Animal Handlers


Animal Handlers


Anybody who works directly with animals, from the caretaker of your local park's petting zoo to the wildlife biologist who reintroduces wild animals to national parks, is an animal handler. Animal handlers care for, train, and study animals in such places as zoos, parks, research laboratories, animal breeding facilities, rodeos, and museums. An animal handler's job involves feeding the animals, cleaning their living and sleeping areas, preparing medications, and other aspects of basic care. A handler may also be actively involved in...

Quick Facts


Median Salary



Employment Prospects



Minimum Education Level

High School Diploma



Part time, volunteer



Business Management


Personality Traits



The opportunity to work directly with a variety of different animals is often reward enough for animal handlers. Someone who owns a stable of well-trained animals used in performances may be able to negotiate for large contracts, or a successful dog breeder may make a comfortable living with an established business, but most animal handlers make do with small salaries and hourly wages. Wages va...

Work Environment

Depending on the lives of the animals for which they care, handlers usually work both indoors and outdoors. But the indoors is often nothing more than an animal shelter, and not much different from the pens outdoors. Be prepared for smelly, messy, and dusty environments; if you have allergies, they'll be under constant assault. It will be both to your benefit, and the animal's, to make sure you...


Employment for nonfarm animal caretakers is expected to grow much faster than the average for all careers through 2028, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Employment for animal trainers is expected to grow more slowly during this same time period. With the popularity of cable channels such as the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, as well as television specials and videos featuring an...