Animal care workers may do a lot of things, but their main responsibility is to maintain the animals’ hygiene, feed, the animals, and maintain their habitats. Their job duties may include training, grooming, exercising, and playing with animals. They also observe behavioral changes in the animals that could signify sickness or injury. They also provide companionship. The duties of an animal care worker largely depend on the employment setting. An animal care worker may work in animal shelters, veterinary hospitals and clinics, aquariums, stables, zoological parks, and laboratories.
To be an animal care worker, one must have passion for animals and at least some experience working with animals. Qualities that are much vital include patience, sensitivity, and obedience. Although training is provided on the job, an applicant must have at least a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Certification is not usually required for animal trainers but it will be a boost for prospective animal trainers to enter a training program and get a certification from any accredited organization. Some animal care positions require a bachelor’s degree and some skills. For instance, an animal care worker hoping to work with marine mammals may need a bachelor’s degree in biology, marine biology, zoology, animal science, psychology, or other related field. He or she must also have strong swimming skills and SCUBA certification.
In 2000, animal care workers earned around $7.67 every hour. The middle 50 percent earned around $7.59 and $16.19. The lowest 10 percent earned below $6.25 while the top 10 percent earned more than $20.85. Local government animal workers earned about $11.80, veterinary animal workers about $7.07, and those who work in membership organizations, about $7.18.