Jobs working with pets and animals is a very popular career choice for many people, particularly pet-lovers. It can also be one of the most rewarding long term careers, as you are doing something you love. It also has broader benefits as pets are proven to contribute to a happier and healthier society.
While working with animals is incredibly rewarding, working in the pet industry is not necessarily about having fun with animals. Working with animals, even domesticated pets, can be dirty and messy and may also require working long hours or even shift work.
The list below is our top 10 jobs working with pets and animals and although there will be many more, these are the key employment areas.
Unskilled Jobs Working with Pets
Although a formal qualification is not always required for the roles below, it should be understood that preference is usually given to people who have shown the application and commitment to further their education in these areas. Listed here is a variety of animal care courses for you to review.
Pet Shop Assistant
A pet shop assistant is considered one of the most rewarding jobs working with pets. These jobs have a reasonably high turnover so vacancies do come up on a regular basis. Some pet shops work with a wide variety of animals, but most specialise in the more common or domestic pets.
To qualify you should have a calm and mature manner and a positive attitude, as well as being able to “start a conversation” to make customers feel comfortable and to actively help a client make the right purchase. Money handling and computer skills, product knowledge, stock and management knowledge will also be valuable. Having your own pets at home with a good general knowledge of pets, pet products and pet foods will certainly help you get the job.
Ideal qualification: Certificate in Animal Care
Further reading: Pet Shop Assistant Job Description
Employment opportunities: Search Pet Shop Assistant Jobs
Some boarding kennels and catteries will require a formal qualification, but unqualified people with the right attitude and love of animals can also help secure these jobs in vet hospitals and clinics.
Tasks may include cleaning out kennels and cat runs, feeding animals, admitting pets to the facility, giving tablets and basic treatments, taking pets for exercise and basic grooming.
While some of these tasks can be physically demanding and sometimes dirty, you may also have time to spend with each pet talking, comforting and brushing them, and sometimes exercising them as well. You are often required to work closely with other employees, so a good personality and the ability to work in a team, often at very close quarters, will be essential requirements.
Ideal qualification: Certificate in Animal Care
Further reading: Duties of an Animal Attendant
Employment opportunities: Search Animal Attendant Jobs
Pet Services – Walking & Minding
Businesses that specialise in dog walking, pet minding and pet grooming are often looking for extra help during busy periods, particularly school holidays and long weekends. Once again a good personality, a love for pets and a flexible approach to working hours are attributes that will work in your favour when seeking such a job. These jobs are quite sought after, so check local papers and notice boards and even enquire direct to the businesses. Applying person is alway a good way to impress.
Ideal Qualification: Certificate III in Companion Animal Services
Business opportunities: Franchise Dog Walking & Minding
Semi Skilled Jobs Working with Pets or Animals
Pet Grooming (Grooming Technician)
This job usually requires you to have completed the Pets Australia Grooming Technician Course, a minimum of 2 years of the Grooming Cadetship course or Certificate 3 of the TAFE Animal Management Course. These qualifications ensure that you can work effectively and efficiently as a Grooming Technician. Jobs working with pets for groomers are usually found in grooming salons where you’ll be admitting pets, bathing and brushing, cleaning ears and eyes, trimming nails, as well as finishing tasks like scissoring and clipping.
This is generally an area where jobs are always available and can be the starting point for a rewarding career working with animals.
Qualification: Pet Groomer Certificate
Further reading: Do You Want to be a Pet or Dog Groomer?
Employment opportunities: Search Pet Grooming Technician Jobs
Pet Retail (career path up to management level)
A job in the pet retail industry usually requires at least a Certificate 2 in Retail (TAFE) or equivalent. A pet store manager is responsible for managing the day to day duties and smooth operation of a retail store. The manager may be involved with a variety of tasks such as hiring new staff, providing sales training, merchandising, inventory control and ensuring high standards for customer service.
Pet store managers must also be sure that the animals kept in their stores (including fish, reptiles, birds, and small mammals) are treated humanely and in accordance with all local regulations and animal care guidelines.
The store can be in small local or family businesses, right up to businesses with turnover of more than $1 million, so once again this is an ideal stepping stone to a longer term career for jobs working with pets or animals.
Qualification: Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services
Further qualifications reading: Retail Management Training in Australia
Employment opportunities: Search Pet Retail Management Jobs
Pet or Animal Training
While many trainers are often self-taught or taught “on the job”, today these jobs generally require some training or qualifications from private operators or sometimes a Certificate 2 or 3 from TAFE (Animal Care/Animal Management). Training includes general animal behaviours, learning systems, obeying commands, motivations and of course the legal responsibilities of the role.
Qualification: Pet Obedience Trainer Certificate
Further reading and information: Animal Trainers Overview
Employment opportunities: Search Pet Training Jobs
Pet or Animal Breeding
While many pet breeders have no formal qualifications which allow them to be employed for jobs working with pets or animals, but most have attended private courses. These courses include Genetics, Codes of Practice, Pet Regulation and Responsibilities, Breed Standards, and Show Grooming. Some modern breeders also have TAFE Certificate 2 or 3 (Animal Studies).
The terms ‘registered breeder’ or ‘recognised breeder’ are also used to refer to someone who is registered with their local council as a breeder. In some states in order to be classified as a ‘recognised breeder’, the breeder must be registered with the relevant association as a purebreeder and they must hold certification to prove their animal is a ‘pedigree’ purebred.
Qualification: Certificate Course in Canine Breeding
Further reading: What is a Registered Pet Breeder?
Further information: Animal Welfare Code of Practice for Breeding Dogs & Cats (NSW)
Employment opportunities: Search Animal & Pet Breeding Jobs
Highly Skilled Jobs Working with Pets and Animals
Veterinary Nursing requires a formal qualification and most veterinary nurses also benefit from on-the-job training and additional courses in areas like intensive care, paediatrics and surgery as well as practice management and supervision and human resources. Many veterinary nurses will also have some prior training in areas such as pet grooming or pet or animal training or other jobs working with pets. It is advisable to contact TAFE or your local vet surgeries about employment opportunities. Remember studies are best undertaken while you are in a vet nursing or in an assistant role.
Further reading and qualification requirements: The Australian College of Veterinary Nursing
Further information: Veterinary Nurses Council of Australia.
Employment opportunities: Search for Veterinary Nursing Jobs
Pet grooming is a booming industry and professional grooming can take many years to master. However it can be a very rewarding career both financially and personally. There are many private grooming schools however we do recommend undertaking a government-sanctioned certificate course through TAFE/Open Colleges, preferably with experience-based or on-the-job training in conjunction with the course. Many groomers train for more than 4 years before reaching competition level and training includes hygiene, occupational health and safety, animal welfare, scissoring, clipping, pet & show grooming, dyeing, styling, skin health, coat types and finishing. Privately operated short courses are available, but it generally takes some time to master the techniques to groomer standard.
Further information: Professional Pet Groomer
Employment opportunities: Search for Professional Pet Grooming Jobs
Requiring a 5 – 6 year Veterinary Science Degree at various universities, with an ATAR score in the high 90’s, means that becoming a fully-qualified veterinarian can be a gruelling but ultimately rewarding career choice for many people. Subjects studied will include pathology, anatomy, physiology, medicine, surgery, public health, pharmacology, dentistry, radiology, lab work (clinical pathology), exercise physiology, paediatrics, anaesthetics, diagnosis, ethics, legal and more. It is on a par with medicine and dentistry in terms of study and expertise required, but can result in a lower salary and longer working hours post-graduation.
Becoming a vet is a career choice better suited to those who respect (as compared to just “love”) animals. You will need to commit and apply yourself to your studies, and generally be prepared to work very hard after graduation. As in human medicine, there is a continuing educational requirement to keep pace with ongoing developments in drugs, medical procedures and equipment, as well as the need for specialisation in some fields.
Find information on: How to Become a Veterinarian
Qualifications: University Level Veterinary Science Degree
Employment opportunities: Search for Veterinarian Jobs
In summary, working with animals can be one of the most professionally and personally rewarding career choices you can make, especially if you are starting out as a lover of pets and animals. And although there are many other jobs and roles in the pet industry than those listed above, they are the 10 most popular amongst visitors to the Total Pets website.
However we should also acknowledge the wonderful work done by the many thousands of volunteers across Australia who give their time and skills for no financial reward – just the reward that only a pet in need of loving care can give. If you are considering doing volunteer work with animals, a good place to start is with the RSPCA.
We hope you found our page about the top 10 jobs working with pets and animals informative, and we are always happy for you to contact us and comment on this page.