Focus on Occupations: Animal-Related Occupations

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In October and November, our four-legged friends and wildlife are in the spotlight. CareerLocker acknowledges National Animal Safety and Protection Month, Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, Squirrel Awareness Month, and Wishbones for Pets Month.  People who support the safety, protection, adoption, awareness, or well-being of pets and wildlife serve animals and the animal lovers in us all.  A great way to remember and honor the value of wildlife, animals and pets is by recognizing those who work with animals in various capacities. This month CareerLocker highlights animal chiropractors, animal trainers, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and wildlife biologists.

  • Animal Chiropractors–provide an alternative form of health care for cats, dogs, and horses using the same principles as applied by human chiropractors. Using their hands, they manipulate the spinal cord and joints to relieve pressure on nerves that affect feeling and control of the surrounding muscles. Pet owners are referred to animal chiropractors by veterinarians when x-rays confirm that surgery is not warranted for pets that have slipped or fallen, been injured due to strenuous activity, or that have survived automobile accidents. The animal chiropractor also instructs the pet owners on the acceptable level of activity and may make diet recommendations for the animals under their care.
  • Animal Trainers–train animals for riding, security, performance, obedience, or assisting persons with disabilities. Animal trainers do this by accustoming the animal to human voice and contact, and conditioning the animal to respond to commands. Animal trainers may train animals to prescribed standards for show or competition. Animal training takes place in small steps, and often takes months and even years of repetition. During the conditioning process, trainers provide animals with mental stimulation, physical exercise, and husbandry care. In addition to their hands-on work with the animals, trainers often oversee other aspects of the animal’s care, such as diet preparation.
  • Veterinarians–protect animal health through medicine, surgery, and providing information about animal health to pet owners and animal caregivers. Veterinarians practice medicine and surgery with companion pets, animals raised for human consumption, horses, animals in zoos, animals for military use, or in a combination of fields. Veterinarians oversee and inspect every aspect of the animal food supply, ensuring that the United States has one of the safest in the world. Veterinarians usually work with either small animals (such as dogs or cats) or large animals (such as horses or cows). They may specialize in specific medical fields such as oncology or neurology. Other veterinarians may do research, teach, or work in the animal industry.
  • Veterinary Technicians–assist veterinarians as they examine and treat animals. They often administer anesthetics to animals and assist veterinarians as they perform surgical procedures. They also sterilize instruments and clean operating and examining rooms. They lift and handle animals and give them medication as prescribed by the veterinarian. They clean the animal cages and prepare food for each animal as instructed. They note the condition and behavior of the animals and report these observations to the veterinarian. They may do laboratory tests to identify diseases or parasites. Some specialize in caring for small animals and work in veterinary clinics that care for dogs and/or cats. Others assist veterinarians who care for large animals such as cattle or endangered species housed in zoos.
    • This is a Hot Occupation. Over the next 10 years, job openings in this occupation are projected to increase by at least 27%.
  • Wildlife Biologists–study the populations, habitats, and conservation of wildlife and fish. Wildlife biologists usually specialize in subtopics within the field of wildlife biology. For example, some may study the relationship between predators and prey within an ecosystem. Others may study the routes of migratory birds. Wildlife biologists may research the impact that humans or environmental changes have had on wildlife, or they may coordinate programs to control the outbreak of wildlife diseases. Yet other wildlife biologists may specialize in the conservation and management of wild game, such as pheasants or deer, and the restoration of habitat. Wildlife biologists explain what they have discovered through their research by writing reports, publishing scientific papers or journal articles, and making presentations. Additionally, wildlife biologists may visit schools, clubs, interest groups, and park interpretive programs to teach people about wildlife.

Learn more about these and other occupations on CareerLocker.