How to Become a Wildlife Rehabilitator

To obtain a wildlife rehabilitation permit, applicants must pass a state examination, complete at least 25 hours of hands-on activity and 6 hours of instructional training, and get their facilities approved by the state. Contact the department directly for more information and an application.
  1. Pass the wildlife rehabilitator examination with a score of 80% or higher. See Registering for the Wildlife Rehabilitator Examination below.
  2. Complete and submit the Wildlife Rehabilitator License Application (an application form and instructions are provided after passing the exam).

If you have ever dreamed of working with animals or of having a career that allows you to give back to the environment, then the field of wildlife rehabilitation may be the perfect fit for you. Wildlife rehabilitation is a career that involves caring for injured, orphaned, or otherwise distressed wildlife so that they can be released back into the wild. Working as a wildlife rehabilitator requires a special combination of knowledge, skills, and dedication. In this blog post, we will explore what it takes to become a wildlife rehabilitator and the rewards that come with a career in this field. We will cover the qualifications, educational requirements, and what you can expect when working as a wildlife rehabilitator. Whether you are just beginning to consider a career in wildlife rehabilitation or you are already on the path to becoming one, this post will provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

Pros and cons of being a wildlife rehabilitator and how I became one

How to become a wildlife rehabilitator

Although there are no formal requirements for becoming a wildlife rehabilitator, you should think about taking the following actions:

1. Get the proper vaccinations and permits

To care for animals and release them back into the wild, wildlife rehabilitators will also need the appropriate state and federal licenses and permits.

2. Gain experience

Although a bachelor’s degree or online courses in biology or animal science are not necessary to work as a wildlife rehabilitator, they would be advantageous. While working as a volunteer at a wildlife rehabilitation center or for a veterinarian gives you practical experience, completing an internship can also help you learn. You might also think about joining a related organization.

3. Get certified

4. Consider where you want to work

A zoo, aquarium, or museum are examples of a large facility or institution where a wildlife rehabilitator might work. Decide where you think your skills would be most useful, then look for jobs there. Consider applying for a permanent position at the rehabilitation facility or zoo where you completed your internship.

5. Apply for wildlife rehabilitator jobs

Start your job search once you’ve decided what kind of facility you want to work for. It’s crucial to consider the particular educational or skill requirements of the employer in addition to your location. Remember that jobs as wildlife rehabilitators are more prevalent in densely populated areas, so make sure you possess all the necessary qualifications for the position.

What does a wildlife rehabilitator do?

In order to get different wild animals that are ill, hurt, orphaned back into the wild, wildlife rehabilitators examine and treat them. To make sure that these animals can survive in their natural habitat, they frequently collaborate with veterinarians.

Wildlife caretakers can devote their time to tending to a variety of mammals, birds, and reptiles. Duties include:

Wildlife rehabilitator FAQs

Here are some responses to typical queries about working as a wildlife rehabilitation specialist:

What critical skills do wildlife rehabilitators need?

How much do wildlife rehabilitators make?

How can I get experience to become a wildlife rehabilitator?

Think about doing an internship or volunteering at a facility that houses various native and exotic species, such as an animal conservation center, veterinary clinic, or wildlife rehabilitation facility. This will give you practical experience caring for various wildlife animals.

Are there risks in being a wildlife rehabilitator?

While working with different species may result in injuries, wearing safety gear and having the necessary vaccinations should help you avoid any serious complications. To avoid bites and scratches, wildlife rehabilitation specialists wear gloves and pay attention to an animal’s movements.

Can wildlife rehabilitators work with specific animals?

Some centers and facilities specialize in certain types of species. Those who work with reptiles or small mammals, for instance, may also work with native and exotic animals.

What jobs are similar to wildlife rehabilitators?

There are numerous options available if you’re interested in pursuing a career as a wildlife rehabilitator or another position that allows you to work with animals. Heres just a few related career paths:


Can you make money as a wildlife rehabilitator?

Salary. Many wildlife rehabilitators carry out their work from home with little to no pay. Volunteer positions with nonprofit organizations are also common. The typical salary for wildlife rehabilitation specialists working for an organization is between $25,000 and $35,000.

What major is best for wildlife rehabilitation?

The NWRA suggests a college degree in biology or ecology for the majority of rehabilitators. Ornithology, mammalogy, animal behavior, ecology, and other related wildlife and environmental subjects ought to be covered in the curriculum.

How do I become a licensed wildlife rehabilitator in California?

Most of the time will be spent planning and preparing food for the animals, as well as cleaning laundry, dishes, and cages, for entry-level wildlife rehabilitators. But if you’re thinking about going into wildlife rehabilitation as a way to escape people and spend your days patching up bird wings, reconsider.

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