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Animal Related Careers

"I love animals and want to have a career where I can work with them. However, I'm terrible at science and most majors I've looked at in these fields are science based. Do you know of any majors that don't heavily rely on science? Or any careers dealing with animals? By the way, I'm not interested in being a vet but am interested in working with animals. It's not that I didn't get a good grade in science either, it's just that I don't understand it."

Ever said this to yourself? Many students are interested in working with animals but simply do not enjoy the many science related classes that are require from the typical degrees. Below are some animal related majors students may want to consider that are not so heavily loaded with science classes.

Page Index:

Animal Related Majors:


  • Careers with Animals - from the University of AZ
  • Animal Related Careers - Melissa Kaplan's Collection
  • Horse trainer
  • Dog trainer
  • Stable owner
  • Vet tech
  • Animal shelter worker
  • Manager, Shelter Operations - The Shelter Operations Manager oversees all aspects of temporary sheltering for the Field Investigations and Response Department during large scale cruelty seizures and natural disasters. The Manager is responsible for day-to-day shelter operations including animal care, supervision of volunteer teams, budget management and accurate record keeping.
  • Manager, Animal Assisted Therapy Programs - The Manager of Animal Assisted Therapy Programs manages all aspects of the ASPCA/Delta Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) program including planning and budget oversight. As well as training and screening of Pet Partners and evaluation of placement sites.
  • Animal Care Technician - Provide direct care and maintenance for all animals in the shelter, including feeding, general husbandry and cleaning of the kennels and shelter areas.
  • Zoo Keeper - Individual who cares for animals in zoological parks or aquariums. A career as a zoo keeper offers a unique opportunity in the specialized and demanding profession of maintaining captive exotic animals for conservation, research, public education and recreation.
    Zoos are seeking individuals with Associate and Bachelor's degrees in Zoology, Biology, Animal Management and related fields to fill position openings. Having such a degree will give you an advantage in this job market. When zoos are hiring they are also looking for individuals who have good interpersonal skills, communicate effectively (both spoken and written), can work as part of a team-oriented effort, and are comfortable interacting with the public and with volunteers.

Listed below are some positions in zoos and aquariums and a brief description of duties. Not all positions are found in all facilities, and responsibilities often vary.

  • Director/Chief Operating Officer - Executes policies as directed by the governing authority. Responsible for the institution's operation and plans for future development.
  • Assistant Director - Assists the director and assumes charge in the director's absence.
  • Finance Manager/Director - Manages the institution's finances, including payment of bills, purchasing, investments, and the preparation of financial statements.
  • General Curator - Oversees an institution's entire animal collection and animal management staff. Responsible for strategic collection planning.
  • Animal Curator - Manages a certain portion of an institution's animal collection; i.e., mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, etc.
  • Veterinarian - Responsible for the healthcare program for the animal collection and the maintenance of health records.
  • Veterinary Technician - Assists the veterinarian and provides care to the animals under the supervision of the veterinarian.
  • Registrar - Maintains computer records on the animal collection and applies for permits and licenses to hold or transport animals.
  • Curator/Coordinator/Director of Research - Supervises research projects, serves as liaison between the institution and the academic community, and publishes articles in scientific journals.
  • Curator/Coordinator/Director of Conservation - Oversees the institution's conservation activities, including field projects. Serves as liaison with government wildlife agencies and other conservation organizations.
  • Conservation Biologist/Zoologist - Provides scientific and technical assistance in the management of the animal collection and assists in conducting various research or field conservation projects.
  • Head Keeper/Aquarist - Supervises a section or department of the institution; provides training and scheduling for keepers.
  • Senior Keeper/Aquarist - Provides primary animal care for a department.
  • Keeper/Aquarist - Provides daily care to the institution's animals, including diet preparation, cleaning, general exhibit maintenance, and record keeping.
  • Operations Director/Manager - Responsible for the daily operation of the institution's physical plant and equipment.
  • Curator of Exhibits - Creates exhibits and assists in the design of graphics.
  • Curator of Horticulture - Responsible for the botanical collection and its application to the animal collection, as well as daily maintenance of the institution's grounds.
  • Curator of Education - Plans and implements the institution's education programs.
  • Public Relations/Affairs Manager/Director - Promotes the institution, its mission, and its programs to the public via the media.
  • Development Director/Officer - Develops and manages fund-raising activities which can include writing grant proposals and attracting corporate sponsors, as well as soliciting private donations.
  • Marketing Director/Manager - Creates advertising campaigns and other activities to increase public awareness of the institution.
  • Special Events Manager/Coordinator - Develops and implements events to attract visitors throughout the year.
  • Membership Director/Manager - Responsible for maintaining and increasing institution memberships for families and individuals and designing special events for members only. May also be in charge of "adopt-an-animal" programs to raise funds.
  • Gift Shop Manager - Manages staff and all aspects of gift shop operation from buying products to designing shops.
  • Visitor Services Manager - Supervises the staff and facilities that cater to the visiting public including concessions and restrooms.
  • Personnel Manager/Director - Responsible for all personnel matters including payroll, insurance, and tax matters.
  • Volunteer Coordinator - Responsible for recruiting and maintaining a staff of volunteers/docents. Duties include scheduling docents for on- and off-grounds activities and keeping docents abreast of new developments to relate to the public.
  • Docent Volunteer - Duties may include diet preparation, small animal care, teaching educational programs, leading group tours, and staffing special events.
  • Junior Keeper - Some institutions offer a summer program for high school students who wish to volunteer in a zoo or aquarium setting. Duties are often similar to those of other volunteers, but they are supervised much more closely.


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