Animal Caretakers

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 154,350 nonfarm animal caretakers and 71,800 veterinary assistants and laboratory animal caretakers, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

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

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