Work with Animals

Listed are jobs that work with animals that don’t require a college degree. If you are interested in pursuing a career working with animals, it may be a good idea to get a job that works with animals. You can gain experience and work with other professionals already in the field.

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Animal Caretakers (Animal Attendants)

Animal caretakers work at animal shelters, zoos, vets, or anywhere that houses animals. They provide general care taking to animals by cleaning animals, ensuring their living space is clean, providing food and water, cleaning up after them, and even assisting to provide them exercise – such as walking dogs.

Dog Walker

If you like dogs, can be on your feet for long stretches, and don’t mind picking up after them, you can do well as a dog walker. You will want to learn a few techniques first though. Learn how to prevent fights among dogs and how to read a dog’s body language. You will also want to learn canine first aid.

Pet Sitter

Many people with animals would rather hire a pet sitter than board their animals. You may likely want to learn some of the techniques of a dog walker as well as canine first aid. Knowing canine first aid also sets you a part in that you take the position and care of your client’s animals seriously.

Pet Store Employee

You can also gain employment at a pet store. Many pet stores have a variety of animals for sale. This can help you learn how to take care of the animals and learn a bit about the animals as well so you can inform your customers.

Volunteer Opportunities

You may also be successful volunteering at an animal rehabilitation location or zoo. If you are an animal lover, you may find this rewarding while gaining valuable experience which can help you gain employment working with animals in the future. For instance, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institution (link opens in a new window) needs volunteers and has positions available for volunteers ages 18 and over. Most of their positions do require a 1-year commitment. They also have a summer volunteer opportunities for students ages 13-17 as well.

Animal Workers Career Video Transcript

working with animals

From animal shelters to zoos, animal care and service workers look after a wide variety of pets and other non-farm animals. They provide food and exercise, and monitor animals for illness or injury. Groomers work at kennels and pet supply stores to bathe, clip nails, and trim fur, mostly for dogs. Some are self-employed.

Kennel attendants care for pets —usually dogs— when their owners aren’t able to. Pet sitters do similar work, caring for pets at the owner’s, or their own home. Animal caretakers work for animal shelters to provide basic care for homeless pets, and interact with the public about pet health and adoption. Some help veterinarians with medical care.

Grooms look after horses at stables where they exercise and rub down the horses, and clean stalls. Zookeepers tend animals in zoos, either one species, or many different species. Animal care and service workers sometimes face difficult situations such as caring for abused animals or helping euthanize animals. Tasks like moving and cleaning cages or lifting food bags are physically demanding.
Interacting with frightened or aggressive animals contributes to a high injury rate for these workers. Part-time work and irregular hours are common, including evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Animal care and service workers typically need a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training. Many employers prefer candidates who have experience with animals, which is often obtained through volunteering and internships. Zookeepers generally need a bachelor’s degree in a related field.

Article Citations

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.