Starting out

Careers working with animals

Careers and Jobs working with animals

Starting your career

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 there’s a few things we suggest you consider. Here are our top 4 tips. 

Tip 1 – Identify what motivates you

Think about the tasks you like and do not like doing? Is there something that you can imagine yourself doing each and every day? Something that inspires you, something you are passionate about?  Well, if one of those things is caring about the welfare and health of animals then the animal care industry might just be for you.  On the flip side, if you can’t think of anything worse than getting down and dirty, you will need to think twice. One thing is for sure when you work with animals, most jobs are hands-on and a majority of positions involve cleaning.

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 a financial reward. They also rarely work a routine 9-5, 5 day work week.   However, they can expect that no two days will ever be the same and that each and every day will provide them with a new challenge.

Tip 4 – Get a real taste of the job

Volunteering is a fantastic way to get a feel for the animal care industry. There are many non-profit rescue and rehabilitation based organisations throughout Australia that provide volunteers with an opportunity to help out and in return, you will get a taste of what it is like to work with animals. 

Working in a pet shop - jobs as sales

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 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. 

Jobs working with horses in Australia

Nationally Accredited Courses to kick-start your career

You can choose a nationally accredited course to suit your interests and experience. Here are a few of AVT’s courses:-

  • ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care – this is an ideal starting point for those with very little or no prior knowledge or experience working with animals. This course is designed to give you valuable animal care skills and knowledge. It is also the minimum pre-requisite for the Veterinary Nursing qualification should you wish to study to become a qualified Veterinary Nurse.
  • ACM20217 Certificate II in Horse Care – This is a unique training course for those passionate about all things equine! A career working with horses is extremely rewarding and satisfying, and this qualification is a great way to make your dream become a reality!
  • 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 for those who have completed a Certificate II level qualification.
  • ACM30121 Certificate III in Animal Care Services  – This is the latest Certificate III level course. Like ACM30117 Certificate III in Animal Studies, it is ideal for those who may have already gained some experience in the industry and are looking to consolidate their skills and knowledge. This course also offers the next step in a pathway for those who have completed a Certificate II level qualification.
  • ACM40321 Certificate IV in Animal Behaviour and Training – Is a course for those who have some experience in the animal care or animal training industry and are looking to gain a national qualification or become a qualified animal or dog trainer.
  • 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.

It can be a daunting prospect to decide on a career pathway or pursue a change of career. However, by following these steps, you can ensure that you make the right choice for your future. By choosing a career you love, you will never work another day! 

Want to learn more about working with animals?

Qualifications for high school students and graduates

If you are a current high school student or graduate and are thinking about becoming a Veterinary Nurse, we recommend starting out with our entry level  Certificate II courses.  ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care  and ACM20217 Certificate II in Horsecare are great places for students to start out.

To learn more about the options we recommend visiting our High School Students and Graduates page.

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