How to Get a Job Working with Animals - Part 1

We are a nation of animal lovers, and for many, working with animals every day is a dream come true. However, getting into this sector can be highly competitive, and if you are looking to get a job working with animals, you may be unsure of how to start.

Careers working with animals are varied and can range from working in a veterinary office to contributing on conservation projects and if high-technology jobs are your thing then even helping develop the latest wearables for pets!

There are plenty of options if you’re considering a career working with animals and in this 2 part article we’ll look at some of the most important steps you can take if you are looking to build a career in this field.

Get Training or Qualifications

In order to work with animals, you will need to have relevant training and be able to show that you have a genuine interest in this field of work.

If you can work towards a certified course or an accredited diploma, you can significantly improve your opportunities for working in a job involving animals and this will also help in advancing your salary prospects.

You should research your options as early as possible, taking into account your interests, career prospects and even how your chosen line of work is performing. As we will discuss later, there may be options available to you that you had never thought of before, such as testing products for pet subscription boxes or assisting with the development of pet wearables.

Regardless of the path you choose, proper qualification will demonstrate your interest and understanding of working with animals. Animal careers can be competitive, and if you don't meet the minimum requirements, it is highly likely there will be other candidates that do.

If you’re short for time or have another job you’re working at currently you can also take shorter evening or weekend courses or undertake some online learning in your spare time to keep moving towards your career objectives.

Develop and Demonstrate Your People Skills

Whether you’re looking to build a career working with animals or not, like most of them,  interpersonal and communications skills are essential and they could set you apart at the interview stage and help you to perform better in any animal work role to take on.

Caroline Kisko, the Kennel Club secretary and communications director, highlights the importance of people skills for helping animals, she said:

 "Nearly all the ways to improve welfare or promote the benefits of the human-animal bond arise from getting people to make changes. So being able to work well with people is vital, be they colleagues, partners or the general public."

People skills can be developed through volunteering opportunities, working with the public, joining clubs and groups and through learning techniques and best practices for dealing with people in stressful situations.

Where you are applying or interviewing for a role working with animals, you should not only list your relevant experience working with animals but your knowledge with people too.

Try to identify any experiences which highlight the following skills:

  • Working as a team
  • Dealing with difficult situations
  • Negotiation and compromise
  • Leadership
  • Decision making 

The second part of the article will follow soon.