Animal Care & Service Worker Careers

animal-care-500For those who truly love animals, few careers can be more exciting and potentially rewarding than working in animal care and service.

As an animal care and service worker, your career could be based around caring for animals in a zoo or aquarium or it also could include working alongside a veterinarian. Either way, your days will typically be spent up close and personal with a range of different animals.

The typical animal care and service worker is employed in a wide range of different settings, including the aforementioned zoos and aquariums, as well as stables, kennels, shelters, pet stores and virtually anywhere else where animals are housed. Due to the sometimes sensitive nature of the work, it can be quite emotionally demanding at times—especially when dealing with sick or dying animals. In addition, the work can also be quite tough physically and animal care and service workers tend to experience more work-related injuries and illnesses than the average worker.

Animal Care & Service Worker Career Snapshot

Further details on a career as a animal care workers are listed below (statistics from the May 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics and Onet Online):


is the average yearly pay for animal care and service workers.


increase in employment between 2014 and 2024.


have less than a High school diploma while 24% have a High school diploma or equivalent.

Animal Care Worker Education

Most employers will provide on-the-job training to the right candidate, and although some companies require a high-school diploma, approximately one-third of current animal care and service workers did not complete high school. Nonetheless, nearly 20 percent of all workers have completed a bachelor’s degree, and most employers are looking for employees that have at least some prior experience working directly with animals.

Animal Care Worker Job Outlook

Those looking to get into a career as an animal care and service worker should be able to enjoy numerous job opportunities in at least the short to mid-term. Between 2014 and 2024, the number of total jobs is expected to increase by 11 percent, which is nearly twice the average rate of growth.

Animal Care Worker Salaries

The vast majority of animal care and service workers choose this career due to their desire to work with animals, and it is generally not considered a career where you’ll get rich. In fact, the 2016 median average salary for all workers was around $22,000 and even the highest 10 percent of earners still only took home an average of $36,000.

Animal Care Worker Job Duties

The typical job duties of an animal care and service worker can vary from day to day, but they generally include feeding, cleaning, bathing and exercising pets and a range of other non-farm animals. Of course, the actual required duties will differ greatly depending on the particular job and employer. In most cases, animal care workers are also expected to clean, maintain and disinfect the animals’ cages, pens and other living quarters, as well as generally observing and monitoring the animals for signs of illness or injury.

Animal Care & Service Worker Skills & Traits

Animal Care Worker Skill Set:Required Abilities:Tools Used by Animal Care Workers:Typical Work Activities:
• Active Listening
• Monitoring
• Service Orientation
• Judgment and Decision Making
• Problem Sensitivity
• Oral Expression
• Oral Comprehension
• Arm-Hand Steadiness
• Electric hair clipper
• Aquarium ultraviolet UV sterilizers
• Pet grooming products
• Veterinary nail trimmers or cutters
• Handling and Moving Objects
• Getting Information
• Making Decisions and Solving Problems
• Performing General Physical Activities

Related Careers

Veterinary Assistants

High School Diploma or Equivalent

Veterinarian Technologists

Associate’s Degree

What Do Related Careers Pay?