Careers with animals and salary

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Did you ever wonder what a particular zoo position pays? Many career seekers dream of working at a zoo but are unsure of what they could expect to earn. Here is an overview of popular zoo positions and usual salary ranges for each type of work:

Zoo Veterinarian

General duties include performing surgeries, assisting with difficult births, cleaning teeth, taking x-rays and ultrasounds, suturing wounds, and evaluating animals that have shown significant behavioral or physiological changes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, veterinarians earned an average yearly salary of $82, 040 per year in 2011. Board certified specialists in zoological medicine can expected to earn much higher salaries due to the advanced education required for achieving diplomate status. In 2010 there were 133 board certified specialists in zoological medicine according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.


Zoologists employed by zoos are usually involved with conducting research studies, developing captive breeding programs, and analyzing data from the zoo’s collection of animals. Subspecialties in the field of zoology include mammalogy (mammals), herpetology (reptiles), ichthyology (fish), and ornithology (birds). Zoologists generally earn between $60, 000 and $70, 000 per year, depending on their level of education and the nature of their work.

Zoo Curator

Zoo curators oversee keepers, veterinarians, and other members of the support staff as they provide care for the animals under their supervision. They are involved with all day to day decisions, developing research projects, and acquiring new animals for exhibits and breeding programs. Curators may specialize further as curator of a specific group of animals (i.e. reptiles or hoofstock), exhibits, education, conservation, research, or as the general curator (supervising all other specialty curators). According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, curators earned a median annual salary of $48, 800 per year in the most recent salary survey of 2011. The highest 10 percent of curators reportedly earned more than $87, 380 per year.

Zoo Veterinary Technician

It's Interesting

  • Glenda Goertzen (born January 14, 1967) is a Canadian author.
    Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Goertzen received a BFA in Film and Video from the University of Regina in 1989, but after working in television for several years switched careers to library work and writing.
    Goertzen is the author of the children's novels The Prairie Dogs (2005...

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