5 Jobs in Animal Care

The animal care sector is vast, but choosing the right career pathway is vital, here are five jobs you can enter in the animal care industry.


Whether you’ve got a passion for pigs, you’re crazy about cats or you have a love of llamas, working with animals could be the perfect career for you.

There are lots of good jobs with animals, whether you want to go to university or start work as soon as possible. Many involve being physically active and going outdoors in all weathers, but some allow you to stay warm and dry.

Want to work with beautiful creatures? Here are some of the top careers with animals and how to get into them:

1. RSPCA Inspector 

What is an RSPCA Inspector?
RSPCA inspectors investigate complaints about animal cruelty, rescue animals and give advice to animal owners.

Do I need a degree?
No. You can get into the RSPCA by applying directly, however doing a course in animal care will help when you come to apply for a training place with the RSPCA as you’ll be expected to have experience of working with animals and 5 GCSE’s at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) including English and Maths or equivalent. You can also get extra experience by volunteering with an animal welfare charity, animal refuge or at one of the RSPCA’s own animal care centres.

What will I do?
Day-to-day duties for a typical RSPCA Inspector include, but are not limited to:

  • Advise owners how to care for their animals
  • Issue warning notices
  • Rescue animals and arrange medical treatment
  • Inspect kennels, pet shops and agricultural shows
  • Work with local authorities and emergency services to rescue injured animals
  • Write reports
  • Attend court
  • Give talks to educate the public

What sort of salary can I earn?

You can expect to start on a salary of £19,250 and once experienced can go up to £30,000.

2. Vet

What is a vet? 

Vets diagnose and treat sick and injured animals.

Do I need a degree? 
Yes. To become a vet you need to take a veterinary degree that’s approved by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, which will typically last five years. You often need A grades in your A levels or equivalent to get a place and your subjects should include biology and at least one other science subject or maths – different universities ask for different combinations. You’ll also need several weeks of relevant work experience in a variety of settings, such as vets’ surgeries, animal rescue centres, farms or zoos.
A step down from this however is a Veterinary Nurse which you can study full time for a Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing at college.

What will I do?

In general veterinary practice you could:

  • Diagnose and treat sick and injured animals
  • Perform operations
  • Carry out blood analyses, X-rays and scans
  • Provide care for animals in veterinary hospitals
  • Carry out regular health checks and give vaccinations
  • Check farm animals and advise on how to stop diseases spreading

What sort of salary can I earn?

What you may not be aware of is just how lucrative a career in this industry can be. You can earn anywhere in the region of £50,000 with a starting salary of around £30,000.

3. Zookeeper

What is a zookeeper?
Zookeepers look after animals in zoos, safari parks and aquariums. You’ll prepare food, observe the animals, maybe give talks to visitors and clean out enclosures.

Do I need a degree?
No. However zoos vary in what qualifications they ask for and it can depend on what their zookeepers are going to do. You will however need lots of voluntary experience (sometimes one or two years’ worth) such as an unpaid internship at a zoo. You could do a course before applying to a zoo for a trainee zookeeper’s job. Relevant courses include:

What will I do?

In this role you could:

  • Prepare food and feed animals
  • cCean out enclosures and change bedding
  • Check for signs of distress or disease
  • Work with a vet to care for sick animals
  • Check enclosures for signs of wear or damage
  • Monitor conditions like temperature and humidity
  • Keep daily animal welfare records
  • Supervise trainee keepers and animal care workers
  • Run education workshops and give talks to visitors

What sort of salary can I earn?
You can expect to start on a salary of £14,000 and once experienced can go up to £25,000.

4. Animal Care Worker

What is an Animal Care Worker?
Animal care workers look after animals in kennels, rescue centres, sanctuaries and a host of other establishments. This could involve, feeding, cleaning, exercising and playing with the animals.

Do I need a degree? 
No, however some experience working with animals or a college course in animal care may be necessary, for example:

What will I do? 
You could work at an animal welfare centre, at a wildlife park or in kennels so your working environment may be dirty and outdoors some of the time and can be physically demanding. 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

What sort of salary can I earn? 

You can expect to start on a salary of £13,500 and once experienced can go up to £22,000.

5. Dog Groomer

What is a Dog Groomer?

Dog groomers keep dogs’ coats in good condition, and give their owners advice on coat care, grooming and diet. 

Dog grooming is a growing industry, with more and more dog owners taking advantage of the services provided by grooming salons especially as increasing numbers of grooming salons are becoming part of other pet-related establishments such as pet shops, garden centres, boarding and breeding kennels. There are also mobile groomers who visit the animals in their own homes.

Do I need a degree?

No. If you would like to get into grooming, you can either learn on-the-job skills with an experienced qualified groomer or you could take a college course in animal care or dog grooming.

What will I do?
With the many types of coat that each breed of dog has, each breed requires different grooming, specialist skills and techniques in their preparation. The work involves bathing, shampooing, drying and clipping, trimming and brushing a variety of long and short coated dogs. Day-to-day tasks include:

  • Prepare the dog for bathing
  • Shampoo and dry the dog’s coat
  • Check for common disorders and parasites
  • Shape a dog’s coat with electric clippers or a stripping knife
  • Use scissors to trim and style the dog’s coat
  • Manage the dog’s behaviour while in your care
  • Keep accurate records

What sort of salary can I earn? 

You can expect to start on a salary of £13,000 and once experienced can go up to £20,000

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