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I want a job working with animals – what careers are there?

10th February 21

Working with animals can be an incredibly fulfilling, joyful and rewarding experience. Not only can you work closely with adorable and fascinating breeds, but you can also speak on their behalf. Helping people to better understand their needs and advocating for fair and appropriate treatment. Enabling them to live safely and comfortably alongside humans.

It’s no surprise that animal-related careers are a popular choice. Many people are extremely fond of and enjoy being around both domestic and wild animals. And there is plenty of need for human involvement too. Without our help, their health would suffer greatly. Not to mention more species would become extinct.

If you’re considering a job working with animals, there are other professions to explore outside of veterinary work. Some of these will require university-level study but some that can also be accessed through short courses.

Meaning no matter how much time you have to invest beforehand, you can retrain for an animal-related career.

learndirect - jobs working with animals

Animal Welfare Officer

An Animal Welfare Officer enforces the law and educates people on ways to prevent animal cruelty. Often on the back of complaints they receive which they follow up to ensure no mistreatment is taking place.

They inspect both commercial and residential properties, removing and re-homing any at-risk animals that are recovered. Preparing any cases for court hearings and finding appropriate care and treatment for neglected animals.   

They generally work alongside councils and licensing animal activity businesses. To ensure that businesses that sell and care for animals have appropriate licensing and meet care standards. Including kennels, catteries, animal daycare centres, home boarding and breeding businesses.

To become an Animal Welfare Officer, you must hold an Ofqual accredited Level 3 certificate or equivalent. Which trains and assesses learners to inspect and license animal activity businesses. Such as this Animal Welfare Officer Level 3 Diploma.

You could work with your local council or use the qualification to train with the RSCPA as an inspector. And with experience move into specialist roles like an Equine Officer, Wildlife Officer or Rescue Co-ordinator.

learndirect - Become an Animal Welfare Officer

Assistance Dog Trainer

Currently, over 7,000 people in the UK use assistance dogs to complete practical tasks, receive emotional support and live independently. Therefore, training dogs to help people is incredibly important. They can assist people with physical disabilities, medical conditions and hearing or sight difficulties.

Assistance Dog Trainers work with a variety of breeds, often puppies, to prepare them for their support role. In addition to this, they also give talks and demonstrations to help raise funds for assistance dogs. As well as training new trainers.

It’s a job that requires patience, communication skills and physical fitness. You’ll also need to be prepared to travel as many Assistance Dog Trainers travel up and down the country to visit dogs and their owners.  

Each organisation has its own entry requirements, however, experience with dogs and relevant qualifications are always beneficial. It’s extremely desirable to also have an understanding of the issues faced by people with disabilities. Which makes a course like this Assistance Dog Training Level 3 Diploma ideal.

With experience in this role, you could progress to supervisory and management positions. Or become self-employed and set up your own business working with assistance dogs or general dog training.

learndirect - Become an Assistance Dog Trainer

Dog Obedience Trainer

A Dog Trainer works with people who have dogs, to help them better manage their behaviour. While they work with dogs, it’s often the owners that need the training to effectively communicate commands with their pet. The Dog Trainer shows them techniques that get the dog to listen, obey and respond, so they perform the desired actions.

Trainers typically earn their living by teaching classes to multiple dog/owner groups or by providing private lessons. Classes could be in basic obedience, or with experience they can help dogs complete more complicated tasks. Such as search and rescue, hunting, police work, livestock management, therapy, protection and detection.

They can also help dogs overcome problems such as fear, aggression, hyperactivity, separation anxiety, excessive barking, destructive behaviours and biting.

There aren’t any formal qualifications to become a Dog Obedience Trainer, but there are dedicated courses you can take. Such as this Level 3 Dog Obedience Trainer online course.

learndirect - Become a Dog Obedience Trainer

Animal Behaviourist

An Animal Behaviourist diagnoses and treats behavioural issues in animals. They can work with animals in various captive environments, but for the most part, they work with domestic pets.

These Animal Behaviourists are called Pet Behaviour Counsellors and are often passed on client details from Veterinarians. Once a Vet determines the issues aren’t illness related, they’ll refer pet owners onto these behaviour experts.

They can deal with more severe problems ranging from aggression and phobias to destructiveness or self-mutilation. Their duties include keeping detailed patient records, observing and handling animals to assess their responses, establishing causes and advising accordingly. Once the problem had been identified, they’ll create a behaviour modification plan and monitor progress in follow up sessions.

These professionals are responsible for the health and safety of pets, owners, themselves and others. Their work is vital to assess risk levels, especially when dealing with aggressive animals.

Some Animal Behaviourists specialise in one or a few types of animal. Generally, they are self-employed though more employed opportunities are becoming available.

There is no set entry route into the profession. However, registration to the Certificated Clinical Animal Behaviourists (CCAB) and Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors (APBC) requires degree level study. Usually in biological studies, animal related courses and behavioural sciences. You’ll also need practical, hands-on experience of working with animals.

A great way to see whether this is a career you want to pursue is by studying a short course. This Level 4 Animal Psychology course teaches you how to observe and interpret animal behaviour. Giving you a greater insight into the animal mind and an appreciation for the importance of understanding their behaviour.

Upon completion, you could pursue qualifications that would lead you to degree level study of animal psychology. Or put your skills towards other animals related professions.

learndirect - Study animal behaviour

Getting Started

No matter which path you want to follow, you can start your journey to your ideal animal-related career online. learndirect is a leading UK distance learning provider. With many online courses to help you reach your personal and professional goals.

From veterinary science to zoology and animal care and welfare, we have an online course to suit. Study at home, online, without disrupting your lifestyle and get the skills you need to work with animals.

Click below to view the courses available in our veterinary science and animal care faculty today.

learndirect - Get qualified to work with animals

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