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Make This Year Count By Starting Your Dream Job In Animal Care

30th December 22

It’s the lull after the festivities, we’ve entered the new year and the Christmas songs and decorations are all off into hibernation for another 12 months. January is typically time to regroup and refocus, perfect for the goal-setters and go-getters amongst us. So, what will you aim to achieve with this brand-new year?

Like many, you probably have a few new year’s resolutions on your list, but what about something that will make a real difference? If you’re an animal lover, you could use 2023 as the year you train for a job you actually love by getting qualified to work with animals, making the Sunday Blues a thing of the past!

woman stroking dog

Why Start An Animal Job In 2023?

Besides getting to spend your working days with cute and adorable animals, getting qualified for animal jobs is a really smart move for a host of reasons.

Mental Health

Human-animal interactions are hugely beneficial for our mental health, as regularly being around and caring for animals provides us with purpose and companionship, but it is also proven to reduce anxiety and stress in individuals. So, if you’re looking to avoid Blue Monday and have a more positive outlook in future, an animal career could be the answer.  

Financial Stability

A large number of animal jobs help you get on the road to financial stability and financial independence as they offer high wages or the chance to work for yourself.

If you’re wondering ‘what is the highest paying animal career?’ Veterinarians, Animal Behaviourists, Zoologists and many other roles all command high salaries. Whereas individuals who run their own pet care businesses dictate the services they offer and how much they charge.

Being able to earn a higher wage or take control of the amount we make is something many people are looking to do in the wake of the challenging economic times we’ve experienced. Plus, the growing demand for animal care professionals means there’s an abundance of these well-paying job opportunities available.

Work-Life Balance

Again, with a large number of pet care businesses leading to self-employment, getting qualified for animal care jobs is the perfect way to work on your terms. Whether you’re a Dog Walker, Dog Groomer, Pet Sitter or you provide a number of services, you are the one who sets the time, place and duration of your work.

This is perfect for anyone who is looking for a career that fits around family life, a business that operates out of the home, or a job you can pick up and put down in line with your availability. With everyone leading such busy lives these days, having job flexibility is key for peace of mind.


Jobs working with animals can also tie in nicely with any new year’s resolution you have about your health and fitness, as many involve being active and hands-on.

Dog Walkers are a prime example of an animal care career that requires lots of exercise, but many others like those in veterinary practices, training, and boarding facilities require you to exercise the animals you work with.

There are also a number of animal career jobs that require physical activity that many people don’t realise. Animal Hydotherapists are in the pool with the animals they work with, often swimming and engaging in activities that encourage the animals to exercise. Dog Groomers and Pet Taxi operators are another example as their jobs require strength and help build muscle as you manoeuvre animals to where you need them to be.

Sense Of Fulfilment

Among the many reasons why jobs involving animals are something you should really consider this year, is the sense of fulfilment and reward that comes with doing something that helps animals to thrive.

Whether you’re the Vet performing life-saving surgery, the Nutritionist making sure specific species get the vitamins they need, or the person ensuring each customer in your pet store goes away knowing exactly how to meet the needs of their companion animal, you have a direct hand in improving animal lives.

So, if you’re entering 2023 with a feeling of dread because you’re going back to a job that you don’t enjoy or feel inspired by, switching to an animal career could be the answer you’re looking for. Animals all over the world need our help and assistance to live better lives, you could make your 2023 meaningful by studying to help them professionally. Chances are you’ll get some cuddles and slobbery kisses as a thank you in return!  

What Animal Career Is Right For Me?

word decision surrounded by arrows

Now, we know that starting an animal job can be the key to unlocking a career that suits your lifestyle, fits around your family's needs, and helps you take control of your earnings during difficult economic times, but which job is the right one for you?

Many people ask the same question as there are just so many animal career options out there, and the list is growing as more people choose to invite companion animals into their lives. In fact, many people search online for a ‘what animal career is right for me quiz’, so you’re not alone in this quest for the perfect career opportunity.

If you’re wondering what jobs can you get working with animals, we’ve detailed a number of popular animal care career options, and why you should consider them.

Different Animal Care Career Pathways

People of all kinds can be drawn to an animal career, you might want to combine a love of animals with a fascination in science, or the need to help protect the planet. No matter your interest or motivation, you can be assured there’s an animal job to match!

Animal Conservation Careers

What Jobs Are In this Space?

There are a vast number of jobs involved in the animal and wildlife conservation space. You could help boost population numbers of declining species by working as a Zookeeper, highlight the impact of human activity on animal life as a Wildlife Photographer, help animals in your local environment as they face man-made and environmental struggles as a Wildlife Rehabilitator, or teach the next generation of humans the importance of living positively alongside wildlife as a Forest School Teacher.  

Why Work In Animal Conservation?

Animal conservation jobs are critical as humanity simply can’t survive without the natural environment.

Biological diversity – the variety of life on Earth - is deteriorating across the globe and, without significant change, it’s only going to continue. Varied and abundant ecosystems are essential to purify our air and water, stabilise and moderate the Earth’s climate, renew soil fertility, pollinate plants, and so much more.

Without animals and the rest of the wildlife on earth, our existence comes under threat. So, by studying towards an animal conservation career, you will literally be helping everyone and everything that lives on the planet now and in the future.

How Can I Start Working In Animal Conservation?

You can get started in any of the mentioned animal conservation careers through an online course that focuses on that specific area of conservation.

Through learndirect, you can study:

Forest School Leadership

Our online course is an approved Forest School Association qualification that will have you job-ready in no time!

By teaching you everything from how to identify different flora and fauna to planning a Forest School programme in line with the Forest School ethos and principles, you’ll be ready to develop children with sustainability in mind so they will be more environmentally conscious in the future.

As the need for conservation methods grows, the demand for Forest School Leaders has risen dramatically, with many opportunities offering a handsome pay packet, ample holiday allowance and immediate start dates.

Wildlife Photography

Wildlife Photographers have an important role in animal conservation, by documenting the struggles animals face in the wild, they help bring attention to the need for protection to people on a local, national, and international scale.

If you start our online wildlife photography course now, you can be ready to hit the outdoors confidently by summer as, while you have 24 months to study it, our course is typically completed within 6 months! Providing you with everything from a nationally recognised, Level 3 Ofqual qualification to two days practical training in a zoo, it really is a fast and effective way to gain the knowledge and skills needed for this animal conservation career.

Wildlife Rehabilitation

Sadly, there are so many reasons why wild animals need human assistance. As our species encroaches more on their habitats, they are forced to interact with man-made dangers that pose a risk to their life.

As a Wildlife Rehabilitator, you can help them get back on their feet and back to nature by nursing those who are injured back to good health. This online Wildlife Rehabilitation course can get you qualified quickly and gives you the chance to gain workplace experience with the Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service (WRAS).


zookeeper with monkeys

A far cry from their entertainment roots, the modern-day zoo plays a crucial role in the conservation of animals from all corners of the globe. Through carefully mapped nutrition programmes, husbandry efforts and so much more, zoos have helped in the resurgence and reintroduction of multiple declining animal species.

A year from now you could be applying for jobs in a zoo or safari park near you as our online zookeeping diploma is typically completed in less than 12 months. In that time, you’ll understand the different conservation options available to zoos and have gained a week’s worth of hands-on training at a participating zoo, so you’re ready for the world of work.

Animal Therapy Careers

What Jobs Exist In this Space?

We all love a trip to the spa. A relaxing massage and a dip in the pool can do wonders for our body’s aches and pains but that luxury isn’t just for us humans!

Animal hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, and professional canine massage all help animals with ongoing health complaints, as well as those recovering from injury. Anything from weight gain to the effects of old age can cause animals a great deal of pain and discomfort. By delivering animal hydrotherapy,  physiotherapy, or massage treatments, you can help enhance mobility, reduce stress, and improve an animal’s overall wellbeing.

Why Provide Animal Therapies?

With studies continuing to evidence the benefits of these animal therapies, and more pet insurance companies covering them in their policies, the demand for these services is skyrocketing. So, it’s a great time to get qualified!

These jobs can also come with significant earning potential, for example, an experienced Veterinary Physiotherapists can get up to £65,000 a year!

How Can I Get Qualified For Animal Therapy Jobs?

You can get qualified for all of these animal therapy jobs online through learndirect, what’s more, we have combined courses that help you develop more than one of these skillsets, so you can command this area of animal care.

You can choose from:

Canine Massage

dog being massaged

Start this online course now and in two years’ time you could graduate as a professional Canine Massage Therapist! Our team of animal welfare experts developed this course as previously there was no other regulated qualification in this area of animal therapy.

This Level 3 Diploma in Canine Massage is Ofqual regulated, approved by the International Association of Animal Therapists (IAAT), and it’s recently been added to the Animal Health Professions' Register.

What’s more, the course includes 11 days of practical training so you can put your learning into practice as you conduct assessments for canine patients and perform appropriate massage techniques.

Small Animal Hydrotherapy

Another course that can have you qualified in two years is our small animal hydrotherapy diploma. This qualification is Ofqual regulated and the course is approved by the Canine Hydrotherapy Association (CHA).

It also meets the training requirements for the National Association of Registered Canine Hydrotherapists (NARCH) registration, and students who complete this qualification can also apply for membership in the International Association of Animal Therapists (IAAT). So, it really ticks all the boxes to get you ready for this animal therapy career!

Combined Veterinary Physiotherapy With Small Animal Hydrotherapy

If you want to maximise your earning potential and provide a more rounded service to your animal clients, this combined course will qualify you as both a Veterinary Physiotherapist and Animal Hydrotherapist in just three years!

In addition to having all the accreditation and approvals of the small animal hydrotherapy diploma, the veterinary physiotherapy element of the course is RAMP accredited. This means that following completion of this qualification, you can join the Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners (RAMP) as a professional Veterinary Physiotherapist. On completing this course, you will also have obtained a Level 6 qualification that’s equivalent to a bachelor’s degree at university!

Canine Behaviour Careers

What Jobs Exist In This Space?

Canine Behaviourists or Dog Behaviourists as they are otherwise known, diagnose and treat behavioural issues in dogs. In this career, you work with both the owner and their dog to discuss problems, assess issues via observation and handling, and develop treatment programmes that will help resolve emotional issues like anxiety, phobias, and fear.

Why Become A Canine Behaviourist?

Most families don’t feel complete without a pet, and for the majority of homes, their pet of choice is a canine companion. Dogs are undeniably loving and loyal, but there are many circumstances, bad habits, and ingrained characteristics that can manifest in bad or unwanted behaviours if not addressed.

With more people inviting pet dogs into their homes, the need for professional Canine Behaviourists to help families live in harmony is growing. By getting qualified, you can help reduce the number of dogs that are rehomed and end up in animal shelters, by helping both the dog and the owner understand each other better.

You can also earn a healthy living from this career too, the Cambridge Institute of Dog Behaviour & Training states that a Dog Behaviourist in the United Kingdom can earn well over £100,000 a year depending on their experience, qualifications, and location.

woman training dog

How Do I Become A Canine Behaviourist?

You need to get a degree level qualification (Level 6) or higher to work as a Canine Behaviourist, luckily, we have the perfect course for you!

Combined Canine Behaviour Management Diploma Levels 2, 3, 4, and 5

This course bundle has been designed as a one-stop-shop to launch your career as a Canine Behaviourist. Over x4 diplomas, you’ll study everything from canine care, to nutrition, physiology, play, behaviour, training, stress and anxiety, aggression and health.

Once finished, you’ll be qualified and ready to help dogs in all manner of environments, whether that be in their home, within kennels, at animal shelters or otherwise.

Your in-depth studies will prepare you to support dogs in many ways, and help their guardians develop the skills to deal with problem behaviour, and aggression, so they can develop a more loving and healthier bond.  

Take the faster and more cost-effective route to get qualified by studying this course bundle over three and a half years, or complete the qualifications in more manageable stages.

Pet Care Careers

What Careers Exist In Pet Care?

There’s almost no end to the animal jobs that fall under the ‘Pet Care’ umbrella, as pet guardians can seek all manner of support in making sure their companion animals live a happy, healthy and enriched life.

This is a great career option if you want to tailor your animal career to work with one particular type of animal. If you’re a dog lover, you could get into dog walking, whereas the cat fans amongst us might prefer to set up a cattery to indulge their adoration of feline pets.

There are also pet care jobs for the creatives amongst us as Dog Groomers are required to cut and trim canine coats to perfection. Anyone looking for a work-from-home opportunity could consider setting up their own pet boarding business or doggy daycare. Whereas, if you’re looking to meet as many pet types as possible, you could work in pet care retail stores to help owners of all types of companion animals.

Why Work In Pet Care?

People are leading increasingly busy lives, so the need for outside support with pet care is growing. Not to mention, we have an ageing population and with many of the elderly having companion animals, they can often require extra help to make sure their pets get the care they need.

In any case, the pet care industry is booming and by getting qualified, you can evidence your knowledge and credibility to clients and employers in this space. What’s more, if you set up your own pet care business, you can offer multiple services to maximise your earning potential.

How To Get Started In Pet Care Jobs?

Study any one of these online courses to get qualified for a pet care job quickly:

Dog Grooming

Aspiring Dog Groomers should study this Level 3 Diploma in Dog Grooming as it gives you the necessary knowledge and skills to become a qualified Dog Groomer or open your own dog grooming business.

This nationally recognised Ofqual qualification can be completed in 24 months or less and includes practical training in a dog grooming facility so you can master specific cuts and grooming practices.

Pet Care In Retail

Another fast track to employment is this Pet Care in Retail course. By law, all pet stores must have an employee with this qualification, so within a matter of months, you could be the individual so many retail stores are looking for.

As this qualification meets the requirements for higher standard licensing under the DEFRA Animal Activities Licensing Requirements, you could also use it to help you open your own pet store and set up your own business.   

Kennel and Cattery Management

two women walking many dogs

This Ofqual-approved qualification consists of 8 units that delve into the welfare and care of dogs and cats, feline and canine behaviour, animal welfare legislation and the management of kennels and catteries. It’s the ideal go-to course for you if you’re looking to care for both cats and dogs in a boarding capacity.

Typically completed within 9 months, and meeting the Higher Standard Animal Activity Licensing Requirements, you could be opening your own pet boarding business this September!

Professional Pet Sitting, Dog Walking, Dog Day Care and Boarding

For anyone looking to open an all-encompassing pet care business, this course is perfect for you! Getting you qualified to provide everything from walking to daycare and overnight boarding, you can look after pets in a number of capacities.

You will also be trained to meet the Higher Standards of Defra Animal Activity Licensing requirements, so you can tap into this vastly in-demand area of animal care in next to no time at all!

Veterinary Careers

What Jobs Exist In A Veterinary Practice?

Like us humans, animals need checkups to maintain their health and keep on top of any illnesses or ailments. However, it’s not just the Vet who runs the animal healthcare operation, an entire team of skilled animal enthusiasts is required to keep pets and wild animals in tip-top shape.

Whether it’s managing the front desk so all appointments flow with ease, sterilising the equipment and making sure overnight patients get their exercise and nutrients, or carrying out intricate operations to help animals overcome health complications, everyone working in the veterinary practice has a vital role to play.

Why Get into A Veterinary Career?

Veterinary careers are more varied than some people think, with ample supporting roles and routes for progression, you can tailor your career to align with your interests and passions. You can also earn some of the highest wages in the animal profession too, with senior Surgeons earning up to £100,000 a year.

Not only are senior veterinary roles well-paid, anyone working in the clinic will have a hand in helping animal patients live a healthy life for longer. Something which any animal lover would find reward in.

How To Qualify For Different Veterinary Jobs?

There are different levels of qualification you need to complete to access different veterinary jobs, and learndirect can help you get qualified as:

Veterinary Support Staff

Get qualified as a Veterinary Nurse Assistant and learn how to provide both emergency and routine healthcare to animal patients. After completing this course, you will be ready to provide support to qualified veterinary professionals, as well as pastoral care to animals and their owners.


vet holding cat and writing notes

You’ll need to complete a veterinary science degree to become a qualified Veterinarian in the UK but this Access to Higher Education Diploma (Veterinary Science) allows you to study that degree without the need for A Levels.

This will help you shave valuable time off your journey to getting qualified as this course can be completed within a year.

Top Up Courses

Many Vets, Vet Nurses and Veterinary supporting staff can also combine their skills with other areas of animal care by completing top-up courses. This not only opens the pool for career progression considerably, it also helps veterinary professionals capitalise on rapidly expanding services like those in animal therapy.

Through learndirect, veterinary professionals can also develop skills in:

These can all be completed in two years or less, thanks to the flexibility of our online courses.

What About The Cost?

While starting a new animal job in 2023 is no doubt an incredibly exciting prospect, we know a big barrier for many people getting qualified is the cost of education in today’s economic climate.

We strongly believe that every individual should be able to access the education that will help them achieve their goals, no matter their situation. We’ve made our online courses flexible to cater to people with all types of schedules, and we’ve extended that flexibility to our payment options, so anyone working with any budget can juggle their course fees comfortably alongside their other outgoings.

For the same cost as a Friday night takeaway, you could invest in your future by paying small monthly instalments for a course that will change your life. What’s more, we have affordable payment plans available to you that require no upfront payment to get started, you can find out more about your options on our website.

Where Will You Be In 12 Months' Time?

We’ve explored many of the animal career options available to you and the vast range of reasons people make the switch to these incredibly rewarding and fulfilling careers, now it’s down to you to take the next step.

If you enrol on your chosen animal course now, your life could look very different in 12 months' time. We’ve designed our online courses to remove the barriers that are often associated with continued education, so now all that’s left to do is find the course that fits your ambitions and sign up to get started.

While we’ve shown you a number of exciting career opportunities in animal care, there are still so many more you can pursue. If you’re still in need of advice and guidance, you can book a free career consultation with our team of Animal Career Experts, to discuss your interests and the jobs that might suit you.

Click below to register your interest and our team will get in touch to help you plan your future. You can also keep track of all animal awareness days and events with our FREE calendar! Download it here.

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