Average Salary: $26,000
Expected Lifetime Earnings: $1,085,000
Depending on your experience and geographic location, you'll be earning between $20,000 and $40,000 a year as a zookeeper (source). If you work for a larger zoo, you'll make more money. The same goes for zookeepers with a degree in biology, zoology, or something else that's useful for working with animals.
This is a career that'll reward you for the time you put in, so it's important to start early. The more volunteer work you do, and the more certifications you earn, and the more hours you log, the more it'll help you when it comes to raises, promotions, and scooping less poop in your working life.
We're just kidding. You work at a zoo. You'll be dealing with poop, in all the varied colors and consistencies the animal kingdom can offer, for the rest of your life.
If you're looking to make more serious cash but still stay involved with animals, this gig can certainly lead to bigger and better things down the line. Being a zookeeper can lead to work as an animal scientist or zoologist, and you can rake in some big bucks if you make a name for yourself—you might end up earning hundreds of thousands of dollars to work with your choice of furry, slimy, or scaly friends.
And who knows, you might become the next Jane Goodall—start an institute, have movies made about you, and speak at universities all over the world. How does that affect your salary, you ask? You should see Jane Goodall's house.