Archives for March 2011

Animal Careers for the Future

animal careers for the future

Animal career courses are exciting and new additions to many courses of study, including within the legal field, but that is not the only one seeing changes and passion about animals within the student body.

In 2008 a course called, “Animals, Culture and Food” was offered at the University of Iowa and it was so popular, another was quickly schedule along with a course on ancient and modern human relationships with dogs.

More and more animal classes are cropping up in the areas of law, religion, ethics, literature, visual art, ecology, sociology and other studies as the animal world becomes more complex and expands.

These animal studies were once hard to find, in fact, when I was accepted to the University of California system–US Davis did not have a behavior course and we discussed a “special major” type of program instead.

Today animal certifications and specialty courses delve into a wide variety of areas.

When I taught for the largest adult education provider in the USA, my courses were novel–but today they would be consider common place.

What is different is that high education institutions are offering more and more options in their humanities and social science departments.

Scholars involved in these practices can be found at the discussion portal called, H-Animal.

But perhaps one of the fastest growing fields is on the legal front since over 100 (actually closer to 120) law schools in North America and Canada offer law courses with an animal-centric bent.

But before 2000 there were only about nine law schools with animal courses.

When I added the book, Dog Law to my library–this career option was at its very early stages (1999).

One of the leaders in this field is the Animal League Defense Fund’s animal law program which reflects the interest people have in the human-animal bond but that is not seen as much in the legal realm as it is in society.

So today there are a wide variety of animal cases involving constitutional, family, criminal and estate law.

The wave of animal law began to become noticeable when both Harvard Law School and the Georgetown University Law Center announced courses on animal law (1999).

When I was working on my book that explored animals and ceremonies a few years ago, I talked with Paul Waldau.

Waldau has been a guest lecturer for legal courses and has taught ethics to veterinarians and many courses of animal in religion.

He believes that the interaction between humans and animals needs understanding and that it should spread beyond the legal realm to teachers, economists, communities of faith, journalists and other fields of specialty.

An increase in different education programs that involve animals is sparking change and excitement within many institutions.

I’ll be getting into more topics in the future but if you are interested in law–this is an area of specialty you might consider.

As always, I encourage you to keep an eye out for the Animal Career Secrets which will highlight trends and specific programs.

In the meantime, sign up on the email list for first notification!

Animal Job Forecast

animal job forecast

So I found some interesting statistics when looking into animals jobs and the forecast for careers with animals.

In this case I was looking into the domestic animal realm—specifically companion animals.

Animal care and service workers held 220,400 jobs in 2008. Nearly 4 out of 5 worked as nonfarm animal caretakers; the remainder worked as animal trainers.

Nonfarm animal caretakers often worked in boarding kennels, animal shelters, rescue leagues, stables, grooming shops, pet stores, animal hospitals, and veterinary offices.

A significant number of caretakers worked for animal humane societies, racing stables, dog and horse racetrack operators, zoos, theme parks, circuses, and other amusement and recreation services.

Employment of animal trainers is concentrated in animal services that specialize in training and in commercial sports, where racehorses and dogs are trained.

About 54 percent of animal trainers were self-employed.

Animal Job Outlook

Because many workers leave this occupation each year, there will be excellent job opportunities for most positions. Much faster than average employment growth also will add to job openings.

However, keen competition is expected for jobs as zookeepers and marine mammal trainers.

Employment change. Employment of animal care and service workers is expected to grow 21 percent over the 2008–18 decade, much faster than the average for all occupations.

The companion pet population, which drives employment of animal caretakers in kennels, grooming shops, animal shelters, and veterinary clinics and hospitals, is anticipated to increase.

Pet owners—including a large number of baby boomers, whose disposable income is expected to increase as they age—are expected to increasingly purchase grooming services, daily and overnight boarding services, training services, and veterinary services, resulting in more jobs for animal care and service workers.

As more pet owners consider their pets part of the family, demand for luxury animal services and the willingness to spend greater amounts of money on pets should continue to grow.

Demand for marine mammal trainers, on the other hand, should grow slowly.

Demand for animal care and service workers in animal shelters is expected to grow as communities increasingly recognize the connection between animal abuse and abuse toward humans and continue to commit private funds to animal shelters, many of which are working hand in hand with social service agencies and law enforcement teams.

Animal Job Prospects

Due to employment growth and the need to replace workers who leave the occupation, job opportunities for most positions should be excellent.

The need to replace pet sitters, dog walkers, kennel attendants, and animal control and shelter workers leaving the field will create the overwhelming majority of job openings.

Many animal caretaker jobs require little or no training and have flexible work schedules, making them suitable for people seeking a first job or for temporary or part-time work.

Prospective groomers also will face excellent opportunities as the companion dog population is expected to grow and services such as mobile grooming continue to grow in popularity.

The outlook for caretakers in zoos and aquariums, however, is not favorable, due to slow job growth and keen competition for the few positions.

Prospective mammal trainers also will face keen competition as the number of applicants greatly exceeds the number of available positions.

Prospective horse trainers should anticipate an equally challenging labor market because the number of entry-level positions is limited.

Dog trainers, however, should experience conditions that are more favorable, driven by their owners’ desire to instill obedience in their pet. Opportunities for dog trainers should be best in large metropolitan areas.

Job opportunities for animal care and service workers may vary from year to year because the strength of the economy affects demand for these workers.

Pet owners tend to spend more on animal services when the economy is strong. (Read the entire report here)

So, if you are looking for an animal career—you’d do best to consider the pet industry or target the companion animal field.

Photo Credit: Gunni Cool