Animal Caretakers

Animal Caretakers Handle Sheep

Animal caretakers, as the name implies, take care of animals. The job ranges from the day-to-day normal activities for a healthy animal to caring for sick, injured, or aging animals. The daily animal caretaking routine usually involves feeding and providing drinking water for each animal, making sure that their enclosure is clean, safe, appropriately warm, and, if needed, stocked with materials to keep the animal active and engaged. Caretakers may be responsible for creating different enrichment materials so that the animal is challenged by new objects and activities. They may exercise or train the animals. They may assist veterinarians or other trained medical staff in working with animals that require treatment. Animal caretakers may also maintain the written or digital records for each animal. These records can include weight, eating habits, behavior, medicines given, or treatment given. There are approximately 161,820 nonfarm animal caretakers and 73,400 veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Animal Shelter Workers, Animal Shelter Attendants, Grooms, Kennel Technicians, Laboratory Animal Technicians, Laboratory Animal Technologists, Veterinary Assistants, Wildlife Assistants
Duties Provide care for animals, clean enclosures, feed and exercise animals
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $50,000
Work Environment Indoors/Outdoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities are available throughout the country
Minimum Education Level
  • Associate's Degree
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • Biology
  • Health
  • Mathematics
Experience Internship, volunteer, or part-time experience
Personality Traits
  • Conventional
  • Hands On
  • Helpful
  • Interpersonal
  • Mechanical/Manual Dexterity
  • Organizational
Certification or Licensing Recommended
Special Requirements None
Employment Prospects Good
Advancement Prospects Fair
Outlook Faster than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Facility Manager
  • Assistant Facility Manager
  • Senior Caretaker
  • Animal Caretaker
  • Intern or Assistant Caretaker