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Big Pet Career List

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First: A Note About Career Inventories/Assessments/Tests (the ones that suggest what fields you should go into).

Career tests can be helpful, but don't feel that you must take one. There are other ways to learn more about yourself. If you want to take career assessments, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and StrentghsQuest are two of the most popular. College students and graduates can check whether your schools offer the tests free of charge.

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 the tests dictate what you should do.

Occupations/Jobs Working with Animals

I included several that aren't companion pet-related but that use many of the skills.

Adoption assistant/Counselor
Animal behavior therapist

Animal control worker

Animal adoption coordinator



Cage handler

Compliance officer

Customer service/Receptionist at vet office

Disaster Response Team Member (DRTM; 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 company or working for someone else)

Doula for animals; compassionately providing end-of-life care for pets and helping their families during this horrible time. (Here's a link to the University of Vermont's certificate program).

Environmental activist


Fear Free Certified Professional (FFCP; decrease the stress of animals in shelters and veterinary offices; also see listing under Trainer)

Feral cat nonprofit helper/Assistant

Fitness Coach (for animals). Example: Certified Canine Strength and Conditional Coach (CSCC), North Carolina State University 

Forensic professional for animals

Forester/Park ranger


Grant writer


Handler, dog show

Jockey/Professional rider

Judge (animal competitions/shows)

Manage a doggy daycare

Massage Therapist

Nosework (scent) trainer or handler


Pet psychic (not advocating this; a friend mentioned her niece is one)

Pet psychologist


Physical therapist for animals

Police canine officer

Public education

Rehabilitation (physical therapy and other integrative therapies)


Rider, teach riding and therapeutic riding

Shelter manager

Shows animals (see also Handler)


Trainer, Seeing Eye and other service animals

Trainer, agility, behavior

Trainer, Fear Free (decrease anxiety of animals in veterinary offices and shelters)

Transportation of animals (all forms of transit including accompanying pets on airplanes)

Veterinarian (including all specialties)

Veterinarian assistant/Technician/Technologist

Veterinary behaviorist

Veterinary receptionist

Veterinary nurse (also listed as Nurse)


Warden, fish and game

Wildlife rehabber

Zoo curator

Animal Careers and Jobs Without Touching Animals

There are careers that benefit animals that don't involve handling them (at least some of the time). Examples follow. The emphasis is on pet-related careers (but we include a few other animal-related jobs as well). See if any of these jobs appeal to you.

Jobs Can Be:



At a desk or moving around

Working from home

Examples of Settings that Can Have an Animal-related Mission

Colleges and universities (example, research labs)

Foundations (that have an animal-related mission such as the PetSmart Foundation)

Corporations (for example, Chewy, which sells pet products)


Animal shelters


Laboratories (ones that help animals; not ones that cruelly test on animals). For example, a lab that analyzes a pet's microbiome)

Professional associations (example, the American Veterinary Medical Association)

Advertising firms

Law firms (specialized) and courtrooms (example, Animal Legal Defense Fund)

Animal hospitals

Insurance companies


Online sales (example, Chewy)


Examples of Jobs*

For example, specialized social workers help people overcome the death of their pets. More examples: sales of animal-related products (for example, dog food or animal medicines); handling finances for veterinary hospitals; writing grants to raise money so shelters can save more animals; and being deans of students at veterinary schools (vet degree not usually required). You can make a difference and help animals without ever touching one.

We avoided duplication wherever possible, but there are a few jobs duplicated on both lists.


Animal activist (example, working for PETA)

Baker/Cook, animal food and treats

Collector and seller of animal-related items (such as Breyer toy horses and Steiff stuffed animals)

Courtroom Animal Advocate (generally a volunteer position for a lawyer or law student)

Customer service (example, for Chewy)

Detective. Help find lost pets and solve animal related crimes

Doula, End of Life (EOL) for those losing companion animals (here's a link to the University of Vermont's certificate program)

Entrepreneur, your own business

Database management/IT/App developer

Fear Free Trainer (FFT, teach people techniques that decrease anxiety of animals in shelters and veterinary offices)

Finance for a shelter, animal hospital or private company that is animal affiliated

Fundraiser/Grant writer for a shelter or other nonprofit


Human resources

Insurance sales/Adjuster (pet insurance)

Journalist, issues about animals

Lawyer, pet

Lobbyist (for animal causes). Persuade elected officials to support legislation that helps animals


Nonprofit administrator--oversee volunteers, animal organizations, and more

Policy or Budget analyst--analyze legislation affecting animals

Pooper scooper, clean up people's yards

Practice manager

Program Manager

PR (Public Relations), including social media

Researcher, university or other environment

Retail sales

Sales, Pet company, for example for a company that makes treats or pet toys

Shelter manager

Social media/Advertising/Newsletter writing

Social worker. Work on bereavement issues and also help people keep their pets. Perhaps clients have housing or health issues.

Special events manager to call attention to animal causes, eg, finding fosters or forever families

Teacher, animal husbandry or other

Volunteer coordinator or manager
Writer (also see Journalist), fiction and nonfiction

*The included links describe careers in general and may not be specific to pet specialization

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