Kennel workers care for dogs and cats in kennels or catteries.
Salary Range: £12,000 to £17,000
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- applying directly
You could take a college course, for example:
- Level 1 Certificate in Introduction to Animal Care
- Level 2 Diploma in Animal Management
You’ll usually 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.
There are no set entry requirements but it may help you to get in if you have:
- 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
Competition for full-time jobs is strong. Volunteering is a useful way to get experience and shows employers that you are enthusiastic and interested in working with animals.
You can find out about opportunities for volunteering in your area from:
- Blue Cross
- Dogs Trust
- Cats Protection
There are no set qualifications for applying directly to become a kennel worker. Some employers may ask you for GCSE grades at 9 to 4 (A* to C), including maths and English.
Experience of working with animals will be useful.
Kennel work is very practical and experience of working with animals, paid or unpaid, could improve your job prospects.
You can find out more about careers in animal care from the National Land Based College UK and the 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
Restrictions and requirements
You may need a driving licence for some jobs.
Your day-to-day tasks might include:
- preparing food and feeding the animals
- keeping animals clean and grooming them
- exercising dogs in a yard or taking them for walks
- cleaning out kennels and cages
- maintaining cages, runs and grounds
- looking after animals which are elderly, ill or distressed
- answering telephone calls and greeting visitors to the premises
You could work in kennels or at an animal welfare centre.
Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers.
You may need to wear protective clothing.
With experience, you could become a supervisor or manager, or set up your own kennels or cattery.
You could move into other kinds of work with animals, like dog trainer, RSPCA inspector or veterinary nurse.