Qualifications and skills for working with animals

If you’re passionate about pursuing a career working with animals, then getting the right qualifications under your belt is essential.

Yet the types of qualifications you’ll need will vary depending on the type of job you want. For instance, dog groomers will need vastly different qualifications compared to a Vet.

For this reason, we thought we’d highlight some of the online animal courses or college/university courses you’ll need to enrol on, so you can make a solid decision about what you want to do.

  1. Animal charities – to work in an animal charity you will need clerical experience and a university degree i.e. in business, animal care, etc. Note: some may only require A-Levels;
  2. Working on a farm with livestock – experience and a willingness to work hard and get your hands dirty is more important than gaining qualifications when it comes to this job. That being said a background in business, horticulture and agriculture may help you to be more successful if you plan to run a farm yourself;
  3. Vet – to become a Vet you will need a veterinary degree that has been approved by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. This degree takes on average 5 years to complete. To apply you will need A’s in your A Levels, preferably with qualifications in biology, maths and science. Similarly, work experience in zoos, shelters or a vet’s office will help with your application.  Note: if you want to be a veterinary nurse, you will follow a different, more specialised route that takes just 3 years to finish;
  4. RSPCA – the RSPCA offer a number of apprenticeships (starting at Level 2 – GCSE) that you can complete and work your way up to Level 6 (degree). You will initially work as an animal collections officer, before working your way up to an animal welfare officer and then an inspector;
  5. Dog Groomer – you don’t need any prior experience or qualifications to become a dog groomer; however, specialised training and online dog grooming courses can help to solidify your reputation and improve your employability. To get started we recommend enrolling onto an online dog grooming course or applying for an apprenticeship with a dog groomer or with places such as Pets at Home. With an apprenticeship you can manoeuvre your way up from Level 2 to Level 7 and gain experience in finance, customer service, human resources and marketing – all of which can help you to start your own business.

Note: we also recommend getting some volunteer experience working with animals in rescue centres, shelters or with a vet.

Qualifications are not the only things you’ll need to become successful in this field. You’ll also need to following skills:

  • A willingness to care for animals, even if they are violent, ill or difficult;
  • Attention to detail;
  • Ability to work under pressure;
  • Great communication skills;
  • Strong teamwork skills;
  • Physical fitness and strength (to help you lift sedated or injured animals);
  • Compassion, empathy and sympathy;
  • Knowledge of accounting and computers;
  • Understanding of confidentiality;
  • Patience – when dealing with animals and their owners;
  • A strong stomach e.g. when dealing with blood, faeces and bodily fluids;
  • Willingness to get your hands dirty and get messy

Working with animals can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, so if you’re serious about pursuing a career in this field then it is important that you’ve got the right skills and the right mind-set.

To find out more about our range of animals courses, check out our website today.

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