3 answers

I want to pursue a career with animals. Help?

Updated San Pablo, California

For all my life I wanted to work with animals. However I don't know exactly what to do in it. Sometimes I wanted to be a host on an animal show just like Steve Irwin or Coyote Peterson. Sometimes I want to be just a simple wildlife conservationist. Sometimes I just want to work at an animal shelter/sanctuary or zoo. Also I need scholarships for it. I applied for many scholarships but I haven't won any of them. Any tips for my career choice and scholarships.
#wildlife #animals #zoology #scholarships #career #zookeeper #conservation #college-major #job #university #low-income #grant #dogs #animal #career-choice #confused

3 answers

Natalie’s Answer

Updated Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Hi Javier,

First of all, I would suggest to start getting experience working with animals if you haven't already started. Maybe volunteer at a local animal shelter? I know college is very expensive. In order to qualify for financial aid (scholarships) you have to complete online something called the FAFSA (Free Application or Federal Student Aid) to determine how much financial aid the college and the government will provide to you. If a traditional bachelor's program is too expensive for you, you may want to consider a community college which is a fraction of the cost and typically represent the first two years of college, saving you a fortune. As far as majors go, you probably want to consider animal science, zoology, animal conservation, animal husbandry, Animal Behavior, Biology, Conservation Biology, Environmental Science, Ecology, or Pre Vet Studies. If you start at a Community College, you would probably study biology or science.

Natalie - Thank you for your answer. We need more advice like this, now more than ever! There are more than 1k unanswered questions on CV right now. Hoping you'll answer a few more this week!

Courtney’s Answer


I was the same way. As a result, I started taking animal science classes. Taking them at the local junior college is very affordable. I also started my own pet sitting business to help pay for school. I also did volunteer work at a zoo, an internship at a vet clinic, and an internship grooming. I quickly realized that I was bored with the repetitiveness of seeing domestic pets all day for the same thing, and realized that my passion was with exotic animals.

Luckily, the zoo I volunteered at offered me a paid position as a zookeeper. This normally takes a Bachelor's Degree plus hands on experience, but they recognized my 10 animal science classes, the fact that I owned my own pet sitting business, my Vet Clinic Internship and my 3 years volunteering at the zoo, in lieu of a Bachelor's Degree.

Since I already have my foot in the door as a zookeeper, I'm getting my degree in Business Management because my pet sitting business is making really good money and I'm hoping one day to expand and hire employees to work for me.

Hopefully my experience will help you with finding your direction.

Courtney recommends the following next steps:

  • Start school - Animal Science classes (local jr. college)
  • While in school find an income source related to the animal field - start a pet sitting business or get hired as a kennel tech.
  • volunteer or intern at a zoo.
  • After getting an Associates Degree and after 1 + 2 + 3....decide which one you were happiest doing and make that your focus for your Bachelor's Degree. (Zookeeper = 4 years college + internships; Dr. of Vet Med. = 8-9 years of college + internships)

Sheryl’s Answer


The obvious career with animals is veterinarian, however there are many, many types of positions you could pursue. A few are: dog groomer, dog walker or dog trainer. You could also become an entrepreneur and start your own business that is animal related and would still allow you to be around animals... natural pet food, pet shop owner, or even a pooper-scooper (ick!) Think about administration for animal-related businesses, such as the Humane Society or another non-profit such as a rescue organization or training animals to assist people who are physically disabled (which could include dogs, minature ponies, or even monkeys). What about the zoo? If you are artistic, you could consider drawing or painting or photographing animals?

Sheryl recommends the following next steps:

  • Volunteer at a local pet adoption organization or the zoo.
  • Look for a part-time position at a local veterinarian or at a pet shop.
  • Research the educational qualifications required for veterinary or even vet techs.
  • Research the many opportunities related to working with animals, and decide if you want to work for yourself, own your own business, or work for an organization or corporation.