Animal lovers who want to pursue a top paying animal career need to complete an undergraduate degree, and some positions may require a master’s degree or attendance of veterinary school. Top paying animal careers compensate workers with salaries of more than $60,000 per year and provide the opportunity to increase the quality of life of wild, domestic and farm animals.
Agricultural Animal Scientist
Agricultural animal scientists work with farm animals to increase dairy and egg production. They also increase the quality and quantity of meat produced from pigs, chickens and cows. Entry-level positions require a bachelor’s degree, and research positions need a graduate degree. As of May 2009, agricultural animal scientists averaged $64,510 per year, and professionals paid on an hourly basis averaged $31.02 per hour. Agricultural animal scientists employed in Maryland, Missouri and New Jersey earned the highest annual salaries in the nation as of May 2009, with compensation ranging from $68,350 to $105,750, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Wildlife Biologist or Zoologist
Wildlife biologists and zoologists may specialize in studying a specific group of animals, such as primates or reptiles. Professionals in this occupation may study animals in their natural habitat, collect data regarding social hierarchy and behavior characteristics and perform experiments on animals. Wildlife biologists and zoologists may pursue either a master’s degree or doctorate in addition to a bachelor’s degree. As of May 2009, wildlife biologists and zoologists received an average salary of $60,670, and professionals paid on an hourly basis averaged $29.17 an hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Wildlife biologists and zoologists who worked in California, Maryland and Rhode Island earned the highest annual salaries in the nation as of May 2009, with salary ranging from $73,160 to $91,050.
A veterinarian diagnoses and treats conditions and illnesses associated with companion, farm and exotic animals. Veterinarians also provide preventive care, such as vaccinations. A veterinarian holds an undergraduate degree in addition to a D.V.M. degree. Veterinarians attend school for a minimum of eight years. As of May 2009, veterinarians received an average salary of $90,110 and professionals paid on an hourly basis averaged $43.32 per hour, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Veterinarians employed in Connecticut, Florida and New Jersey earned the highest annual salaries in the nation as of May 2009, with salaries ranging from $105,540 to $117,140.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Animal Scientists Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2009
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2009
- U.S. Department of Labor-Bureau of Labor Statistics: Veterinarians Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2009
- U.S. Department of Labor-Bureau of Labor Statistics: Agricultural and Food Scientists
- U.S. Department of Labor-Bureau of Labor Statistics: Biological Scientists
- Photo Credit animal image by Lovrencg from Fotolia.com
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