one thing you can do is see if you have a zoo around and if they have a volunteer program. my cousin in arizona used to volunteer at the zoo and she got to feed the bats and play with the baby tigers and stuff. she was out of school, like around 21, and her school was nothing to do with the animals. i think that is a great way to start.
"He was a beast who lost his fangs, that is why he had to die, Spike...." - Vicious