SSPCA inspector

Animals, land and environment

Career outlook for SSPCA inspector

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would make a difference in the lives of animals by investigate abuse, rescuing animals who are in danger and finding them new homes for animals.

You would work for the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

You would:

  • Check neglect and cruelty complaints
  • Advise owners on proper care, give warnings and take some cases to court
  • Decide if rescued animals need medical treatment
  • Put animals to sleep if their condition can't be treated
  • Inspect places such as kennels and pet shops
  • Inspect events such as circuses, farm shows and races
  • Work with the police, local councils, vets and dog wardens
  • Rescue injured or trapped wild animals
  • Write reports
  • Give evidence in court
  • Give talks about animal care

You would work for the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and begin as an animal welfare officer. In this role you would:

  • Look into minor complaints
  • Collect and rescue animals
  • Support inspectors in their work with more complicated cases

You may want to train as an auxiliary inspector instead. You would then cover remote parts of Scotland. You would be trained to assess situations and decide whether an inspector is needed.

Working conditions


You would work 37.5 hours a week. In some areas you would work a shift system covering weekends, bank holidays, and evenings or nights.


You would work both indoors and outdoors in all weather conditions. You may also be involved in potentially dangerous situations, for example climbing cliffs or trees to rescue animals.


In the SSPCA you can be expected to work anywhere in Scotland.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Resilience
  • Cooperating
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Evaluating
  • Social conscience
  • Ethical
  • Making decisions
  • Understanding

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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.


You would need a minimum of five qualifications at SCQF level 4/5, including English, and ideally a qualification in animal husbandry or science.

Many employers will ask for relevant qualifications in subjects such as veterinary medicine, animal science or animal management.

To enter a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) requires National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers.

To enter a degree requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of three Highers or a relevant HNC/D qualification. 

Useful subjects

Required by most courses and employers:

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science subjects, in particular biology

You will also need

  • To have previous experience of working with large and small animals and preferably be from a farm or veterinary background
  • To be able to swim 50m fully clothed
  • To have a full UK driving licence

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show patience, excellent communication skills and experience working with animals such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Animal Care (SVQ level 2/3).