Animal care assistant
Animal care workers look after animals in places like kennels, rescue centres and sanctuaries.
Salary Range: £13,500 to £22,000
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
You could take a college course in animal care or management, for example:
- Level 1 Certificate in Introduction to Animal Care
- Level 2 Diploma in Animal Care
You may need:
- 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent, for a level 1 course
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
You can do an intermediate apprenticeship as an animal care and welfare assistant, or an advanced apprenticeship in animal care.
You’ll usually need:
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
Volunteering and experience
It’ll help to have some experience of working with animals before you start looking for a job.
Volunteering can sometimes lead in to paid work. You can find out about volunteering opportunities in your area from:
- Blue Cross
- Cats Protection
You can find out more about careers in animal care from the National Land Based College UK and the College of Animal Welfare.
Skills and knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to use your initiative
- to be flexible and open to change
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- customer service skills
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
As an animal care worker, you’ll:
- monitor animals’ health
- clean out kennels or cages
- prepare food and help out at feeding times
- clean and groom animals
- look after animals that become ill or distressed
- answer queries from colleagues and visitors
- exercisie dogs in a yard or take them for walks
You could work at an animal welfare centre, at a wildlife park or in kennels.
Your working environment may be dirty, outdoors some of the time and physically demanding.
With experience, you could become a supervisor or manager, or work self-employed.
You could also use your experience to move into other animal care careers, like veterinary nursing, or find work in a zoo or wildlife park.