If you're interested in animal service careers, you might find yourself employed at a kennel, animal shelter, veterinary hospital, pet store, a stable or even a zoo. You'll feed the animals and ensure they have a plentiful supply of fresh water, clean enclosures and kennels, exercise or play with the animals and groom them. You may also be required to train the animals in your care, watch them for signs of injury or illness and keep records on their behavior, physical condition and diet.
Animal Services Education
Few animal service jobs require more than a high school diploma for entry-level positions, but depending on the field you work in and the aspirations you have, you may want to consider expanding your education past on-the-job training. You can take a grooming or training course at a technical school. You can also get a degree or certification as a veterinary assistant. If your dream job is to be a zoo keeper, you'll want to get your bachelor's degree in animal science, biology or a related field.
Animal Services Job Market
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the demand is growing for animal services. Competition is strongest for specialized animal service careers, such as zookeepers and horse trainers, but the BLS indicates that high job turnover provides ample opportunities for most other positions. Overall, the outlook is for a 15 percent increase in animal service careers over the next 10 years, going up from 232,100 in 2012 to 267,500 by 2022.
Animal Services Salaries
Though the demand for animal service workers is high, the pay is not. The average annual salary for animal service jobs is $19,690. Many animal service positions are part-time due to the requirement of 24-hour care and that can put earning less than $20,000 annually into perspective. Specialists, such as animal trainers can average as much as $25,270.