Becoming an Animal Care Worker
Animal care personnel take care of ill or distressed animals at animal shelters, rescues or kennels. Responsibilities range from grooming and bathing animals, setting up food and water at the shelter, to answering questions from visitors and colleagues, and making sure the care of animal enclosures is maintained. Animals are usually walked, lifted into their cages, fed and watered. When animals need medical treatment, they are given attention until their condition has stabilized. Most animal shelters and rescues also offer veterinary care.
To be eligible for an apprenticeship in animal care, an individual must have prior experience working in the field, including relevant work-related training and/or schooling. Most pet stores, animal shelters and rescues require potential candidates to submit a completed application to the manager, with a letter of recommendation from a previous employer. To apply, an individual must provide a resume and references. A current certificate or diploma in an approved veterinary science program is usually required as well.
Typical pay for animal care workers is higher than other employees in similar positions. Because there is a great deal of responsibility involved in being an animal care worker, prospective apprentices must be able to commit to long hours on the job. The typical starting salary for an entry-level position is approximately $13 an hour.