Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Professions That Work With Animals: The Veterinary Field

If you have always wanted to be a veterinarian, but now find yourself thinking that maybe that isn’t the path for you, that doesn’t have to be the end of the road. There are many rewarding jobs in the animal health care field that we often don’t consider. Here are some possibilities.


We think of veterinarians as the glamorous
heroes in the animal health field...
(photo by Jenna Buley)
Veterinarian: Veterinarians (vets) care for the health of animals and often specialize as a small animal, equine, large animal or wildlife vet. They don’t only work in animal clinics and hospitals, but also in wildlife rehabilitation centers, zoological parks, aquariums, veterinary pharmaceutical sales, education (as college professors or biology teachers), research facilities or labs, the military, or other government organizations.

Average pay: $88,000/year

Typical entry-level education: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree

Experience needed: Many hours of animal experience are required to get into most veterinary schools (the number varies by school)

...but the job is not always so glamorous. (photo by Jenna Buley)


You could specialize in surgery. Photo by Sarah Maasch.
Veterinary Specialist: Veterinary specialists are vets that have furthered their training and expertise into areas such as anesthesiology, behavior, clinical pharmacology, dermatology, emergency and critical care, internal medicine, lab animal medicine, microbiology, nutrition, ophthalmology, pathology, radiology, surgery, toxicology, and wildlife medicine.

Average pay: $157,000/year (although it varies significantly across specialty areas)

Typical entry-level education: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree plus an additional 2-3 years of additional study and the passing of a board certified exam

Experience needed: Post-DVM residency


A veterinary technician draws blood
from a patient. Photo by Sarah Maasch.
Veterinary Technician: Veterinary technicians are like the nurses of the veterinary world. They can work in private clinics, laboratories, animal hospitals, zoos and aquariums. They work under the supervision of licensed veterinarians to conduct clinical procedures and perform medical tests to assist in diagnosing animal injuries and illnesses.

Average pay: $31,000/year

Typical entry-level education: Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology, high school classes in biology, other sciences, and math

Experience needed: none necessary, but experience with animals or in science labs are an advantage


Veterinary Assistants help
with everything. Photo
by Sarah Maasch.
Veterinary Assistant: Veterinary assistants can work in private clinics, laboratories, animal hospitals, zoos and aquariums. They work under the supervision of veterinarians and veterinary technicians to care for animals and maintain animal care facilities.

Average pay: $24,000/year

Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

Experience needed: none necessary, but experience with animals is an advantage


Animal Care Staff
get lots of snuggles.
Photo by Elizabeth Martens.
Animal Caretaker: Animal caretakers can work in boarding facilities, rehabilitation centers, humane societies, animal clinics and hospitals, zoos and aquariums, farms and breeding facilities, and laboratories. They care for animals and maintain animal care facilities.

Average pay: $24,000/year

Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

Experience needed: none necessary, but experience with animals is an advantage


Receptionists work the front lines.
Photo by Evan Bench at
Wikimedia Commons.
Receptionist and Administrative Staff: You may not initially think of being a receptionist as “working with animals”, but it is the receptionists and other administrative staff that are the first people that animal owners interact with. They schedule appointments and surgeries, receive animal patients, maintain records, order lab results, order supplies and generally keep animal health facilities working.

Average pay: $27,000/year

Typical entry-level education: High school diploma or equivalent

Experience needed: none necessary, but experience with animals and computers is an advantage


For more advice on working with animals, check this out.

1 comment:

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