Animal care worker
Animal care workers look after animals in kennels, rescue centres and sanctuaries.
£13,500 Starter - £22,000 Experienced
38 to 40 a week (evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts)
Where to start
You can get into this job through
a college coursean apprenticeshipvolunteering
You could take a college course, in animal care, for example: a Level 1 Certificate in Introduction to Animal Care or a Level 2 Diploma in Animal Care.
You may need 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or the equivalent, for a Level 1 course. You'll need 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a Level 2 course.
You can do a Level 2 (intermediate) apprenticeship as an animal care and welfare assistant.
You'll usually need some GCSEs. Usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for a Level 2 apprenticeship.
It'll help to have some experience of working with animals before you start looking for a job. Volunteering can sometimes lead to paid work.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to use your initiative
- to be flexible and open to change
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- customer service skills
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
As an animal care worker, you'll:
- monitor animals' health
- clean out kennels, cages or stables
- prepare food and help out at feeding times
- clean and groom animals
- look after animals that become ill or distressed
- answer queries from colleagues and visitors
- exercise dogs in a yard or take them for walks
You could work at an animal welfare centre, at a wildlife park or in kennels.
Your working environment may be physically demanding, dirty and outdoors some of the time.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could become a supervisor or manager, or work self-employed.
You could also use your experience to move into other animal care careers, like veterinary nursing, or find work in a zoo or wildlife park. There may also be opportunities to go into training, for example working with assistance dogs.