What Requirements Do I Need For Certification As an Animal Care Worker?

Animal care is the care of non-human animals for human purposes. Many individuals treat other animals in a tender manner; others practice animal neglect by abusing animals without repercussions. Animal care is a controversial topic, since there is no universally accepted definition of what is acceptable care. Formal criteria of animal care vary widely between different context, however, are largely debated by animal rights activists, veterinarians, politicians, and academics.

Veterinarians are doctors who treat animals and provide specific services related to animal care. Animal welfare organizations such as Animal Welfare League of Arlington and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) advocate for the rehabilitation and humane treatment of animals, especially cats and dogs. Veterinarians combine knowledge about specific animals with extensive experience in their field to provide a comprehensive service. Many animal advocates consider veterinary science to be unnecessary and cruel; however, many veterinarians continue to practice essential animal welfare techniques, such as spaying/neutering, pet vaccines, heartworm testing, and dehorning. Others argue that veterinarians are too involved in animal care; for example, some animal rights activists believe that animals are better off dead because they are unable to speak for themselves.

To become an animal care worker, you will need a high school diploma or its equivalent, along with a degree from an accredited university. Some states require you to have completed and graduated from a minimum of two years at a community college or vocational-technical high school. Others only require completion of a level 1 diploma in animal care. At the community college level, animal care workers can earn associate degrees, bachelors degrees, and graduate degrees. The degree requirements vary by state and career field, so you should contact your local university or community college to find out specific requirements.