Wildlife Careers for People Without a Degree

Wildlife careers are available across several different fields and some do not require a postsecondary degree. Learn about some of the wildlife careers for people without a degree, as well as each position's median salary and expected job growth.

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Wildlife Career Options that for People Without a Degree

People who do not have a postsecondary degree, but are interested in working with wildlife, have several career options available to them. These jobs vary across different fields and most of these careers work hands-on with various kinds of wildlife. We discuss a handful of the wildlife careers that do not require a degree below.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Forest and Conservation Workers $26,940 4%
Animal Care and Service Workers $22,230 11%
Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers $25,250 9%
Fishing and Hunting Workers $29,280 -1% (Decline)
Photographers $34,070 3%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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  • Animal Behavior
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Career Information for Wildlife Careers for People Without a Degree

Forest and Conservation Workers

Forest and conservation workers work to protect and improve the quality of forests, which may include some wildlife management activities. They may help improve various wildlife habitats by planting new trees, removing diseased plants and trees and spraying fungicides and other chemicals to protect tree health. These workers usually work under foresters and conservation technicians and may perform a variety of additional conservation activities, like fighting forest fires or participating in tree-measuring projects. Forest and conservation workers train on-the-job and only need a high school diploma.

Animal Care and Service Workers

Several different job titles fall under the category of animal care and service workers, including keepers and animal trainers, which are most likely to have contact with different wild animals. Keepers are responsible for feeding and caring for various wild animals in zoos and often clean the animals' living area and answer questions about the animals from the public. Most animal trainers work with domesticated animals, but some may work with marine mammals or other wildlife to train them to perform specific actions for movies or performances. The majority of animal care and service workers learn on-the-job and need a high school diploma.

Veterinary Assistants and Laboratory Animal Caretakers

While most veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers will work with pets and other domesticated animals, some may work in wildlife rehabilitation clinics or with veterinarians who treat wildlife as well. In general, these workers help care for animals by feeding, bathing and exercising them, as well as helping to handle and restrain them during medical procedures and exams. They may also provide medication, immunizations, and first aid to these animals as required, typically under the supervision of veterinarians, scientists or veterinary technologists. Veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers should have a high school diploma and experience working with animals, but learn most of their skills on-the-job.

Fishing and Hunting Workers

Fishing and hunting workers use a variety of equipment to track and capture and/or kill different kinds of wildlife. Fishermen typically work on boats with large nets or cages to track and catch schools of fish, shellfish, lobsters and more. Hunters and trappers may track a wide variety of animals that they capture or kill with traps, guns, bows and other weapons to sell the animal's meat and other byproducts. Fishing and hunting workers do not need a formal education and learn their trade on-the-job.


Although photographers do not typically work hands-on with wildlife, some photographers may specialize in taking photos of various kinds of wildlife. This may require photographers to travel and/or spend some time outdoors to capture images of animals using digital cameras. Photographers usually edit their pictures with photo-enhancing software and then sell or display their work. Most photographers do not need a formal education, but must understand the various aspects of photography.

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