For many people, working with animals is a chance to spend their days doing something they would be happy to do, even without a salary. If you love animals, there is no greater reward than to dedicate your life to helping them, learning about them, and spending time with them. Fortunately, quite a few careers allow you to do this while earning a good living. Here are some of your best choices for jobs and careers involving animals along with the expected pay and the qualifications you need.
Qualifications: In Australia, you need to obtain ACM40418 Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing.
Job Description: Provides assistance to a veterinarian. This may involve a wide variety of tasks including patient care, preparation of patients for surgery, administering medication, sterilising equipment, managing records, performing dental procedures, running blood tests, answering owners’ inquiries, assisting with emergency procedures to help injured animals and many other tasks.
Salary: The average hourly rate for a veterinary nurse in Australia is between $25 and $32/hour, depending on which state you live in and the level of work you are expected to perform.
Short of becoming a veterinarian, which requires a medical degree, a veterinary nurse is one of the most challenging and responsible jobs you can do, working with animals. You will have the satisfaction of helping to keep animals healthy and, in some cases, saving their lives. At the same time, you need the ability to multitask and act under pressure. When you are a qualified veterinary nurse, you have a range of job and career possibilities. These include working in private veterinary practice or in a specialist or referral centre, a zoo or wildlife park, or an animal welfare facility.
Qualifications: In some countries, the terms veterinary nurse and veterinary assistant are used interchangeably. In Australia, however, the two jobs have different qualification requirements. As noted, a veterinary nurse must have a Certificate IV qualification, but a veterinary assistant does not need a formal qualification. However, many people who hold this position have Animal Studies certificates, such as ACM20121 Certificate II in Animal Care or ACM30122 Certificate III in Animal Care Services to give them the necessary knowledge and understanding to help animals.
Job Description: Veterinary assistants often work under the supervision of veterinary nurses and often perform many of the same tasks, including cleaning and patient care. Veterinary assistants may also serve as receptionists; scheduling appointments and interacting with clients.
Salary: The average salary for a veterinary assistant in Australia is $21.84/ hour.
Like veterinary nurses, veterinary assistants may work in a variety of environments. Depending on your experience and preferences, you may prefer positions with more direct contact with animals or those more focused on interacting with clients.
Animal Attendant or Trainer
Qualifications: Vary according to the job. Some jobs may require experience with animals but no formal qualifications.
Job Description: Caring for animals may include feeding, grooming, training, cleaning and assisting with veterinary tasks.
Salary: Job Outlook estimates the average weekly salary for attendants and trainers to be around $957/week, with strong future growth. This is dependent, however, on the number of hours worked, which can be quite variable in these roles.
Animal attendants and trainers help to care for animals in zoos, research facilities, wildlife parks, and other places and organisations where animals are kept. If you are interested in pursuing a career such as a veterinary nurse or veterinarian, getting an entry-level job as an animal attendant is a good preparation – this type of job gets you accustomed to working with animals.
If you love horses, there are many jobs that involve caring for them. These include stable jobs, stud hands, events assistants, horse farm managers, trainers, riding instructors, trail ride assistants, equine retail professionals, farriers, and more. Veterinary nurses and assistants may also work for veterinarians in an equine veterinary practice.
Qualifications: Vary according to the job. For any job involving horses, it would be helpful to have experience with horses.
Salary: The average horse trainer earns around AU$53,807. Salaries will depend on many factors such as the specific position, location and experience.
Job Description: Depending on the job, you may be required to feed, train, groom, exercise and clean and maintain the living environment of horses. If working in public stables and equestrian centres, you may be required to provide riding instruction to riders. For more detailed information about jobs with horses, we recommend reading this article, Ten Rewarding Careers that Involve Working with Horses.
Dog Walker/Pet Sitter
Qualifications: Ability to work well with different types of dogs as well as other pets. To be reliable, responsible, trustworthy (and often need to hold a police clearance certificate) as you are being entrusted to not only take care of beloved pets, but often are given access to owners’ homes as well.
Job Description: You may also be expected to feed, groom, clean, walk or play with dogs as well as care for and entertain other species.
Salary: The average dog walker/pet sitter earns AU$22.70/hour. However, many dog walkers/sitters set their own rates.
A dog walker is a good job or business for anyone who enjoys spending time with dogs. You can start off on your own or work with a partner or a company. Dog walkers often walk multiple dogs at once so it helps to have some experience with basic commands.
Pet sitters often live in the pet owner’s home while they are away. In some cases, pet sitters don’t receive pay but instead receive the benefit of living in a home for a certain duration, rent free!
Kennel or Cattery Manager/Assistant
Kennels may be used for breeding dogs or for boarding dogs while owners are away. Catteries serve a similar function for cats. There are various jobs connected with these types of businesses.
Qualifications: For an assistant, it is likely you will need to demonstrate your skills working with animals. A manager may require an Animal Care certificate.
Salary: The average hourly pay for a dog kennel assistant is $20.50/hour.
Job Description: A kennel or cattery assistant is typically responsible for cleaning, feeding, grooming and exercising animals under his or her care. It is also likely some customer service may be involved.
Working in a kennel or cattery is a good entry-level position if you want to gather some valuable experience with animals.
Dog grooming is a growing industry as pet owners increasingly take pride in their pets’ appearance as well as their health.
Qualifications: Dog grooming businesses may prefer that you have an Animal Care (Animal Studies) certificate. Entry-level jobs may not require qualifications.
Salary: The average pet groomer in Australia makes $25.31/hour.
Job Description: Shampoo, blow dry, clip nails, trim and shape fur, consult with customers.
Dog grooming is part of the overall expansion of pet-related businesses. If you are considering becoming self-employed or would like to work from home, this profession may give you that flexibility.
Working With Animals is Rewarding
Careers that involve working with animals can provide a great deal of satisfaction. You can feel proud that you are making a positive difference to animals and their owners/caretakers on a daily basis. If you want to pursue one of the above (or another) animal-related careers, keep in mind that any job, or even volunteering for animal organisations can help you gain valuable experience.
Applied Vocational Training can help prepare you for a career working with animals. . We offer a variety of courses and qualifications that can assist you in obtaining one of the many jobs mentioned in this article including a veterinary nurse, veterinary assistant and others. For more information, contact us.
Looking for more information?
Download our course guides below or learn more in our articles:-
- Top 6 Animal Care Careers
- Top 7 reasons to pursue a career in the veterinary industry
- Veterinary Assistant, Veterinary Nurse, Veterinary Technician – so what’s the difference?
- How Veterinary Nursing studies paid off for Jasmin Paul
- Kicking Career Goals – Matilda’s story working with horses