A question we are frequently asked at Compass is ‘which course is best for working with animals?’, it sounds like a straightforward enquiry but first it helps if you narrow down your options or you could end up spending a lot of time, money and effort studying something that is not best geared towards your aim. You can aim to be self employed, salaried or voluntary and some work is long term and some is temporary, or simply seasonal. There are also some internships where you pay varying amounts to take part in experience gathering work for a set period of time, often abroad.

You then need to narrow down where your interest in animals lies. Is there a particular species that you want to work with or a particular type of work? Obviously if you have an interest in dogs there is little point in studying reptiles.

Some jobs are regulated which means there are specific courses that are required and generally they are only available at universities and colleges. Two examples are veterinary Surgeon and Veterinary Nurse, out of interest Animal Care Assistant (sometimes referred to as Vet Nurse Assistant) is not regulated.

There are essentially four areas of work with animals which are:


Indeed - one search.all jobs www.indeed.co.uk/Animal-Care-jobs
Inside Jobs www.insidejobs.com
Total Jobs www.totaljobs.com
Dogs Trust www.dogstrust.org.uk
Top Careers for Dog Lovers www.dogs.about.com
Gumtree www.gumtree.com
Guide Dogs www.guidedogs.org.uk
Simply Hired www.simplyhired.co.uk/a/jobs/list/q-animal
JobisJob www.jobisjob.co.uk/animals/jobs
Job Centre Plus www.job-centre-vacancies.co.uk
Fish4jobs www.fish4jobs.co.uk
Pets at Home www.petsathomejobs.com
Trovit - Animal Care Jobs http://jobs.trovit.co.uk/
Must Love Cats - Careers with Cats www.mustlovecats.net-careers-with-cats.html
Jobrapido www.uk.jobrapido.com
Jobtome www.uk.jobtome.com
JobHero www.jobhero.com
Jobs.ac.uk www.jobs.ac.uk
Prospects www.prospects.ac.uk
Adzuna https://www.adzuna.co.uk/jobs/animal
  1. Animal Care, Welfare and Husbandry Jobs
    This is by far the biggest sector and the one that has the most salaried positions.VeterinaryRescue and release/rehomingAnimal Keepers (Captive collections)Kennels and CatteriesHouse sitting, Pet Boarding, Dog WalkingPet shops
  2. Animal Behaviour and Training Jobs
    The majority of work in this sector is self employed, there are a few salaried positions with bigger charities but it is rare for them to become available. The roles are: Trainer - someone who trains dogs (or other animals) on their own, Training Instructor - someone who trains dogs (or other animals) with their owner, often in a class situation, Behaviourist - someone who deals with problematic behaviour. As this line of work is becoming regulated you should aim to become qualified through an organisation that is a member of the Animal Behaviour and Training Council (ABTC), some people will tell you that this is not necessary but you could be wasting time and money by not following the Compass advice.
  3. Animal Conservation Jobs
    The nature of this work revolves around wild animals which is historically low paid or voluntary. Work is available in the UK and abroad and can sometimes be carried out on an internship. In these cases you will normally have to get yourself to the work site (eg Africa)and home, accommodation and food is normally provided.
  4. Animal Research Jobs
    This is probably the least popular work and requires scientific qualifications, all positions will be salaried.

    Other occupations such as Search and Rescue, Security, Home Office detection dogs and Agriculture use animals for a purpose but apart from specialist skills involved they come under the main category of Animal Care, Welfare and Husbandry.

    Your CV

    In order to get a job you will invariably need to prepare a CV, this document is the key to getting an interview in most cases. It must show you to be at the very least as well qualified as all other applicants, it must make you stand out. In many cases the way to do this is show that you have already acquired better knowledge of the job than other applicants although experience and aptitude will also play a part. Make sure you don’t send a ‘standard’ CV for all jobs you apply for, tailor it to suit each job.

    Animal Experience

    Employers often want applicants to have some experience of working with animals but that can be a problem for those starting out and looking for their first job. The answer here is to do some voluntary work, this also says good things about your attitude towards working and occasionally may even lead to paid work. You must be prepared to start at the bottom and that usually entails doing the least attractive work such as cleaning out.

    Working with animals is very popular and all vacancies attract a very large number of applicants so be sure to get the right education. For more advice on which courses are right for you send your enquiry to Compass or give us a call, there is no obligation to enrol on a course and all advice is free, friendly and totally impartial. To help you in your quest we have compiled a list of potential contacts for you to browse or get in touch with.

    David Montgomery
Vet jobs UK www.careervets.com
Synergy Vets Recruitement www.synergyvets.co.uk
Carlton Professional Veterinary recruitement www.carltonprofessional.co.uk
Veterinary Recruitement www.vets2go.co.uk
Vetclick / Jobs www.vetclick.co.uk
Vet Times Jobs www.jobs.vettimes.co.uk
Veterinary Nurse Forums www.vetnurse.co.uk
Gardner Lleewelyn Veterinary Recruitement www.glvets.co.uk
RIG Vet Recruitement www.rigvets.co.uk
RSPCA www.rspca.org.uk
Dogs Trust www.dogstrust.org.uk
Wildlife Trusts www.wildlifetrusts.org
RSPB www.rspb.org.uk
Wildfire www.stitiggywinkles.org.uk
Cats Protection www.cats.org.uk
Battersea Dogs and Cats Home www.battersea.org.uk
Yard and Groom www.yardandgroom.com/jobs/search
Horse and Hound www.horseandhound.co.uk/classified/equestrian-jobs
The British Horse Society www.bhs.org.uk
Careers in Racing - BHA www.jobs.careersinracing.com
4extrahands - Agri Recruitement www.4xtrahands.com/list_jobs
jobs.ac www.jobs.ac.uk
RSPB www.rspb.org.uk/vacancies
Birdlife International www.birdlife.org/jobs
Primate Info. Net www.pin.primate.wisc.edu/jobs/list/avail
Primate Society - Jobs and Grants www.psgb.org/student_grant.php
International Primatological Society www.internationalprimatologicalsociety.org
Seaworld Parks and Entertainment www.seaworld.org
Sea Life www.sealife-jobs.com
Cetacean Research and Rescue Unit www.crru.org/rescue.asp https://www.adzuna.co.uk/jobs/animal