Animal technician

animal technologist
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 care for the animals used in medical or veterinary research. Your work would contribute to research into cures for human and animal diseases.

You'd be responsible for the day-to-day needs of animals such as rats, mice, guinea pigs and rabbits. You'd ensure that their treatment is humane and in accordance with strict legal controls.

You would:

  • Give the animals food and water and organise special diets for them
  • Make sure that they are comfortable and behave as expected
  • Keep the animals and the centre very clean and hygienic
  • Carry out regular observations and health checks
  • Monitor the weight and growth of animals
  • Exercise and train the animals
  • Control the heating, lighting and humidity in the centre

You would keep accurate records and input data to computer systems.

You could work in animal research facilities in a:

  • University
  • Medical and veterinary college
  • Drugs company
  • Company breeding animals for research
  • Commercial research centre

With experience, you could also be involved in helping scientists with experiments, setting up scientific studies and breeding animals.

Cosmetic and tobacco products are not tested on laboratory animals in the UK. You should be aware that some people have very strong feelings about or hostility to vivisection (research carried out on animals).

Working conditions

Hours

Animals need care 24 hours a day, all year round. This means you would usually work on a rota including weekends, bank holidays, and possibly occasional nights. You would work a 37-hour week. Part-time may also be available

Environment

You would mainly be based in purpose-built animal facilities but, with larger species such as farm animals, there would be some outdoor work. You may need to 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. Access to your animal facility will be restricted to authorised staff.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Reliable
  • Concentrating
  • Attention to detail
  • Cooperating
  • Social conscience
  • Empathising
  • Observation

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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

Qualifications at SCQF Level 4-6, and/or a Higher National Certificate (SCQF Level 7), Higher National Diploma (SCQF Level 8) or a work-based qualification such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Animal Care (SVQ Level 2/3).

To enter a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND) in animal care requires two Highers or a relevant NC/NQ. 

Useful subjects

Most employers and courses require:

  • English 
  • Maths
  • A science subject, in particular biology or chemistry

You will also need

Some employers ask the applicant to have a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Laboratory Animal Science & Technologies.

Helpful to have

Experience in veterinary surgery assistance, lab practice and a knowledge of animal anaesthesia.