Animal Adoption Counselor Average Salary


Animal adoption counselors assist people who want to adopt unwanted or abandoned animals in shelters or other animal care facilities. They interview applicants and check on new pet owners after the adoption has been completed. Oftentimes, animal adoption counselors carry out other animal care tasks at their places of employment. This includes feeding, medicating and vaccinating animals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a federal department that maintains salary data, categorizes animal adoption counselors as nonfarm animal caretakers.

Annual Salary

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the wages of nonfarm animal care workers are relatively low. The median annual salary of nonfarm animal caretakers was $19,360 in May 2008. The median brought home between $16,720 and $24,300. The lowest-earning tenth earned less than $15,140 and the best-compensated 10 percent earned more than $31,590. Those working in the social advocacy organization industry, which is where many animal adoption counselors are employed, earn $18,640 per year on average.

Hourly Wage

  • Some adoption counselors work on an hourly basis. The average hourly wage for nonfarm animal care workers was $10.36, according to a May 2008 salary report by the bureau. The median hourly wage was $9.31. The bottom 10 percent of nonfarm animal care workers earned less than $7.28 per hour. The highest-earning tenth made upward of $15.19.

Work Experience

  • The longer a nonfarm animal care worker has been on the job, the higher her salary will be. According to a March 2010 salary report by, the median hourly wage range for nonfarm animal care workers was $8.18 through $12.56. Nonfarm animal care workers with between five and nine years of work experience can expect to earn between $10.08 and $13.12, according to the report.

Geographic Location

  • Another factor that can impact the earnings of an animal adoption counselor is location. In general, nonfarm animal caretakers who work in urban areas earn more than their counterparts in rural parts of the state. This can be attributed to the relatively higher cost of living in metropolitan areas. Average salaries for the occupation also differ from state to state. The highest paid nonfarm animal caretakers live in Hawaii, according to a May 2008 customized salary report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They earn $28,890 per year on average. With average salaries of $25,700 and $24,860, those living in Rhode Island and Massachusetts also are comparatively well-compensated. On the other end of the earnings spectrum are nonfarm animal caretakers living in Nebraska, North Dakota and Arkansas, who earn less than $19,000 each year.

Career Outlook

  • According to a report by the bureau, the employment of animal caretakers is projected to grow at a rate of 21 percent between 2008 and 2018, which is much faster than the national average. Growth will be driven by the growing popularity of pets among the public. Moreover, according to the bureau, the American public is increasingly recognizing the cruelty of animal abuse and is committing private funds for animal shelters, where many animal adoption counselors work.

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  • Photo Credit Homeless dog in Kennel image by dinahr from
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