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Animal care worker

Alternative titles for this job include Animal care assistant

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

Average salary (a year)

£14,000 Starter


£24,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

38 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Animal care worker

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • volunteering
  • working towards this role


You could take a college course in animal care, for example:

  • Level 1 Certificate in Skills for Working in Animal Care Industries
  • Level 2 Diploma in Animal Care
  • T Level in Animal Care and Management
  • Level 3 Award in Small Animal Care and Management

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
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T Level

More Information


You could apply for a place on an apprenticeship, such as:

  • Animal Care and Welfare Assistant Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship
  • Animal Care and Welfare Manager Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship

These can take up to 1 year and 6 months to complete.

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


It'll help to have some experience of working with animals before you start looking for a job.

Volunteering with animal rescue, animal sanctuaries or conservation charities can sometimes lead to paid work. You may need to do jobs like fundraising or administration first, as a way to get in.

You can search for volunteering opportunities on sites like:

Some of the bigger national animal charities include:

You may be able to find smaller animal charities in your area by searching on the internet.

More Information

Career tips

Looking after your own pets, dog walking or pet sitting can be good ways of learning more about small animal care.

Further information

You can find out more about careers in animal care from the:

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

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

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You could work with domestic or wild animals to:

  • check animals daily and monitor their health
  • clean out kennels, enclosures, cages or stables
  • prepare food and help out at feeding times
  • clean and groom animals
  • look after sick or distressed animals
  • update records and deal with questions from colleagues or the public
  • make sure animals are exercised regularly

Working environment

You could work at an animal welfare centre, at a wildlife park or in kennels.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time, physically demanding and dirty.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a supervisor or manager.

You could become self-employed and run your own business like dog walking, puppy training or pet sitting. You may be able to open your own kennels or cattery or set up an animal rescue charity.

You could also use your experience to move into other animal care careers, like veterinary nursing, or find work in a conservation or wildlife park. There may also be opportunities to go into animal training, for example as an assistance dog instructor.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Level 2 Animal Care Apprentice - Pack Leader

  • Wage: £12,480 a year Annually

Apprentice Dog Care Assistant

  • Wage: £9,984 a year Annually

Courses In England


  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: Newport

Level 2 Animal Care

  • Provider: THE SMB GROUP
  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: Melton Mowbray

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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