A career working with animals can be extremely rewarding and satisfying, however it can be hard to know where to begin to make your dream become reality when you have had little or no prior experience. You may be thinking about the possible career options open to you after finishing studying or you may already be working in a different industry and considering a career change. Whatever your current situation, these general tips can help in getting you started towards a rewarding new career.
4 Tips to help you choose the right career path
There is no doubt that working with animals can be an incredibly rewarding experience, which offers immense job satisfaction. However, when contemplating the prospects of any career choice, it is important to consider the following –
Tip 1 – Identify what motivates you and what you want from a career
If you don’t like cleaning, then working with animals may not be for you, as most jobs will involve a lot of cleaning out cages, enclosures etc. however if you enjoy getting stuck in and getting your hands dirty, then it could be the ideal career choice for you!
Tip 2 – Do your research
It is vital to look beyond the image of the job – look into what is REALLY involved on a day-to-day basis. Locate and read occupationally-oriented books, literature, job descriptions, professional journals, websites etc. Talk with people who are working in the field – most people will be happy to talk about their job and will give you a realistic picture of the good and bad.
Tip 3 – Have realistic expectations!
People that work with animals rarely do it for the financial rewards and caring for animals is rarely a 9-5 job! However this can be one of the appeals, as it provides new and exciting challenges every day!
Tip 4 – Get a real taste of the job
Volunteering is a fantastic way to get a feel for the field you are considering and can help you to decide whether or not you enjoy it. Many animal rescue organisations are always on the lookout for volunteers to help out, so you are also providing a valuable community service!
You want to work with animals – what field is best for you?
The animal care industry encompasses hundreds of different possible career paths, from working with domestic pets in a vet clinic, kennel or cattery, to rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife! It can be a difficult task to narrow down what area of the industry you are interested in, so here are some useful tips on how to do just that!
- Assess what animal species you are interested in – this can help you to draw up a list of possible animal care businesses and organisations that may offer the opportunity to work with that species.
- Evaluate the career or career field that best matches your skills, abilities and personal characteristics – many jobs working with animals also involve working a great deal with people! Think about the other possible skills you have that could be transferable to specific areas of the animal care industry, such as customer service and working with people.
- Explore more than one option – don’t limit yourself, there may be more than one area of the industry that interests you.
How to get a job working with animals
This can often be one of the most challenging aspects of starting a career in a brand new industry! Most employers are looking to hire individuals with proven skills and experience. However how can you get the skills and experience if no-one will give you a chance!
Vocational training can be a great way to break into a new industry as it combines learning the theory with a practical industry placement, providing students with the opportunity to gain a nationally accredited qualification together with the knowledge, skills and experience needed to start their new career.
All of our qualifications combine theory with workplace practical training and allow students to tailor their course to the area of the animal care industry that interests them. We offer courses for every level –
- ACM20117 Certificate II in Animal Studies – this is an ideal starting point for those with very little or no prior knowledge/experience and is designed to set you on the pathway to achieving valuable skills and knowledge in animal care that will set you up for further vocational training. It is also the minimum pre-requisite for the Veterinary Nursing qualification should you wish to study to become a qualified Veterinary Nurse.
- ACM30117 Certificate III in Animal Studies – This course is ideal for those who may have already gained some experience in the industry and are looking to consolidate their skills and knowledge with a nationally accredited qualification. This course also offers the next step in a pathway to those who have completed the Certificate II in Animal Studies
- ACM40418 Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing – A course specifically designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills required to start your career as a veterinary nurse. We combine a high standard of theoretical knowledge with intensive practical training in veterinary practice so that you gain the competence and confidence required for this exciting and rewarding career.
If you would like an introduction to animal care, you can also choose from our range of short courses.
It can be a daunting prospect trying to decide on the best career for you or pursuing a change of career, however by following these steps you can ensure that you make the choices to set you on the right path. Remember that by choosing a career that you love, work becomes play!