Formal qualifications are not always needed, although some employers may ask for GCSEs to become an Animal Care Worker.
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Many employers may ask for some experience of animal care, and volunteering is a great way to do this. The internet is a useful resource of finding volunteering opportunities: www.do-it.org.uk and www.volunteering.org.uk are both good websites where you can find out about different positions and how to apply. There are also animal welfare websites such as www.rspca.org.uk , or you could enrol on a college course such as the Level 1 Certificate in Introduction to Animal Care. Alternatively you could also consider becoming an apprentice and the website www.apprenticeships.org.uk is a useful resource for this.
An Animal Care Worker would typically work in an animal sanctuary or in kennels. Duties may cover caring for animals by cleaning them, preparing food and feeding them, giving them exercise and looking after animals who become ill. In similar roles, you may be expected to answer queries from visitors or take bookings so this would be in a more customer facing role. An Animal Care Worker could also consider specialising in massage or hydrotherapy for animals who require extra care because they are undergoing treatment or recovering from injuries. Caring for animals could involve physical work and outdoors work in all types of weather.
Related: Animal Care Worker Cover Letter
The working hours are typically 30-40 hours per week although this may involve shifts; caring for animals may involve night work and usually some weekend work.
Skills and Training Development
Once employed, an Animal Care Worker would receive on the job training. There are also opportunities to enrol on a wide range of animal care training courses at local colleges. It is worth discussing suitable courses with your employer first, particularly if you are looking for them to sponsor you. In order to specialise in massage or hydrotherapy, the Equine Sports Massage Association has a website www.equinemassageassociation.co.uk has a wealth of information and advice about what qualifications they are looking for.
You will need to have a passion for working with animals, and the ability to be patient and gentle. You will also need to be prepared to get dirty with cleaning and feeding tasks, and to be able to cope with emotionally upsetting incidents or situations. People in this role will also be expected to be confident in the handling of animals and potentially dealing with visitors or clients.
Animal Care Workers could typically expect to earn between £11,000 and £15,000 a year.