The animal industry is a diverse community of likeminded organizations and people who’ve chosen to dedicate their lives toward the protection and care of both animals and their environment. Those who have already embarked upon a career in the animal industry have chosen wisely—with dozens of different positions and the possibility of major advancement within every subset, the animal industry is experiencing massive growth and unprecedented demand.
According to BLS.gov, several careers in particular have responded well to the recent economic surge following the Great Recession. Animal Care and Service Workers and Veterinary Technologists and Technicians have shown the most versatility in the economic recovery and are expanding at a rapid rate.
Animal care and service workers are one of the most diverse of all animal industry jobs. Primarily responsible for providing care for animals, Animal Care and Service Workers feed, water, groom, bathe, and exercise pets and assorted nonfarm animals. The specific tasks will vary by position and place of employment, but you can expect to be hands on in your care, working directly with animals and gaining a wide variety of experience. The main centers for employment for Animal Care and Service Workers include zoos, stables, animal shelters, veterinary clinics, and aquariums, where you’ll receive your training by working under an established expert and learn your skills hands-on. There’s no degree necessary for most of these positions, though a certificate and prior experience is beneficial.
The median pay for Animal Care and Service workers comes in around $20,000 a year, but that’s rapidly changing. According to BLS.gov, there’s an increasing demand for these positions, and animal industry jobs are experiencing a growth around 15% higher than the average rate.
Veterinary Technologists and Technicians
Some of the more technical positions within animal industry jobs, Veterinary Technologists and Technicians are responsible for performing medical tests under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian to help diagnose the injuries and illnesses of animals. This is a physically and emotionally demanding position, where you’ll be tasked with working hand-in-hand with the veterinarian to save the lives of the animals you treat. Veterinary Technologists and Technicians not only work in private clinics, where they’re responsible primarily for treating pets, but also laboratories and animal hospitals. Because of the nature of emergencies, many of these positions require employees to work evenings, weekends, or holidays in particular circumstances.
In order to work as a Veterinary Technologist, you’ll need a four-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, and to become a Veterinary Technician, you’ll need a two-year associate’s degree. No matter which position you pursue, you’ll need to take a credentialing exam, and become registered, licensed, or certified depending on your state.
The median pay for both positions average out to $30,290 a year, with the opportunity to rise up into more senior positions that come with a higher salary. These animal industry jobs are expanding much faster than the average position, with a growth rate topping 30% in the next ten years.