Agribusiness, Horticulture & Fishing
Animal Care Worker
Animal care workers provide care for animals. They feed, water, groom, bathe, and exercise pets and other non-farm animals.
Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent
What does an Animal Care Worker do?
Animal care and service workers provide care for animals. They feed, water, groom, bathe, and exercise pets and other non-farm animals. Job tasks vary by position and place of work.
As an animal care worker, your tasks could include:
- preparing food and feeding animals
- keeping animals clean and grooming them
- taking dogs for walks or using exercise pens
- cleaning out kennels, pens and cages, and changing water and bedding
- looking after unwell animals or those in distress
- answering questions and inquiries from colleagues and visitors
- ensuring that animal enclosures are secure and well maintained.
In some jobs you could have other duties, for example, keeping records, taking bookings and advising owners on how to look after their animals.
There may also be opportunities to specialise in hydrotherapy or physiotherapy, working with animals recovering from injury or having behavioural issues.
Key skills and interests
To become an animal care worker, you would need:
- a strong interest in working with animals
- the ability to handle animals calmly and confidently
- the ability to deal with distressing situations like working with injured or abused animals
- a willingness to do unpleasant or messy tasks
- the ability to take responsibility for the welfare of animals.
Working hours and conditions
As animals must be looked after seven days a week, you may work shifts. This could often include starting early, and some evenings and weekends.
Working with animals can involve hard physical work, and you could spend time working outdoors in all weathers. You could look after animals in a number of different places, like kennels, animal rescue centres and animal sanctuaries. You could also work as an animal collection officer for the RSPCA, or in animal care at an animal hospital.
How to become an Animal Care Worker?
Entry Level Education
You can work as an animal care worker without formal qualifications. You would get some training on the job. Your employment prospects may be improved if you have a VET qualification in animal studies, animal technology, captive animals, companion animal services or a related area.
Overall employment of animal care and service workers is projected to grow faster than the average for all occupations.
Animal care and service workers will continue to be needed as the variety and number of pet services increases. Employment in kennels, grooming shops, and pet stores is projected to increase to keep up with the growing demand for animal care.
The strongest growth with regard to animal service workers is likely to be in training of companion pets, such as dogs.