Wildlife Rehabilitation Jobs: Salary and Career Facts

Learn about the various jobs in wildlife rehabilitation, including their education requirements and salary information. Find out about job duties and which careers require licensure. Schools offering Animal Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Careers Exist in Wildlife Rehabilitation?

The field of wildlife rehabilitation encompasses several different jobs. There is the wildlife rehabilitator who works with veterinarians to determine the extent of an animal's injuries and the best path to care for the animal. If you work as a technician, you work at an animal rehabilitation center and care for animals, train new employees or educate the public.

As a wildlife rehabilitator, you would be responsible for all aspects of animal care, inventory control, training and supervision of other personnel.

As a wildlife technician or caretaker, you would care for animals in the rehabilitation or care center, ensure the cleanliness of the animal areas, and assess animals to ensure that their food and medical needs are met. Other duties would include completion of lab work and radiology, and creation and maintenance of medical records for animals.

What Training and Education are Required?

For a wildlife rehabilitator, wildlife caretaker or rehabilitation technician, a bachelor's degree may prove most helpful in securing a job. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that animal caretakers at zoos must have a bachelor's degree (www.bls.gov). Many colleges offer bachelor's degrees in biology or animal ecology, which may be suitable for work as a wildlife rehabilitation professional. In these degree programs, you can focus your work on wildlife management, while taking classes in wildlife conservation, exploring wildlife policies, and studying plants, mammals, birds and habitat management.

A wildlife rehabilitator is required to have a license, according to the National Wildlife Rehabilitator's Association (NWRA) (www.nwrawildlife.org). You'll also need to obtain a permit from the state where you're working, or in the case of rehabilitators who want to work with migratory birds, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (www.fws.gov).

What Could My Salary Be?

According to the BLS, in 2009, wildlife caretakers in the 25th-75th percentile earned $17,110-$24,190 per year. For the 132,860 non-farm animal caretakers employed in the U.S. in 2009, the mean hourly wage was $10.50, also according to the BLS.

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