Animal care worker

kennel worker cattery worker animal boarding assistant animal care assistant animal welfare assistant animal care auxiliary
Care

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would look after animals living in kennels, catteries or rescue centres and keep them healthy and happy.

You could care for dogs and cats, or other animals such as rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs. You might care for donkeys, horses or even parrots.

You would:

  • Prepare food and feed the animals
  • Keep animals clean and groom them
  • Exercise dogs in a yard or take them for walks
  • Clean out kennels, pens and cages, and change bedding
  • Look after animals who become ill or distressed
  • Answer queries from colleagues and visitors
  • Maintain the animal enclosures

If you work in an animal sanctuary or rescue centre some animals may be injured or distressed when they arrive so you'd have to try to keep them calm. You'd need to be gentle and confident when you handle them during their treatment.

In some jobs you might also keep records, take bookings and advise owners on how to look after their animals.

You could also get a job as:

  • An animal welfare assistant at an animal adoption or re-homing centre
  • An animal collection officer for the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA)
  • An animal care auxiliary at an animal hospital

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

Working conditions

Hours

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.

Environment

Working with animals can involve hard physical work, and you could spend time working outdoors in all weathers.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Working as part of a team
  • Taking the lead
  • Working with your hands
  • Caring for animals

Build your skills

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

You will not always need formal qualifications for animal care jobs, although some employers may ask for qualifications may ask for qualifications at SCQF Level 4/5.

To enter an animal care National Certificate or National Qualification course usually requires at least three National 4s (including Maths and English) plus a science at National 5 (biology most useful).

To enter a Higher National Certificate (SCQF Level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF Level 8) requires two Highers or a relevant NC/NQ. 

Useful subjects

  • English 
  • Maths
  • Science subjects

You will also need

Practical experience is essential when applying to this role.This might be gained through work, volunteering or an animal care course that includes a work placement. 

 

 

Helpful to have

Work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Animal Care (SVQ Level 2/3) or be willing to work towards this once in a job.

Experience of dealing with animals.