Are you concerned for the well-being of animals? If so, a career in animal services may be just right for you. Read on for information on the many options in animal services, including grooming, training, care and more!
Inside Animal Services
Many career options are available for animal lovers to work within the animal services field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs in animal services include kennel attendants, groomers, animal caretakers, pet sitters, grooms (horse caretakers), zookeepers and animal trainers (www.bls.gov). Prospective animal trainers are sometimes required to have degrees, but other positions may require applicants to have completed certificate programs to qualify. Experience working with animals is an important requirement for anyone wishing to enter an animal services career.
Kennel attendants are often required to have high school diplomas or GEDs. These employees primarily take care of dogs and cats while owners are away. Duties include feeding, walking, exercising and cleaning the animals and their kennels. Pet sitters travel to pet owners' homes and take care of the pets there. Animal caretakers often work in animal shelters and clean kennels, bathe animals, walk them and work with the public to help prospective pet owners find pets. Most animal shelters require high school diplomas or GEDs and experience with animals. A background check may also be performed.
Groomers care for animals' appearance. They mostly specialize in taking care of dogs and cats. Groomers will bathe, brush and clip the pet's fur. They'll also clip and file claws and clean the animal's ears. Certification options are available for groomers, but most employers only require high school diplomas or GEDs plus experience. Grooms are caretakers for horses. They exercise and feed them and perform general stable duties, including cleaning stalls. Grooms with a great deal of experience and expertise may become trainers as well. Courses in equine care or years of experience working with horses will create an edge over other job candidates.
Zookeepers take care of animals in zoos or animal park environments. They feed the animals, clean their exhibits and take care of animals' basic needs. Keepers may also work with the public, answering questions and ensuring the visitors at the zoo are behaving properly toward the animals. Animal trainers' jobs may include training them to work with people who have disabilities, or teaching them to perform tricks, provide security and be obedient. A bachelor's degree in biology, animal science or a similar area is often required for trainers, especially those who are planning to work with marine mammals. If a degree isn't required, a certification or prior experience will be useful.
Bachelor's degrees in animal-related fields, like biology and zoology, can be found at most universities. Biology courses, classes in animal physiology, mathematics, zoology and ecology are all helpful when preparing for an animal trainer career. A few colleges offer associate's degrees and certificate programs in animal care. These programs focus mainly on dogs and cats and teach training, grooming and the basic care of animals. These programs can offer background for further study, or they can prepare students to engage in the careers listed above.
The BLS noted that employment in these areas should grow 21% between 2008 and 2018, due to an increase in the companion pet population and an increase in the demand for kennel and grooming services. The BLS also predicted that the demand for marine mammal and horse trainers won't grow as quickly over the same time period. In short, the demand for domestic animal services will grow rapidly, but the demand for services to animals in zoos and animal parks, as well as horses, will increase very slowly. The BLS states that the 2010 median annual salary for non-farm animal caretakers was $19,550, and the median salary for animal trainers was $26,580 per year.
Learn More About Animal Services
With the various options for careers in animal services, deciding on an educational and a career path can be challenging. The Education-Portal.com articles below can help you decide which one is right for you.
Animal caretakers and groomers don't need formal training, but aspiring animal trainers may enhance their job prospects by earning 4-year degrees. Certificate programs in all aspects of animal services are available to students who want to edge the competition for positions that traditionally only require high school diplomas.
Animal services includes three major career paths: caretakers, groomers and trainers. The articles below will help you determine which path is right for you.
Distance Learning Options
Some distance learning options are available for animal groomers and trainers. Take a look at the links below for information on these programs.
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