EIGHT JOBS WHICH ALLOW YOU TO WORK WITH DOGS. GET YOUR “PUPPY FIX” AND MAKE MONEY AT THE SAME TIME.

A veterinarian examines a brown puppy

EIGHT JOBS WORKING WITH DOGS

Getting a job working with dogs every day is a dream of many animal lovers.  Good news. There are many positions available throughout the country where you can do so.  Unfortunately, most are extremely poorly paid, which means you’ll either have to have a partner who makes a good salary, or struggle financially.  Still, for many dog lovers, the financial sacrifices are well worth it. Also, since some of these positions are part-time, it’s easier to make them a second job.

Below are several occupations which involve handling dogs, listed from highest paying to lowest.

VETERINARIAN

EDUCATION REQUIRED

UNDERGRADUATE

Forty-five to ninety hours of prerequisites including such courses as biology, physics, animal nutrition, etc.

POSTGRADUATE

Graduation from a four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program.   Many veterinarians then go on to serve a one-year internship at a veterinary practice.

Veterinarians have jobs working with dogs.

LICENSES REQUIRED

All veterinarians must pass a state-wide test – the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination – before being able to practice.  An aspiring vet must also know the regulations and laws of their state.  Unfortunately, this means that each state administers its own test.  You’ll have to pass the test for each state in which you want to practice, and pay each state’s licensing fees.   This amounts to $225.00 application fee plus a $150.00 license fee in MD.  In California, the charges are: $150.00 application fee, $235.00 examination fee, and a $100.00 Veterinary Law Examination fee.

CONTINUING EDUCATION

Most states require that all veterinarians take continuing education courses to stay up-to-date with scientific advances and new regulations.

AVERAGE SALARY

As of 2018, the average salary of a fully licensed veterinarian was $105,214, or 56% higher than the US median income of $46,800.

PLACES OF EMPLOYMENT

There are tons of veterinary practices throughout the country, leaving a new veterinarian with an almost unlimited choice about where to live. Other places which hire veterinarians are government agencies, animal shelters, and clinics inside of pet stores.

DUTIES

Maintain the health of companion animals and treat diseases.  They also provide vaccinations and perform surgery.  There are also sub-specialties among veterinarians.  These specialties are likely among the highest-paid.

 

BEHAVIORIST (ALSO KNOWN AS ANIMAL SCIENTIST)

EDUCATION REQUIRED

Bachelor’s degree in animal behavior.  You could also take zoology, biology, and pre-veterinary or veterinary courses.   Most jobs require advanced degrees, such as a Master’s of Science, or a PhD in Veterinary Medicine.

LICENSES/CERTIFICATIONS REQUIRED

  • Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist. This certification requires a master’s degree and two years of professional experience in applied animal behavior.
  • Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist. This requires a PhD in Veterinary Medicine or Biology and five years of experience.

AVERAGE SALARY

The average salary of an animal behaviorist is $67,690.  That is 31% higher than the average salary.

PLACES OF EMPLOYMENT

Animal behaviorists can find employment in veterinary offices, government agencies, universities and colleges.  They can also open a consulting business where they help pet owners with difficult behavior issues.

DUTIES

This ranges from formulating plans to help an animal overcome problem behaviors, to research, to teaching.  Since the field is so wide, duties are practically unlimited.

DOG TRAINER (THIS CATEGORY ALSO INCLUDES SERVICE DOG TRAINERS)

EDUCATION REQUIRED

Actually, none.  However, you will be in much more demand if you enroll and earn a certificate in a school for dog trainers.  There are many different training methods.  Choose a course which teaches the method you are most comfortable with.

Below are just a few: (I am not recommending any of these schools, please do your due diligence before enrolling anywhere.)

There are also many in-person training academies which require a residency.

LICENSES REQUIRED

None.  Certifications from reputable animal behavior organizations will certainly help in securing employment.

AVERAGE SALARY

The average salary of a dog trainer is $35,260.  That is 25% lower than the average US median income of $46,800.

PLACES OF EMPLOYMENT

As a dog trainer, you will have several options.  You can start your own business.  Or you can work for one of the many dog training franchises across the country.  The larger animal shelters will often have a trainer on staff, and many boarding kennels also provide training services.  If you love working with dogs, this is close to the perfect career.

DUTIES

Depending on where you work you may:

  • Help owners learn to work with their dogs to solve behavior problems
  • Start puppies out the right way by showing owners the proper ways to train
  • In a shelter, help dogs become more adoptable by working with behavior
  • Train dogs to help the disabled
  • Work with local law enforcement to train police K-9s
  • Train emotional support animals
  • Work with various government agencies to train bomb and drug sniffing dogs.

 

LICENSED VETERINARY TECHNICIAN

EDUCATION REQUIRED

In order to take the required licensing test, an associate’s degree is required in the Veterinary field.  To make yourself more employable, you can go for a bachelor’s degree.

LICENSES REQUIRED

You must graduate from an American Veterinary Medicine Association approved course.  Then you will need to pass the Veterinary Technician National Examination (VTNE).

AVERAGE SALARY

The average salary of a licensed veterinary technician is $34,420.  That is 26% lower than the average US median income.

PLACES OF EMPLOYMENT

Veterinary Offices and some animal shelters.

DUTIES

Duties – Assist the veterinarian with first aid, and dispensing medication.  You must also be able to take health histories, give vaccinations,  and collect lab samples.  LVTs must be good and comfortable communicators as they are often dealing with owners during stressful times.  In order to be effective, LVTs must have compassion, but also be able to take a step back emotionally when necessary to avoid burnout.

 

DOG GROOMER

EDUCATION REQUIRED

None.  As for most fields, a high school diploma is desirable.

LICENSES REQUIRED

None, but there are certifications available which will make finding employment easier.  The National Dog Groomers Association of America, Inc. (https://www.nationaldoggroomers.com/) hosts workshops and provides certifications.

AVERAGE SALARYJobs working with dogs - a dog groomer brushing a small dog

The average salary of a dog groomer is $25,890.  That is 45% lower than the average US median income.

PLACES OF EMPLOYMENT

A dog groomer can start their own business or work for someone else.  Pet stores, boarding kennels, and even some veterinary offices employ dog groomers.  In my area, there is a mobile dog groomer who comes to the various neighborhoods.  Because pets are a growth industry, there are many opportunities in the field.

DUTIES

The duties of a dog groomer are fairly self-evident from the title.  Be aware that proper grooming also includes toenail trims, anal gland expressions, and removal of eye matter.

 

DOG WALKER

EDUCATION REQUIRED

None.

Another job working with dogs is a dog walker. Here three dogs are going on a walk together

LICENSES REQUIRED

None.

AVERAGE SALARY

The average salary of a dog walker is $24,960.  That is 47% lower than the average US median income.

PLACES OF EMPLOYMENT

You can open your own dog-walking business, or work for someone else. Bear in mind that many people do this as a part-time job for extra income. If you’re reliable and personable, you can quickly build a group of satisfied customers who will return time after time.

DUTIES

Although a walk is the primary duty, good dog walkers also take some time to play with the animal.  Owners hire walkers so that their pet won’t be home alone all day.  This is a great way to get to know all different sorts of dogs, and, perhaps, move into dog training or one of the other career paths.

 

ANIMAL SHELTER MANAGER

EDUCATION REQUIRED

Generally, an Associate’s degree is preferred, but experience in a shelter environment may substitute for education.  There are also programs in shelter management given by some educational organizations.

LICENSES REQUIRED

Depending on whether you want to work at a private shelter or a government-run one, you may need to have a euthanasia license, a certification which allows you to handle drugs, and a CPR certificate.

AVERAGE SALARY

The average salary of an animal shelter manager is $23,950.  That is 49% lower than the average US median income.

PLACES OF EMPLOYMENT

Animal shelters – both private and government funded.

DUTIES

As well as being responsible for animal care, shelter managers need to be able to supervise staff and schedule veterinary appointments and surgeries. They must be able to deal calmly with angry people, and be comfortable saying “no” when that is in the animal’s best interest.  Managers need to process payroll, run social media sites, and interface with other shelters and rescues. They often have to deal with a difficult Board of Directors, and hire and fire employees.  This is not a job for an introvert.

 

KENNEL ATTENDANT (THIS ALSO INCLUDES DOGGY DAY CARE WORKERS)

EDUCATION REQUIRED

None.  Although most shelters prefer a high school degree.  You will be required to have a vehicle available at all times.  Also, the animals will need taken care of no matter what the weather, so you’ll have to be prepared to be at work on your scheduled shift.

LICENSES REQUIRED

None.

AVERAGE SALARY

The average salary of a kennel attendant is $19,947.  That is 58% lower than the average US median income.  Also, bear in mind that most of these jobs are part-time.  Because shelters are charity-based, Boards of Directors don’t want to provide benefits, so hours are strictly limited.  This makes being a kennel attendant a great job for a college student, a stay-at-home parent, or a retired person.

PLACES OF EMPLOYMENT

Animal shelters, boarding kennels, doggy day cares, veterinary offices.

DUTIES

This is the very definition of a “dirty job”. Duties include cleaning kennels, washing animal dishes and bedding, and scooping poop from kennel yards.  You will also feed dogs, and monitor animals for signs of illness.  A good shelter will encourage you to spend some time working with the dogs in order to make them more adoptable. This includes reinforcing training, walking, or just tiring them out with vigorous playtime.

WORKING WITH DOGS

Jobs working with dogs are very rewarding, although not necessarily as regards to pay.  If you love dogs, and can’t think of anything more enjoyable than spending your work day among them, there are plenty of opportunities for employment.  As a society, we are more inclined to get a pet than we were in years past. This means that animal-focused jobs have almost unlimited growth potential.

Happy job hunting!

Three dogs on leashes Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Dog being brushed Photo by Abbie Love on Unsplash

 

**Average salary information collected from Study.com

Woman giving a dog a bath