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Careers Working With Animals

Working With Animals

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Veterinarians with a dog
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Those who want careers working with animals have many options from which to choose. Some of these occupations are veterinarian, veterinary technician, veterinary assistant, animal trainer and groomer. Educational and licensing requirements differ for each of these careers working with animals, as do duties and salaries. See the chart below for a quick look at the differences between each of these career choices.

Veterinarian

Veterinarians provide medical care to animals. Some specialize in treating pets, livestock, zoo, sporting or laboratory animals. Aspiring veterinarian attend veterinary school in order to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. This is a post-bachelor's degree. After graduating from veterinary school, one must take a licensing exam. Median annual earnings for veterinarians were $80,510 in 2009.*
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Veterinary Technician

Veterinary technicians assist veterinarians. They conduct clinical and laboratory procedures. To become a veterinary technician one must earn a minimum of an associate degree and then take a licensing exam. Veterinary technicians earned median hourly wages of $29,280 (and median hourly wages of $14.08) in 2009.*
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Veterinary Assistant

Veterinary Assistants care for animals in private clinics, animal hospitals and laboratories. To work as a veterinary assistant one needs only on-the-job training. Veterinary assistants earned median annual wages of $21,700 (and median hourly wages of $10.43) in 2009.*
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Animal Trainer

Animal trainers train animals for riding, security, performance, obedience or assisting people with disabilities. To become an animal trainer one usually needs at least a high school diploma or its equivalent, although a bachelor's degree is required for some jobs. Certification is available, but it isn't required. Animal trainers earned median annual wages of $26,930 (and median hourly wages of $12.95) in 2009.*
Learn More About Becoming an Animal Trainer

Groomer

Groomers help make sure pets look their best. To become a groomer one can either get his or her training through an apprenticeship or attend a two to 18 week program at a state-licensed school. Certification is available but not required. Groomers earned median annual wages of $19,550 (and median hourly wages of $9.40) in 2009.*
Learn More About Becoming a Groomer

Sources:
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ and
Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, O*NET Online, on the Internet at http://online.onetcenter.org/ (visited February 3, 2011).

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Comparing Careers Working With Animals
 EducationLicenseMedian Salary
VeterinarianFour Years Post-Bachelor's DegreeRequired in Every State$80,510/yr. or $38.71/hr.
Veterinary TechnicianMin. Associate DegreeRequired in Every State$29,280/yr. or $14.08/hr.
Veterinary AssistantOn-the-Job TrainingNone$21,700/yr. or $10.43/hr.
Animal TrainerMin. of H.S. Diploma or EquivalentCertification Available (not required)$26,930/yr. or $12.95/hr.
GroomerApprenticeship or 2-18 Week CourseCertification Available (not required)$19,550/yr. or $9.40/hr.

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