Many people who go into careers working with animals do so because they grew up around them, either on a farm or in a house full of pets. And most people who make a career out of working with animals do it because they enjoy them, not because it pays well. However, there are several high-paying animal careers.
Among the most well-known and highest-paying animal career is veterinary medicine. Veterinarians are essentially animal doctors, caring for sick and injured animals and performing preventive care. Veterinarians work in a variety of settings. Many veterinarians set up offices and care for pets such as dogs and cats. Veterinarians also work in agricultural settings, caring for horses and livestock. Veterinarians may also work at zoos and aquariums. To become a veterinarian, you must get a bachelor's degree and then go to veterinary school, a process that usually takes eight years. After that, you must become licensed. However, the payoff is good. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for veterinarians was £51,382 as of May 2008.
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists
People in these jobs study wildlife and their environment. Wildlife biologists may study a variety of animals in a university, a private lab or in the field, while zoologists typically specialise in one species of animal, such as birds, reptiles or fish. Wildlife biologists and zoologists often need advanced degrees, which can take up to 10 years of schooling. The median annual salary for wildlife biologists and zoologists in May 2008 was £35,932, according to the BLS. However, the BLS also reports that zoologists employed by the federal government earned nearly £76,050 on average in March 2009.
Animal scientists work with livestock to develop more efficient ways of producing meat, eggs and dairy products. They study aspects such as genetics and nutrition and may work for private companies, universities or state or federal government agencies. Animal scientists need advanced degrees. As of May 2008, the BLS reported a median salary for animal scientists of £36,419, although animal scientists working for the federal government averaged almost twice that amount in 2009.