When one thinks of working with animals, the job that most likely comes to mind is that of a veterinarian. Such a job requires a fair amount of schooling and a passion for the welfare of animals, though other jobs working with animals are available which require less formal education. On the job training may be sufficient to become an animal groomer, for example, and little formal education will be necessary to obtain such a position. Other jobs, such as zookeeper positions and conservationists, will require more education.
A veterinarian is a person who diagnoses injuries and illnesses in a wide variety of animals and treats those illnesses or injuries when possible. A veterinarian will spend a significant amount of time each day working with animals, but he or she will also need to work closely with other staff as well as pet owners. If the animal doctor works at a clinic, he or she is likely to treat domesticated animals such as cats, dogs, birds, and even reptiles, though he or she is less likely to work with wild animals. Some veterinarians work for zoos or other conservation areas, in which case he or she may work with larger animals that have been placed in captivity. Working with animals in such a setting can be dangerous, so the veterinarian will need additional training to ensure safety.
Marine biologists study animals that live in water, which means formal education in the form of a bachelor's degree or higher will be necessary to work in this field. Marine biologists may end up working with animals directly, or they may end up doing research without directly contacting animals. Other biologists may perform similar functions on dry land rather than in the water, studying land animals rather than aquatic life.
Sometimes one of the most difficult jobs working with animals is preventing direct contact with animals in the first place. Park rangers and attendants must often educate visitors about proper treatment of animals and give uninformed guests insight as to how animals live and why they should be left alone in their natural habitats. Some park rangers are responsible for repairing or preserving those habitats as well, thereby ensuring the safety and well being of a particular animal or group of animals. Conservationists often perform similar tasks, though they may have a more active hand in forming laws that protect wildlife and habitats as well.