How to become a Pet Shop Assistant. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does a Pet Shop Assistant do?
As a pet shop assistant you would be responsible for serving customers and looking after the animals in a pet shop. You would sell domestic animals like rabbits, kittens and fish, and also pet food, cages, accessories and equipment.
Your duties would include:
- giving food and water to the animals
- cleaning out cages
- grooming animals
- exercising animals where necessary
- advising customers on the best way to care for their pets
- selling pet care products
- maintaining stock levels
- dealing with deliveries.
Some shops specialise in a particular type of animal, for example aquatic centres sell mainly fish. If you were based in a specialist shop, you would be expected to provide more in-depth advice and information to customers.
You would usually work around 40 hours a week, which will usually include weekends. Part-time hours are also often available.
Your work would include unpleasant smells and duties. Because of contact with animals and cleaning agents, you may not find this work suitable if you have certain allergic conditions.
How much does a Pet Shop Assistant earn?
Salary and pay information:
- The starting salary for a pet shop worker can be between £14,500 and £16,500 a year.
- At supervisor or management level, salaries rise to between £17,000 and £26,000.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
You will not usually need any particular qualifications to work in a pet shop. However, a good way to prepare for this work could be to take a course such as:
- Introduction to Animal Care, awarded by Ascentis
- ABC Awards, Certificates and Diplomas, levels 1 to 3, in Practical Small Animal Care Skills
- BTEC Certificate and Diploma at Level 2 in Animal Care
- BTEC Certificate and Diploma at Level 3 in Animal Management.
You are also likely to have an advantage if you have experience of working in animal care, or in a retail or customer service role.
You may be able to get into this job through an Apprenticeship scheme. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers. To find our more about Apprenticeships, visit the Apprenticeships website.
Training and Development
You will receive on-the-job training in areas such as health and safety, customer service and pet cleaning and feeding procedures. You may also be encouraged to take The Pet Care Trust, Pet Foundation Course.
You could go on to work towards qualifications such as levels 1, 2 and 3, Awards, Certificates and Diploma in Work-Based Animal Care awarded by ABC and NPTC.
If you want to progress to a supervisor or shop management post, it could be useful to do the NPTC (with City & Guilds) Award and Certificate at Level 3 in Principles of Animal Management in a Pet Store. For some employers, this qualification will be essential.
Skills and Knowledge
- good customer service skills
- an interest in animals
- the confidence to handle a wide range of domestic animals
- the ability to learn more about working with animals
- a willingness to clean out dirty cages and deal with routine tasks
- the ability to follow health and safety guidelines
- maths skills for handling cash and weighing out pet food.
There are about 4,500 pet shops and 640 aquatic centres in the UK, employing around 17,000 people.
In larger stores, you may be able to progress to supervisor and manager once you have experience.
You can find vacancies advertised on the The Pet Care Trust website, Directgov (Jobseekers page) as well as in the local press, Jobcentre Plus offices, and on employer’s websites.