Careers in Animal Rescue Organizations: Job Options and Requirements

Degrees in animal rescue are geared towards people looking to work with animals. Find out about the curricula of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for animal rescue graduates.

If you are interested in working for an animal rescue organization, consider pursuing a career as a veterinary technician, veterinarian, or administrative service manager. While there are other entry-level positions only need a high school diploma, these professions require postsecondary training. Veterinary technicians need an associate's degree, administrative service managers are required to have a bachelor's degree, and a doctoral degree is needed to be a veterinarian.

Essential Information

Animal rescue jobs are ideal for those looking to work one-on-one with different types of animals, such as dogs, cats and even horses. A high school diploma is needed to get an entry-level position in this field, but management positions typically require individuals to have a bachelor's relating to the animal care field. Animal shelters and breed rescue centers are some of the environments students may find themselves working in after graduation. Work experience is a huge plus for students going into this career field.

Career Veterinary Technician Veterinarian Administrative Service Manager
Education Requirements Associate's degree Doctoral or professional degree Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Pass a credentialing exam Licensure required Certification preferred
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 19% 9% 8%
Mean Salary (2015)* $33,280 annually $99,000 annually $94,840 annually

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

A lot of career options in the animal rescue industry just require a high school diploma, but management positions usually require at least a bachelor's. Below are descriptions and overviews of potential careers for animal rescue graduates.

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Veterinary Technician

As a veterinary technician, individuals focus on the behavior and condition of different animals. Emergency first aid and anesthesia are given to animals in critical condition needing treatment. Laboratory tests are given, which include urine and blood tests. Medications are also administered by these professionals. The BLS reports that these professionals make a mean annual salary of $33,280 as of May 2015. The employment opportunities in this industry are expected to grow 19% between 2014 and 2024.


People who want to help animals can become a veterinarian, which requires at least a doctoral or professional degree. Veterinarians look at animals and diagnose their medical problems. Wounds are treated and surgeries are performed if the medical conditions are severe. Medication is also prescribed to animals suffering, and veterinarians can use x-ray machines to pinpoint problem areas. As of May 2015, veterinarians make a mean annual salary of $99,000, according to the BLS. From 2014 to 2024, the employment opportunities are expected to grow 9%.

Administrative Service Manager

Those looking to work in the administrative field dealing with animals can become an administrative service manager. These professionals supervise clerical and administrative personnel, making sure the operations of an animal clinic or shelter run smoothly. Records are managed and updated regularly, and goals are also set for the department. The facility is also monitored by these professionals, ensuring the environment is safe for people and animals. Employment opportunities from 2014 to 2024 are expected to grow 8%. As of May 2015, the BLS reports that these professionals make a mean annual salary of $94,840.

Professionals interested in working in animal rescue may be employed at breed rescue centers or shelters, where they work with animals such as cats, dogs, and horses. Veterinary technicians, veterinarians, and administrative service managers can all serve important roles in animal rescue organizations, depending on what your specific interests are.

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