Industries

animal care

Apprenticeships, Degree Apprenticeships and Work Experience

Animal Care

Animal Care Apprenticeships are a rewarding opportunity to start your career. Whether you're interested in their psychology, you're keen to train them or even look after them. There is a chance for you to harness your skills in many different ways.

Industry Summary

In 2017, PFMA conducted a survey and found that there were 54 million pets across the UK. This doesn't include any farm animals so considering them too there are many animals that you can look after. As you can imagine the industry is in very high demand!

If you're an animal lover, there really is no better way to feed your passion than working and caring for them on a daily basis. From working as a trainer in kennels and catteries, to becoming a zookeeper – there's a wide choice of great roles out there.

From Pets at Home, veterinary surgeries and even zoos, there are thousands of opportunities across the country for those of you budding to have a career in animal care.

What options can I take for a career in animal care?

Work Experience

Animal care is incredibly popular, so work experience is essential for your success. No matter what route you're considering taking, you need to be able to show that you are really interested in the industry. One of the ways you can show this is by getting lots of work experience in the area of animal care you want to work in. Whether that is with a local vet, volunteering at a dog club, farm or with horses.

Apprenticeships

If you opt for an animal care apprenticeship, you'll be earning a salary, working alongside experienced employees and working towards a qualification! Although very competitive, an animal care apprenticeship will get you great work experience, setting you up for an amazing career. At the moment, there aren't any degree apprenticeships available in animal care, however other apprenticeships in animal care include:

  • Level 2 – Animal Care and Welfare Assistant
  • Level 2 – Equine Groom
  • Level 3 – Senior Equine Groom
  • Level 3 – Veterinary nurse
  • Level 4 – Animal Trainer

University

There are a lot of options available to you, if you choose to go to university to start your career in animal care. You don't need to get a degree in order to start your career in the industry, however some options will require you to get one, for example if you want to be a vet.

As an undergraduate, you'll learn the theoretical knowledge behind all things animals which you'll be able to apply into your work when you graduate. You'll also have the opportunity to choose the topics to specialise in and it is very likely that you'll get to spend time with animals throughout your studies. We'd also recommend looking at degrees with a year in industry as it is very competitive. Here are some examples of degrees in the animal care you could do:

  • Animal Behaviour MSci (Hons)
  • Animal Behaviour and Welfare BSc (Hons)
  • Animal Behaviour and Training BSc (Hons)
  • Animal Behaviour and Wildlife Conservation BSc (Hons)
  • Animal Behaviour Studies BSc (Hons)
  • Canine and Feline Behaviour and Welfare BSc (Hons)
  • Equine Behavioural Science BSc (Hons)
  • Human-Animal Interaction BSc (Hons)
  • Veterinary Nursing and Applied Animal Behaviour BSc (Hons)
  • BVSc Veterinary Science

Other routes

If you're more interested in the administration side of working with animals or a job role that doesn't require qualifications when you start your career, you could get a job straight away. We would recommend to you to get work experience with an employer to show that you are really interested and that will also make it easier for you to find permanent employment. You can also look at doing qualifications in animal care independently for example doing a dog walking or training qualification.

Now it’s time to begin your animal care search

Career Progression, Discover Your Future

Managers and proprietors in agriculture and horticulture

Work Description

Managers and proprietors in this unit group plan, organise and co-ordinate the activities and resources of farming establishments cultivating arable crops, fruits, trees and shrubs, and/or raising cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry. Managers and proprietors in horticulture oversee the production of plants for wholesale and/or retail.

Qualification

Whilst no formal academic qualifications are required by proprietors in this area, most farm and horticultural managers have a vocational agricultural qualification (such as a BTEC/SQA award) and prior practical farming experience. Many farm and horticultural management jobs require a degree or equivalent qualification in a relevant subject. A small number of large farm and farm consultancy companies run graduate management training schemes. NVQs/SVQs in Agriculture are available at Level 4.

Job Tasks

determines financial, staffing and other short and long-term needs; produces and maintains records of production, finance and breeding; decides or advises on the types of crops and/or produce to be grown or livestock raised; plans intensity and sequence of farm or horticultural operations and orders seed, fertiliser, equipment and other supplies; markets and arranges for the sale of crops, livestock and other farm or horticultural produce.

Related Jobs

Maker, wine Manager, farm Manager, nursery Manager, operations Manager, production Manager, stock, farm Manager, stock, live Manager, stock Manager Manager Manager Manager Manager Owner, farm Owner Owner Owner Viticulturist 

Estimated Pay

Information on weekly pay (average, median and decile) is taken from a combination of two sources: the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE); and the Labour Force Survey (LFS) (both conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS)). ASHE is widely regarded as the most reliable source of information on Pay and Hours, however it does not include information on pay by qualification as well as some other characteristics (such as self-employment).

Unemployment Data

The level and rate of UK unemployment for this career path measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) as a percentage, using the International Labour Organisation's definition of unemployment.

Projected Employment Levels

Estimated Hours

Veterinarians

Work Description

Veterinarians diagnose and treat animal injuries, diseases and disorders, and advise on preventative action. They may work in practices, specialising according to their location in either a rural or urban area, or in the public sector or associated industries such as pharmaceuticals, food production or drug regulation.

Qualification

Entrants will require a university degree in veterinary science and registration as a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). Pre-entry experience in a veterinary practice may be required for entry to a university veterinary school.

Job Tasks

examines animals, diagnoses condition and prescribes and administers appropriate drugs, dressings, etc., and arranges or undertakes any necessary x-ray or other tests; inoculates animals against communicable diseases; administers local or general anaesthetics and performs surgery; investigates outbreaks of animal diseases and advises owners on feeding, breeding and general care; euthanases old, sick, terminally ill and unwanted animals; performs tasks relating to food safety policy, regulation of veterinary drugs, quality control of veterinary products; performs ante-mortem inspection of animals destined for the food chain, and animal post-mortem examinations; carries out expert witness work and undertakes teaching of veterinary students; maintains records, raises and forwards reports and certificates in compliance with current legislation.

Related Jobs

Consultant, veterinary Inspector, veterinary MRCVS Officer, field, veterinary Officer, investigating, veterinary Officer, investigation, veterinary Officer, research, veterinary Officer, veterinary Practitioner, veterinary Scientist, veterinary Surgeon, veterinary Vet Veterinarian 

Estimated Pay

Information on weekly pay (average, median and decile) is taken from a combination of two sources: the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE); and the Labour Force Survey (LFS) (both conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS)). ASHE is widely regarded as the most reliable source of information on Pay and Hours, however it does not include information on pay by qualification as well as some other characteristics (such as self-employment).

Unemployment Data

The level and rate of UK unemployment for this career path measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) as a percentage, using the International Labour Organisation's definition of unemployment.

Projected Employment Levels

Estimated Hours

Farmers

Work Description

Farmers and related occupations cultivate arable crops, fruits and trees, and raise cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry and other livestock for consumption.

Qualification

No formal academic qualifications are required, but prior practical farming experience is normally needed. Training is typically received on-the-job and via a variety of vocational qualifications in agriculture, including NVQs/SVQs at Levels 1 to 4. Apprenticeships are also available in some areas.

Job Tasks

feeds and waters animals, takes responsibility for livestock health and welfare, treats minor ailments and calls vet if necessary; plants, propagates, sprays, fertilises and harvests field crops; undertakes farm maintenance tasks such as fencing, hedging, cleaning and building maintenance; operates and maintains farm machinery such as combine harvesters, straw balers, milking machines and tractors; arranges for the sale of crops, livestock and other farm produce; maintains records of production, finance and breeding; ensures good environmental practice is observed in all tasks.

Related Jobs

Agent, farm Agent, livestock Agriculturist Bailiff, estate Bailiff, farm Bailiff, land Breeder Breeder Contractor, agricultural Contractor, farm Contractor, ploughing Contractor Crofter Farmer, fish Farmer, game Farmer, salmon Farmer, trout Farmer Farmer Fieldman Fieldsman Foreman, farm Foreman Foreman-ganger Grieve Holder, small Hwsmyn Keeper, pig Keeper, poultry Landholder Manager, dairy Manager, herd Manager, livestock Manager, pig Manager, poultry Manager, unit, pig Producer, egg Rearer, calf Rearer, cattle Rearer, poultry Smallholder Sprayer, crop Steward, estate Steward, farm Technician, agricultural Technician, farm 

Estimated Pay

Information on weekly pay (average, median and decile) is taken from a combination of two sources: the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE); and the Labour Force Survey (LFS) (both conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS)). ASHE is widely regarded as the most reliable source of information on Pay and Hours, however it does not include information on pay by qualification as well as some other characteristics (such as self-employment).

Unemployment Data

The level and rate of UK unemployment for this career path measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) as a percentage, using the International Labour Organisation's definition of unemployment.

Projected Employment Levels

Estimated Hours

Agricultural and fishing trades n.e.c.

Work Description

Job holders in this unit group perform a variety of agricultural and fishing tasks not elsewhere classified in MINOR GROUP 511: Agricultural and Related Trades.

Qualification

No formal academic qualifications are required. Training is typically received on-the-job. A variety of vocational and academic qualifications in fish farming, forestry, horse and other animal care are available. Professional qualifications are also available and may be mandatory in some areas.

Job Tasks

nets river fish and feeds and maintains them in spawning pens, cultivates and harvests oysters, mussels and clams on natural and artificial beds, treats water and diseased fish, and empties and cleans outdoor tanks; navigates and maintains shipping vessels, assists with the shooting, hauling and repairing of fishing nets, prepares, lays and empties baited pots, and guts, sorts and stows fish; establishes and maintains forest nurseries, forestry and woodland, and diagnoses and treats diseased trees; patrols a designated area of the countryside to monitor damage, erosion, access to rights of way and the state of footpaths and other facilities, and carries out remedial maintenance work as necessary; monitors and maintains the level of wildfowl on public and private estates.

Related Jobs

Apiarist Arboriculturist Arborist Assistant, arboricultural Beekeeper Breeder Captain Consultant, arboricultural Contractor, timber Falconer Farmer, bee Fisherman, share Fisherman Fisherman-crofter Foreman Gamekeeper Ghillie Gillie Guide, angling Keeper, bee Keeper, fish Keeper, game Keeper, river Manager, piggery Officer, acquisition Officer, arboricultural Officer, forest Officer, forestry Officer, tree Skipper, trawler Skipper Stalker, deer Surgeon, tree Warden, game Worker, arboricultural 

Estimated Pay

Information on weekly pay (average, median and decile) is taken from a combination of two sources: the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE); and the Labour Force Survey (LFS) (both conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS)). ASHE is widely regarded as the most reliable source of information on Pay and Hours, however it does not include information on pay by qualification as well as some other characteristics (such as self-employment).

Unemployment Data

The level and rate of UK unemployment for this career path measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) as a percentage, using the International Labour Organisation's definition of unemployment.

Projected Employment Levels

Estimated Hours

Veterinary nurses

Work Description

Veterinary nurses provide assistance to veterinarians in the treatment and care of sick or injured animals.

Qualification

Entrants require GCSEs/S grades or an equivalent qualification. Entrants must obtain employment at an approved veterinary practice to gain practical experience and tuition with an employer for a minimum duration of two years. Candidates must also pass professional examinations before qualifying as a veterinary nurse.

Job Tasks

assists the veterinary surgeon during surgical and medical treatments of animals; prepares operating theatre, sterilises equipment and assists in theatre as required; dispenses and administers medication and applies dressings to animals under direction from the veterinarian; handles animals during treatment; collects and analyses blood, urine and other samples; cares for animals in hospital accommodation and keeps accurate records; maintains the biosecurity of the veterinary premises; advises clients on preventative medicine to maintain appropriate animal health and welfare.

Related Jobs

Nurse, animal Nurse, canine Nurse, veterinary 

Estimated Pay

Information on weekly pay (average, median and decile) is taken from a combination of two sources: the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE); and the Labour Force Survey (LFS) (both conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS)). ASHE is widely regarded as the most reliable source of information on Pay and Hours, however it does not include information on pay by qualification as well as some other characteristics (such as self-employment).

Unemployment Data

The level and rate of UK unemployment for this career path measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) as a percentage, using the International Labour Organisation's definition of unemployment.

Projected Employment Levels

Estimated Hours

Pest control officers

Work Description

Pest control officers investigate the presence of pests that are hazardous to public health or cause nuisance, lay traps to capture pests and treat areas of infestation.

Qualification

There are no formal academic entry qualifications, though some employers may expect entrants to possess GCSEs/S grades. Training is provided on-the-job, supplemented by specialist courses covering different aspects of pest control.

Job Tasks

receives reports from public, property owners and authorities regarding the presence of pests and infestations; visits sites to investigate the presence of rodents, infestations and other pests that may be hazardous to public health; lays traps to capture pests, and fumigates and disinfects areas to remove infestations; advises property owners on courses of action to prevent the return of pests; liaises with environmental health officers, housing officers and other relevant authorities where measures on a large scale are required to remove pests; returns to sites to examine contents of traps laid and the continued presence of reported pests; treats wood for effects of termites, woodworm and other infestations of timber.

Related Jobs

Catcher, mole Catcher, rat Controller, pest Destroyer Disinfector Exterminator Fumigator Inspector, control, pest Inspector, infestation Inspector, rodent Officer, control, pest Officer, control, rodent Officer, disinfecting Officer, pest Officer, rodent Operative, rodent Operator, beetle, colorado Operator, control, pest Operator, rodent Specialist, woodworm Sprayer Surveyor, control, pest Surveyor, infestation, timber Surveyor Technician, control, pest Technician, service, prevention, pest 

Estimated Pay

Information on weekly pay (average, median and decile) is taken from a combination of two sources: the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE); and the Labour Force Survey (LFS) (both conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS)). ASHE is widely regarded as the most reliable source of information on Pay and Hours, however it does not include information on pay by qualification as well as some other characteristics (such as self-employment).

Unemployment Data

The level and rate of UK unemployment for this career path measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) as a percentage, using the International Labour Organisation's definition of unemployment.

Projected Employment Levels

Estimated Hours

Animal care services occupations n.e.c.

Work Description

Workers in this unit group care for animals held in kennels, stables, zoos and similar establishments, provide specialised training, grooming, clipping and trimming services for animals, and searches for and captures stray or nuisance dogs in public areas and perform a variety of animal care tasks not elsewhere classified in MINOR GROUP 613: Animal Care and Control Services.

Qualification

Entry is possible without formal academic qualifications, although some employers may ask for GCSEs/S grades. There is a variety of vocational qualifications available, including NVQs/SVQs in Animal Care at Levels 1 and 2, in Dog Grooming at Levels 2 and 3, and BTEC qualifications and apprenticeships relating to Horse Care.

Job Tasks

feeds, washes, grooms, trims and exercises animals; cleans animals’ quarters and renews bedding as necessary; houses, feeds, exercises, trains, grooms horses, dogs and other animals in preparation for entry to shows, races and other events; checks animals for illness, treats minor ailments or calls for vet if further treatment is required; meets prospective owners and advises on animal selection and animal care; patrols public areas to search for and capture stray or nuisance dogs, and transports captured animals to kennels.

Related Jobs

Aquarist Assistant, care, animal Assistant, cattery Assistant, clinic, animal Assistant, kennel Assistant, livestock Assistant, nursing, veterinary Assistant, surgeon's, veterinary Assistant, technical, veterinarian's Assistant, technical Assistant, trek Assistant, veterinary Assistant, welfare, animal Attendant, animal Attendant, health, animal Attendant, kennel Attendant Auxiliary, nursing, animal Beautician, canine Boy, stable Breaker, horse Breeder Breeder Breeder Breeder Carer, animal Carer, canine Carer, cat Carer, pet Careworker, animal Clipper, dog Clipper, horse Foreman, stable Foreman Girl, stable Groom Groom-gardener Groomer, dog Groomsman Hand, kennel Hand, stable Hand, stud Handler, animal Handler, dog Headman Helper, stable Horseman Hostler Hunter Huntsman Keeper, animal Keeper, head Keeper, horse, head Keeper, horse Keeper, kennel Keeper, menagerie Keeper, stable, livery Keeper, stable Keeper, zoo Keeper Lad, head Lad, stable Leader, trek Maid, kennel Man, yard Manager, stable Minder, animal Officer, collection, animal Officer, welfare, animal Ostler Servant, hunt Stableman Stripper, dog Studhand Technician, animal Technician, laboratory, care, animal Technician Trainer, animal Trainer, dog Trainer, greyhound Trainer, horse Trainer, pony Trimmer, barefoot, equine Walker, dog Warden, dog Whip Whipper-in Worker, care, animal Worker, kennel Yardman Yardsman 

Estimated Pay

Information on weekly pay (average, median and decile) is taken from a combination of two sources: the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE); and the Labour Force Survey (LFS) (both conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS)). ASHE is widely regarded as the most reliable source of information on Pay and Hours, however it does not include information on pay by qualification as well as some other characteristics (such as self-employment).

Unemployment Data

The level and rate of UK unemployment for this career path measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) as a percentage, using the International Labour Organisation's definition of unemployment.

Projected Employment Levels

Estimated Hours

Farm workers

Work Description

Farm workers perform a variety of tasks, by hand and machine, to produce and harvest crops and to breed and rear cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry.

Qualification

There are no minimum academic entry requirements. Training is typically received on-the-job, supplemented by vocational training at an agricultural college. A variety of NVQs/SVQs in Agriculture are available at Levels 1 and 2, together with BTEC diplomas and apprenticeships in some areas.

Job Tasks

operates farm machinery to prepare soil, fertilise and treat crops; cultivates growing crops by hoeing, spraying and thinning as necessary; weighs and measures foodstuffs, feeds animals and checks them for any signs of disease; cleans barns, sheds, pens, yards, incubators and breeding units and sterilises milking and other equipment as necessary; treats minor ailments and assists veterinary surgeon as required; moves and handles livestock and tends them during birth and rearing of young; carries out maintenance on farm buildings, hedges, ditches and erects and repairs fences.

Related Jobs

Assistant, farm Assistant, general Assistant, poultry Attendant, pig Attendant, poultry Cattleman Collector, egg Cowman Craftsman, agricultural Cropper Dairymaid Dairyman Hand, dairy Hand, farm Handler, poultry Handyman, farm Help, farm Herdsman Keeper, cow Keeper, stock Labourer, agricultural Labourer, estate Labourer, farm Labourer Lamber Landworker Man, gang Man, job, odd Man, poultry Man, yard Master, gang Operative, agricultural Pigman Shepherd Stockman Stocksman Supervisor, unit, poultry Wife, farmer's Worker, agricultural Worker, farm Worker, field Worker, general Worker, land Worker, poultry Worker, wire Yardman Yardsman 

Estimated Pay

Information on weekly pay (average, median and decile) is taken from a combination of two sources: the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE); and the Labour Force Survey (LFS) (both conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS)). ASHE is widely regarded as the most reliable source of information on Pay and Hours, however it does not include information on pay by qualification as well as some other characteristics (such as self-employment).

Unemployment Data

The level and rate of UK unemployment for this career path measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) as a percentage, using the International Labour Organisation's definition of unemployment.

Projected Employment Levels

Estimated Hours

Fishing and other elementary agriculture occupations n.e.c.

Work Description

Job holders in this unit group perform a variety of tasks in relation to the breeding and rearing of animals and fish, catch fish at sea and from inland waterways, assist in the picking and lifting of crops, plant and maintain hedges, oversee the incubation and hatching of eggs and perform other fishing and elementary agricultural tasks not elsewhere classified in MINOR GROUP 911: Elementary Agricultural Occupations.

Qualification

There are no minimum academic entry requirements. Training is typically received on-the-job, supplemented by vocational training at an agricultural college. A variety of NVQs/SVQs in Agriculture, Fish Husbandry and Fishing Vessel Operations is available at Levels 1 and 2. Fishermen/women are required to undertake safety courses before and during the early stages of employment.

Job Tasks

assists with the shooting, hauling and repairing of nets, prepares, lays and empties baited pots at intervals, operates winches and lifting gear, and guts, sorts and stows fish; harvests oysters, mussels, clams and seaweed off natural or artificial beds, nets river fish and maintains them in spawning pens, assists with feeding and water treatment, and empties and cleans outdoor tanks; cleans animals’ quarters and renews bedding as necessary; extracts semen for storage, selects appropriate semen from store, injects recipient animal and issues certificate giving pedigree and date of insemination; incubates eggs in hatchery and supplies chicks for meat and egg production and game birds for reserves; plants cuttings or shrubs, maintains hedges by clipping, pruning and re-planting, and picks fruit, vegetables, hops and flowers; performs other farming and related tasks not elsewhere classified including sorting and marking livestock, catching rabbits, cutting peat, shearing sheep and sexing chickens.

Related Jobs

Assistant, farm, fish Assistant, farm, mink Assistant, general Assistant, hatchery Attendant, aquarium Attendant, nursery Bo'sun Boatswain Bosun Breeder Breeder Breeder Carter Catcher, bird Catcher, chicken Catcher, rabbit Chick-sexer Chopper, firewood Classifier, livestock Cockler Collector, fern Collector, kelp Collector, moss Collector, reed Collector, seaweed Crabber Cultivator, shellfish Cutter, grass Cutter, hay Cutter, heath Cutter, hedge Cutter, mushroom Cutter, peat Cutter, reed Cutter, straw Cutter, vegetable Cutter, watercress Digger, bait Digger, peat Dredgeman Dredger Dresser, potato Drover Gatherer, mussel Gatherer, seaweed Gatherer, watercress Gatherer Grader, pig Grader, stock, live Hand, deck Hand, maintenance Hand, nursery Hand, second Hand, spare Hand, third Hand, trawler Handyman, estate Handyman, gardener's Harpooner Harvester, crop Harvester Hatcher, fish Heathman Heathsman Hedger Hedger and ditcher Incubationist Inseminator, artificial Irrigator Labourer, garden Labourer, garden and parks Labourer, gardener's Labourer, landscape Labourer, parks Labourer, policy Labourer Labourer Lairman Layer, hedge Layman, mussel Loader, timber Man, decoy Man, seed Man, trawler Mariner Mate, boat, fishing Mate, trawler Mate Member, crew Milker Milkman Mower, lawn Musseler Operator, hatchery Picker, cockle Picker, flower Picker, fruit Picker, hop Picker, moss Picker, mushroom Picker, pea Picker, potato Picker Pisciculturist Puller, pea Riddler, potato Seaman Sexer, chick Shearer, sheep Shrimper Teamsman Teamster Technician, insemination, artificial Trapper, rabbit Trapper Trusser Vaccinator Warder, river Washer Watcher, river Weeder Worker, bed, oyster Worker, bulb Worker, crop Worker, estate Worker, farm, fish Worker, farm, salmon Worker, farm, trout Worker, farm Worker, garden, market Worker, general Worker, glass Worker, glasshouse Worker, greenhouse Worker, hatchery Worker, hatchery Worker, horticultural Worker, nursery Worker, peat Worker, seasonal Worker, turf Worker, watercress 

Estimated Pay

Information on weekly pay (average, median and decile) is taken from a combination of two sources: the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE); and the Labour Force Survey (LFS) (both conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS)). ASHE is widely regarded as the most reliable source of information on Pay and Hours, however it does not include information on pay by qualification as well as some other characteristics (such as self-employment).

Unemployment Data

The level and rate of UK unemployment for this career path measured by the Labour Force Survey (LFS) as a percentage, using the International Labour Organisation's definition of unemployment.

Projected Employment Levels

Estimated Hours

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