The Best Scholarships to Propel Your Animal Care Career Forward: A Guide for 2016

By Paula Fitzsimmons

We need more, not fewer, people willing to work in careers that promote protection for animals, the environment, and the disenfranchised. These careers often require applicants to have some level of higher education – whether via certificate, technical, or college degree. Soaring tuition prices and high interest loans have made school more inaccessible than it once was. And that’s a shame . . . I believe anyone who wants to go to school to better themselves and make a difference, should have the opportunity.

All is not lost.

The good news is that whether you want to major in wildlife biology, veterinary medicine, nonprofit management, or other meaningful work, there are scholarships tailored to your goals. The following scholarships are those that cater to students interested in pursuing work that betters the lives of animals or their habitats.

But don’t limit yourself to just this list. There is scholarship money to be had regardless of which major you choose. Check out the box below for resources to help you find some of these.

For 2016, you’ll want to start applying to these as soon as possible. Or you can hold on to this list for the next academic year – although there’s no guarantee any of these will still be available.

Humane Education Network, in cooperation with Animal Welfare Institute awards $5,000.00 total to high school students who exemplify humane treatment of animals. Not technically a scholarship, this contest requires applicants to submit an essay or video.


The Vegetarian Resource Group awards $20,000 in college scholarships – one for $10,000 and two consisting of $5,000 each. The application process requires high school students to write an essay describing how they’ve promoted a vegetarian & humane lifestyle in their schools.


The Shaw-Worth Memorial Scholarship, administered by the Humane Society of the United States, offers a $2,500 college scholarship to a New England-based high school student who has demonstrated compassion towards animals in an actionable way. It’s not based on scholastic standing.


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Where to find scholarship money

• Schools: One of the best resources for finding free money is through the college or tech school you plan to attend. Some of these scholarships are specific to each respective school, so there would obviously be less competition.

Fraternities and clubs: Do you or a family member belong to a service fraternity or club? Both regional, and national organizations such as Rotary Club, can be good places to check for potential scholarships.

• Places of employment: Some companies offer scholarships for their employees and family members. Something to consider when you look for your next job. offers resources, including a list of scholarship & resource sites.

• Scholarship search directory sites, such as Fastweb.


The Animal Legal Defense Fund sponsors Advancement of Animal Law Scholarships for aspiring animal protection lawyers. It includes three $5,000 awards, as well as several $1,000 second place awards. In order to be considered, you have to be an active member of a Student ALDF chapter.


The Animal Behavior Society offers several grants for graduate level research work. Awards are from $500 to $2,000, and include the E.O. Wilson Conservation Award, The Barlow Award, and The Amy R. Samuels Cetacean Behavior and Conservation Award.


For students who want to pursue an advanced degree in marine biology (or a similar oceanography-related degree), the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarship Program has a program. It’s administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.


Dog bed maker, P.L.A.Y awards a $1,000 prize via its Scholars Helping Collars Scholarship program. They award the tuition money to a deserving high school student who is passionate about helping animals.


Oxbow Animal Health, manufacturer of small mammal food and supplies offers different categories of awards – a High School Scholarship, Veterinary Medicine Scholarship, Veterinary Technology Scholarship, and an Undergraduate Scholarship.


The National Garden Clubs offers 35 scholarships per year, each for $3,500.00. You don’t necessarily have to be a horticulture or botany major, either – eligible majors including wildlife science, biology, and habitat ecology.


Are there any scholarships you would recommend for those interested in pursuing an animal protection career?



  1. Kristy Goldstein |

    Do you know of any scholarships available to a 62 year old Widow ?

    • Animal Jobs Digest |

      Hi Kristy,

      Have you seen my article about animal-loving job opportunities for baby boomers? I’d check out the links in the resource box – these are organizations and sites dedicated to those of us in our second act. I’d also suggest checking directories like Grantspace and FastWeb – both links are within the article.

      Also, look for my new list, which should be coming out later this year.

      I hope this helps.

      All the best.


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