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Animal technician Animal technologist

Animal technicians look after animals in laboratories.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £15,000 to £40,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 per week

1. Entry requirements

You’ll need a love of animals and an interest in their care and welfare.

Most employers will expect you to have GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, in English, maths and science.

It may help if you have A levels, an HND or a degree in a relevant subject, like:

  • animal care
  • animal studies
  • biology
  • pharmacology

You could do a college course in animal care skills or animal management.

Working with animals may help improve your chances of finding work. You could get paid or unpaid work experience:

  • on a farm
  • in a cattery, kennel, pet rescue centre, vets or zoo
  • in a scientific setting, like as a laboratory assistant
You could get into this job through an apprenticeship

The Institute of Animal Technology (IAT) has more information about becoming an animal technician.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • maths skills
  • close attention to detail
  • the ability to keep accurate records
  • IT skills

3. What you'll do

You’ll make sure that animals are well looked after and humanely treated in animal facilities, like:

  • contract research facilities
  • laboratory animal breeders
  • medical and veterinary colleges
  • pharmaceutical companies
  • universities

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • providing exercise, food and water
  • carrying out regular observations
  • making sure that animals are clean, comfortable and behaving as expected
  • controlling heating, lighting and humidity
  • monitoring weight and growth
  • keeping accurate records
You may also set up scientific studies, breed animals, and train other animal technicians.

4. Salary

Starter: £15,000

Experienced: up to £20,000

Highly Experienced: £20,000 to £40,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work 37 hours a week on a rota, including weekends, bank holidays, and nights. Part-time work may be available.

You’ll mainly be based in purpose-built animal facilities, but there’ll be some outdoor work. 

You’ll wear protective clothing and shoes, a face mask, and a hat or hair covering.

The working temperature, humidity, noise and lighting of your working environment will be strictly controlled.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a senior animal technologist, unit or section supervisor or manager. 

You could also specialise in breeding, immunology or training.

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Last updated: 18 August 2017