Working Directly with Animals
Review the list below to get career ideas. You will find links to more information for some careers; for others, a Google search can yield great information.
The O*Net OnLine Interest Profiler can help you learn more about your preferences and the careers that are compatible. This is a free site sponsored by the US Department of Labor. It defines and measures careers along six occupational parameters. It is based on the research of psychologist John Holland.
Those parameters are (with explanations from the online inventory):
Realistic — "Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others."
Investigative — "Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally."
Artistic — "Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules."
Social — "Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others."
Enterprising — "Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business."
Conventional — "Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow."
After taking the inventory, you will receive a code, usually your top three parameters. Careers that share that code might be of particular interest. Examples of the Holland code:
RIS includes veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers.
IAR includes geneticists.
RIE includes range managers.
IR includes veterinarians (specialties may vary) and agriculture teachers. Breeders are RI.
A word of caution: Never let test results dissuade you from a career and never let anyone discourage you based on your results. Use the findings to learn more about yourself and career possibilities--don't let them dictate what you should do.
More About Career Inventories
They can be helpful, but don't feel that you have to take one. There are other ways to learn more about yourself.
If you want to learn more, two of the most popular are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and StrentghsQuest. College students and graduates can check whether your schools offer the tests free of charge.
Occupations/Jobs Working with Animals
I included several that aren't considered companion animal-related but use many of the skills. Links are to the O*Net database.
Animal behavior therapist
Animal adoption coordinator
Customer service/Receptionist at vet office
Disaster Response Team Member (helps animals during natural disasters and other emergencies); the University of Florida Veterinary School has such a team.
Dog daycare assistant
Dog walker (your own copy or working for someone else)
Feral cat nonprofit helper/assistant
Forensic professional for animals
Handler, dog show
Judge (dog shows)
Manage a doggy daycare
Nosework (scent) trainer or handler
Physical therapist for animals
Police canine officer
Raiser of less common animals (eg, goats)
Rehabilitation (physical therapy and other integrative therapies)
Retail, including store owner
Rider, teach riding
Teach therapeutic riding
Sales, in a store, business-to-business or internet
Shower (see also Handler)
Social Media/advertising/newsletter writing
Social worker veterinary school (work on bereavement issues)
Trainer, Seeing Eye and other service animals
Transportation of animals (all forms of transit including accompanying pets on airplanes)
Veterinarian (including all specialties)
Veterinary nurse (also listed as Nurse)
Warden, fish and game