How Much Money Does a Taxidermist Make in a Year?

If you love art, working with wildlife subjects and developing unique new creations, a career in taxidermy may give you exactly what you're looking for. If you're considering the idea of taking on the profession of a taxidermist, make sure that you have an educated estimate of the salary you could make each year in this career.

Job Description

Many taxidermists work independently instead of as hired employees. They own their own businesses and take clients to earn money. A taxidermist's job involves adjusting animal skins over models and making them look life-like. In many cases, taxidermists are considered artists or scupltors and sell their work to decorators, hobbyists, museums and galleries.

Training Requirements

A job as a taxidermist is a position requiring a significant amount of skill, technique and some creativity. Professionals can develop these skills by either attending specialized arts courses at a college or by attending a taxidermy school. Some universities even offer taxidermy as a major. In some cases a taxidermist can learn the trade by working under an experienced professional as an apprentice before going on to start his own operation. Some taxidermist apprentices receive pay, while others work as unpaid interns who receive training in exchange for their work.

Salary Per Year

A taxidermist is technically considered a "craft artist" according to the definition provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They are commonly self-employed individuals who "make a wide variety of objects, mostly by hand, that are sold in their own studios, in retail outlets, or at arts-and-crafts shows." The average salary for someone working in the capacity of a taxidermist is about $32,010 according to May 2010 estimates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Other Considerations

To work in taxidermy, most states require you to get a license or permit. It is a job that requires you to follow certain laws regarding the handling of animals and wildlife management. For instance, in Alaska you have to get a license from the Department of Fish and Game as well as the United States Fish & Wildlife Service. The permitting requirements may include taking a test, paying a fee and in some cases securing business insurance.

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