Especially for Youth

Many young people care deeply about animals and nature, and they want to start helping other creatures right away. You don't have to wait to be a professional to be effective. Start today! A good way to start preparing for a humane career is to develop a humane lifestyle.


Check out the latest issue of KIND News for reports of kids of all ages finding creative ways to help animals.

Join or form a club for teens who want to take action on behalf of animals or nature. For ideas about what other groups are doing, visit HumaneTeen. Working with other caring teens is a great way to get energized and start preparing for your career!

Humane Teen Community Join this e-mail list to get up-to-date action alerts delivered to your email. Also, check out Humane Academy with career advice, free activity guides, courses, and more. Free, from HumaneTeen.

Learn about farm animal issues by visiting the new Farm Sanctuary website for kids of all ages.

Help your family to be responsible pet owners.

Make your backyard more hospitable to wild animals. Learn about the HSUS Urban Wildlife Sanctuary.

Look for Career Role Models

  • Who do you know with a job you think you'd like?
  • How did those people prepare for their careers?
  • Can you interview them or, even better, shadow them around through a workday?
  • Learn more about the value of job shadowing.

Lots of people want to help you get started.

  • Talk to the counselors at your school or college.
  • Ask librarians for help finding written resources.
  • Talk to parents, community members, and other adults.
  • Don't be afraid to write, interview, or email strangers in the fields that most interest you.
  • is a web site that connects teens with adult mentors in many fields.

Opportunities in the Field

Look especially for volunteer and part-time job opportunities.

  • is a teen career site where you can enter your zip code and learn about part-time and summer job openings near you.
  • uses your zip code to locate local volunteer work of many kinds.
  • The Student Conservation Association offers volunteer opportunites, internships, and jobs in all 50 states in environmental education, park interpretation, and other fields.
  • Check with your local animal shelter or wildlife rehabilitation clinic. (Check the phone book or visit
  • Find out about ways your local shelter can incorporate Service Learning into its programs (and include you!)

Find out more about a one or two-week program offered by Tufts University for middle school, high school, college students, and adults. Adventures in Veterinary Medicine includes clinical and surgical rotations with fourth-year veterinary students, hands-on exercises with animals, discussion, and practical advice about preparing for the challenge of being accepted to veterinary school.

Life After High School

Make the most of your education. Learn the basic skills in school that you'll need to pursue the career of your dreams such as:

  • Computer keyboarding
  • Internet navigation
  • Writing, speaking, and languages
  • Math and problem solving
  • Research and study skills
  • Most important, learn how to do your best!

What will you do after graduation?

  • High school students need to think about what further education and training they need for the career they want.
  • Start researching to find the best training programs or colleges for the field that interests you most.
  • For a brief list of possible colleges and training programs, see Working with Wildlife: A Guide to Careers in the Animal World, by Thane Maynard (Franklin Watts, 1999).

Researching Colleges?

American Humanics - a national alliance of colleges, universities, and nonprofits whose mission is to educate, prepare, and certify professionals to strengthen and lead nonprofit organizations. The HSUS is one of American Humanics' Nonprofit Partners.

If college isn't the way you want to go...

Not everyone wants or needs to go to college, especially right after high school. Think about what you want to accomplish; do you need a four year degree or would other types of training and experience be just as valuable? An excellent resource from the "Success Without College" series is Careers with Animals, by Audrey Pavla (Barron's, 2001).

Or consider taking a "Gap" year. In Europe, it's traditional in many countries to delay college for a year to travel, work in the community, and mature by learning more about yourself and the world. Students concerned about animals can use the time to volunteer or work and learn more about what humane career might be the right one.

Gap resources include:

  • Audubon Expedition Institute offers semester- or year-long "gap" study programs that travel to study natural areas in Alaska, California, and other states.
  • To read about the experiences of 26 students trying "gap" years, get Taking Time Off, by Ron Lieber and Colin Hall (Random House, 2003).

A few final "Do's" for young people.

  • DO study hard, read about people in different fields, volunteer and work to gain experience.
  • DO ask questions and stay curious.
  • DO think about your skills, talents, and interests and look for jobs that are a good fit.
  • DO get outside, enjoy nature, have fun with animals and other people who love them.
  • DO stay flexible and open to new ideas. The best job for you may not have been invented yet!

And a few final "Don'ts".

  • DON'T have your parents do the research and make job contacts for you.
  • DON'T be shy about asking for advice. People want to help!
  • DON'T be afraid to try new things. You may not have the skills yet, but you can learn.
  • DON'T think one person can't make a difference!

Your librarian can help you find more websites, books, and magazines on animals that would be appropriate to your age and interest.


Visit This comprehensive site offers articles with advice on job searching, filling out applications, interview strategies, and much more. Included also are links to many job banks for teens and other young people looking for jobs and volunteer work.

All of My Patients Are Under the Bed by Louis J. Camuti

Shelter Cats by Karen Commings

A Dog's Best Friend: An Activity Book for Kids and Their Dogs by Lisa Rosenthal

Carol Lea Benjamin's many books on dogs, such as Second Hand Dog and Dog Training for Kids.