Vets prescribe medications and perform surgeries, as well as participate in research and reporting.
A veterinary assistant helps a veterinarian perform day-to-day tasks, including assisting in animal examinations, lab and clinical procedures, record keeping, and offering support and comfort to pets and their owners during stressful situations. The veterinary assistant is the first point of contact for pet owners.
A zookeeper cares for animals in safari parks or zoos, and performs duties such as the maintenance of enclosures, cleaning and feeding. The zookeeper keeps an eye on an animal’s health, makes sure the animal has appropriate enrichment in its space, and engages with visitors about the animals. Careful record-keeping is necessary for this position, as is assisting in the restraint or capture of animals.
A pet trainer is an obedience trainer who works with a wide variety of domestic animals, from dogs and cats to horses and dolphins. As a pet trainer, you work with pets and their owners to help resolve behavioural issues, or prepare the pet for competition. Specialised trainers can also train pets for service work, search and rescue, and police and military training.
A horseback riding instructor is someone who loves horses, is a skilled rider, and enjoys teaching other people how to learn to work and communicate with horses, as well as ride horses. This career will keep the instructor fit and also allows for interaction with a wide variety of people. Patience and a quick mind are necessary for this position.
Combine a love of pets with a love of photography, and you have the career of a pet photographer. A pet photographer uses high-quality equipment and computer software to capture beautiful moments between pets and their owners. Some pet photographers go to shelters and take pictures of pets up for adoption to help them find a new home. Photographers can specialise in domestic pets or wildlife to make a career out of their work.
The primary job of an animal cruelty investigator is to respond to and follow up on animal cruelty complaints. The investigator records and collects evidence for trial, secures and removes the pet from its home, and appears in court to give witness to what occurred. Although this is a more emotionally-charged job that deals with animals, it’s one filled with purpose, meaning, and justice.
Some of these positions don’t require any specific diploma or certification, while others do. For example, a veterinarian needs to complete a degree approved by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, which is generally a five-year process. Veterinary assistants can receive qualification with a two-or four-year-diploma or online course certification. Zookeepers should have a relevant diploma in animal management, biology, animal science, or zoology. Horseback riding instructors need to have a certification that provides the training necessary to pass the British Horse Society (BHS) or Association of British Riding School (ABRS) exams.
Combine your passion for animals with a purposeful career and make a difference in the lives of pets. Enrol in a Veterinary and Animal Care program from the International Career Institute today.