What does it take to become a wildlife rehabilitator?
The first and most important thing you need is a passion for animals - be prepared to care for anything from snakes to deer!
If you are thinking of going to college, you may consider a major in Zoology, Animal Behavior, Biology, or Environmental sciences. One of the great things about Wildlife Rehabilitation, though, is that you don’t necessarily need to have any of these majors!
I have met and worked with Wildlife Rehabbers who graduated with degrees like Criminal Justice, Accounting, and Dance!
While I am not a licensed wildlife rehabbed, I have several hundred hours of hands-on experience caring for animals of all kinds (squirrels, skunks, hatchling and nestling songbirds, raptors, etc.) - and I majored in anthropology!
Instead, the most important thing for actual employment is looking at what certifications you need. Each state may have different requirements and laws about keeping and handling wildlife.
Example: In one state, you may need 1,000 hours of hands on work caring for wild animals, need to pass a tough exam, and also need to be “sponsored” by a recognized wildlife rehab facility.
The first step to any of this is finding a way to do hands-on work caring for wild animals. Search for wildlife rehab centers near you, and contact them for volunteer or internship opportunities!