Animal care worker

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

Average salary (a year)

£11,000 Starter


£15,000 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 to get some of the skills and knowledge needed in this type of work, 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) for a level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) 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, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), usually 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

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

In this role you may be:

  • preparing food and feeding, cleaning and grooming the animals
  • exercising dogs in a yard or taking them for walks
  • cleaning out kennels, pens and cages, and changing bedding
  • looking after animals who become ill or distressed
  • answering queries from colleagues and visitors
  • ensuring that animal enclosures are maintained

Working environment

You could work at an animal care business.

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

Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to supervisor or manager, or become self-employed.
You could also use your experience to move into other animal care careers, like veterinary nursing.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Animal Care & Welfare Assistant Apprentice

  • Wage : £138.75 Weekly
  • Location: Southport L40 8HE

Animal Care Apprenticeship

  • Wage : £111.00 Weekly
  • Location: Newcastle Upon Tyne NE12 9SW

Courses In England

Diploma Level 2 Animal Care

  • Provider: Moulton College
  • Start date: 09 September 2019
  • Location: Northampton

Level 2 Diploma in Animal Care

  • Provider: Herefordshire & Ludlow College
  • Start date: 02 September 2019
  • Location: Hereford

Get help using this service

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