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Animal care worker

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Animal care workers look after animals in places like kennels, rescue centres or sanctuaries. 

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £11,000 to £15,000 or more average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements, but some employers may ask for qualifications like GCSEs.

Experience of working with animals will help. You could gain this through voluntary work.

Taking a college course in an area like animal care could help you gain some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

Lantra has more information on being an animal care worker.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • the ability to handle animals patiently, gently and confidently
  • the ability to cope with upsetting situations like working with injured or badly treated animals
  • a willingness to do dirty or unpleasant tasks
  • the ability to take responsibility for the duty of care of animals

3. What you'll do

You’ll look after animals in places like kennels, animal rescue centres and sanctuaries. You could also work in animal hospitals, Blue Cross adoption centres or as an animal collection officer for the RSPCA.

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • preparing food and feeding, cleaning and grooming the animals
  • exercising dogs in a yard or taking them for walks
  • cleaning out kennels, pens and cages, and changing bedding
  • looking after animals who become ill or distressed
  • answering queries from colleagues and visitors
  • ensuring that animal enclosures are maintained

Depending on your role, you may also have to keep records, take bookings and advise owners on how to look after their animals.

You may specialise in animal massage or hydrotherapy, working with animals recovering from injury or undergoing treatment for mobility problems.

4. Salary

Starter: £11,000

Experienced: £13,000

Highly Experienced: £15,000 or more

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You may work shifts, including early starts and some evenings and weekends.

Working with animals can involve hard physical work, and you may work outdoors in all weathers.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to supervisor or manager, or become self-employed.
You could also use your experience to move into other animal care careers, like veterinary nursing.

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Last updated: 13 September 2018