Animal care worker

Alternative titles for this job include Animal care assistant

Animal care workers look after animals in places like kennels, rescue centres and sanctuaries.

Average salary (a year)

£13,500 Starter


£22,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

38 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become an animal care worker

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • volunteering


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

Entry requirements

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

More information


You can do an intermediate apprenticeship as an animal care and welfare assistant, or an advanced apprenticeship in animal care.

Entry requirements

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

More information

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:

More information

Further information

You can find out more about careers in animal care from the National Land Based College UK and the College of Animal Welfare.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • 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

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

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

Working environment

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.

Career path and progression

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.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Dog Care Assistant

  • Wage : £124.50 Weekly
  • Location: Lytham St. Annes FY8 5AT

Level 2 Dog Carer Apprenticeship (Every Dog Ltd)

  • Wage : £117.00 Weekly
  • Location: Snodland ME6 5UA

Courses In England

Animal Care

  • Start date: 01 August 2020
  • Location: Eccles

Animal Care

  • Start date: 02 September 2020
  • Location: Mansfield

JobsIn the United Kingdom

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