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What is an Animal Carer and How Do You Become One?
If you enjoy spending your days playing with and caring for animals, you may be wondering if you can turn it into a full time job. Lucky for you, there’s a career for that!
Working as an animal carer is a rewarding career that allows you to look after creatures who need it, showering them with love and attention. If you’re an animal lover, this may be your dream career.
What is an animal carer?
Animal care workers are responsible for animal welfare and care. It’s a valued career that positively impacts the lives of not only animals, but their owners and anybody who interacts with them. Animal carers can work will all sorts of creatures, including pets, native animals and wild animals in wildlife rehabilitation.
Depending on what area of animal care you work in, your responsibilities may include:
- Collecting and recording animal information from veterinarians and pet owners
- Providing treatment to sick or injured animals such as administering basic medications as directed by veterinarians
- Keeping animal pens, stables, and equipment clean and organised
- Mixing food, liquid formulas, medications and delivering food and water to animals
- Examining and observing animals
- Assisting with animal behavioural assessments and behaviour modification
- Cleaning, disinfecting and maintaining animal enclosures
- Maintaining animals’ hygiene including coats, nails, and ears
- Administrative tasks including answering phones and scheduling appointments
- Ordering and storing food and animal supplies
4 Jobs for Every Type of Animal Lover
If spending your time with some furry friends sounds like your cup of tea, then here’s a lineup of the top career paths that may take your interest.
Jobs working with animals
There are a range of jobs that involve working with animals. Animal care jobs can be quite different from one another, and require unique skills. Some jobs in the animal care industry include:
Animal attendants work directly with animals, caring for them and keeping them happy and healthy. Animal attendants are responsible for cleaning animal enclosures, feeding, bathing and grooming animals. They also are responsible for maintaining an animal’s exercise routine.
Animal attendants can work in animal shelters, dog kennels, pet stores, and a variety of other places.
The average salary for an animal attendant is $58,890.
Dog trainer or horse trainer
Dog trainers teach dogs appropriate behaviour, social skills, and how to respond to commands. They design and create training programs that suit both the owner and the dog, focussing on behaviour improvement.
Horse trainers, also known as equine trainers, do the same thing but for horses. Horse trainers work with horses and identify problem behaviours so the horse and its owner can have a better relationship. Some tasks include preparing horses for riding, teaching them how to race or show for competitions, or behavioural management.
The average salary for a dog trainer or horse trainer is $58,484.
Pet groomer or stylist
Pet groomers are responsible for helping pets look and feel their best. Daily tasks for pet groomers include trimming fur, clipping nails, bathing and washing animals and carrying for varying coat types. Pet groomers also liaise with pet owners and inform them of the best way to care for their cuddly creature’s appearance.
The average salary for a pet groomer or stylist is $51,088.
Zookeepers spend their days caring for all kinds of exotic creatures held in captivity. A zookeeper’s responsibilities include providing food and water for animals, cleaning animal enclosures, monitoring animals’ health and informing visitors about the species.
The average salary for a zookeeper is $56,630.
Veterinary nurses look after animals that are taken to the vet. They perform initial animal assessments before the animal is sent in to see the vet, assist the vet with surgeries, clean equipment and perform minor medical procedures including first aid. Vet nurses also discharge pets and inform the owners of follow-up care.
Veterinary nurses don’t just interact with household pets. They also help care for native wildlife such as koalas and kangaroos, rescued animals, and other injured wildlife. Vet nurses who look after wild animals specifically can be found in wildlife hospitals and wildlife rescue services.
The average salary for a veterinary nurse is $62,327.
Pet shop manager
Pet store managers are based on the retail side of things. They are responsible for managing all the daily duties to ensure the store runs smoothly. Pet shop managers liaise with customers and help them purchase the perfect products for their pets. If the pet store also sells animals, then managers are also responsible for feeding and caring for the animals.
The average salary for a pet shop manager is $59,176.
PET STORE MANAGER
How do you become an animal carer?
Although you don’t necessarily require a formal qualification to work as an animal carer, taking a training course will expand your knowledge and help refine your skills. It will also boost your job prospects and employability.
There are many online vocational education providers that offer courses for people wanting to become animal carers. These courses include:
Certificate in Animal Care
A Certificate in Animal Care is the perfect way to get involved in this exciting industry and turn your love for animals into a rewarding career. There are many areas to study that fall under animal care, so you’re bound to find a certificate suited to your interests. Some of these courses include caring for dogs, pet grooming, equine studies, and more.
Dog & Pet Grooming Certificate
A Dog & Pet Grooming Certificate is the best way to learn the skills you need to start a career in pet grooming. You’ll learn everything from hygiene, shearing, and styling to make every pooch look and feel their best.
Certificate in Animal Behaviour
With a Certificate in Animal Behaviour, you’ll learn the meaning behind animal behaviour. Learning an animal’s behaviour and mannerisms will help you understand animals better, and read their needs and concerns.
Certificate III in Companion Animal Services
A Certificate III in Companion Animal Services (ACM30410) is perfect for animal lovers who want to spend their days working with animals. In this course, you’ll learn how to provide nutritional care for pets and keep them at optimum health and wellbeing. You will also advise pet owners how to best care for their furry friends.
Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services
A Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services (ACM40317) is similar to the Certificate III in Companion Animal Services. The main difference is that a Certificate IV is more in-depth and is recognised as a higher qualification. A Certificate IV will also prepare you for specialist and supervisory roles.
Some of the classes in these courses include the ethical treatment of animals, facility operations and animal care. There are also classes and specialty units that are specific to certain courses.
Animal carers who work in more advanced roles, such as a zoologist, will need a bachelor’s degree in zoology, biology, animal science or a related field. If you are more interested in working with marine animals, you may need to complete a bachelor’s of marine biology.
What does the animal care industry look like?
In Australia, animal care jobs are on the up and up. Like people, animals are always going to need carers and medical personnel. According to Labour Market Insights, animal attendants and trainers are projected to grow 5.8% by 2025.
Working in animal care is an important and rewarding career that allows you to hang out with all sorts of cuddly creatures. Animal carers make a difference in the world and leave a truly positive impact.
Ready to take the next step towards becoming an animal carer?
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