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Careers in Animal Rights: Job Options and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to work in a position involving animal rights. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and prospects to find out if this is the career for you.

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Essential Information

Careers in animal rights are spread across many fields. Lawyers, veterinarians, writers and graphic designers have all used their skills to advocate for animal rights. Many animal rights careers are with non-profit groups, since much of the work for animal rights is done through these organizations.

Required Education Dependent upon the field
Other Requirements A love for animals and willingness to work for lower pay common
Projected Job Growth 12% from 2012-2022 for veterinarians*
Median Salary (2014) $87,590 annually for veterinarians*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Employment Options in Animal Rights

Careers involving animal rights, or animal welfare, cover a broad spectrum. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) notes that those who want to work for animal rights may work in such positions as lawyers, veterinarians or animal control officers (www.aspca.org). Animal rights activists can also find additional opportunities as lobbyists, humane educators, animal therapists and humane law enforcement workers. Humane associations across the country have a need for workers; however, many positions may be on a volunteer basis.

Those interested in animal rights may also find creative ways to advocate for animals as writers or graphic designers. Writers and designers may develop press releases about animal rights issues or content for brochures, Web pages and blogs. Outreach position titles include researcher and animal abuse investigator.

A host of organizations exist to fight for animal rights. These organizations, like any business or other organization, have day-to-day operation needs. Many of them offer employment in areas including:

  • Accounting
  • Marketing
  • Corporate relations
  • Development
  • Reception

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) offers a list of employment and internship opportunities at law firms and non-profit organizations (www.aldf.org). The Center for Animal Law Studies, in collaboration with the ALDF, offers both legal and employment resources.

Job Requirements for Working for Animal Rights

Requirements for animal rights positions will depend greatly on the specific job. General requirements will, however, include a love of animals, and in many cases, a willingness to work for lower pay. Most positions in animal rights will be with non-profit organizations.

The ASPCA details more specific job requirements for certain animal rights careers, depending on the particular career path. The ASPCA job listings indicate that employers in animal rights organizations who are hiring to fill business-related positions, such as accounting and marketing, prefer applicants with a college degree.

Positions working directly with animals will most likely require a degree in biology, animal science, zoology or a related field. When applying for design and writing positions, applicants may find that a portfolio showcasing their work and abilities is helpful.

More advanced careers involving animal advocacy, such as a being a veterinarian or animal rights lawyer, will require a graduate degree and licensure.

Career and Salary Information

Following are examples of career outlooks and salary information for some of the jobs discussed above. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects that lawyers will see 10% job growth from 2012-2022; the agency reports that lawyers earned a median salary of $114,970 in 2014 (www.bls.gov).The job outlook for veterinarians is slightly better - the BLS predicts an increase in jobs of 12% during that same decade; the median salary for veterinarian jobs was $87,590 in 2014.

The U.S. Department of Labor's O*Net OnLine reports that animal control worker jobs are expected to increase at an average rate of 8%-14% from 2012-2022 (www.onetonline.org). This source also reported that the median salary for animal control workers was $32,560 in 2014.

Writers are expected to see slower-than-average job growth from 2012-2022, according to the BLS, an increase of 3%. The median salary for writers in 2014 was $58,850. Graphic designer jobs are predicted to increase 7% from 2012-2022, and the median salary for jobs in this field was $45,900 in 2014.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics