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Animal Caretaker

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What Does it Take to Be an Animal Caretaker?

Animal Caretaker Job Description Feed, water, groom, bathe, exercise, or otherwise care for pets and other nonfarm animals, such as dogs, cats, ornamental fish or birds, zoo animals, and mice. Work in settings such as kennels, animal shelters, zoos, circuses, and aquariums. May keep records of feedings, treatments, and animals received or discharged. May clean, disinfect, and repair cages, pens, or fish tanks.

Life As an Animal Caretaker

  • Observe and caution children petting and feeding animals in designated areas to ensure the safety of humans and animals.
  • Sell pet food and supplies.
  • Adjust controls to regulate specified temperature and humidity of animal quarters, nurseries, or exhibit areas.
  • Answer telephones and schedule appointments.
  • Collect and record animal information, such as weight, size, physical condition, treatments received, medications given, and food intake.
  • Train animals to perform certain tasks.

Qualities of an Animal Caretaker

When polled, Animal Caretakers say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.

Types of Animal Caretaker

  • Wildlife Rehabilitator
  • Nonfarm Animal Caretaker
  • Doggy Daycare Activities Director
  • Kennel Worker
  • Pound Keeper

Animal Caretaker Job Outlook

In the United States, there were 241,500 jobs for Animal Caretaker in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 24.2% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 58,500 new jobs for Animal Caretaker by 2026. The BLS estimates 46,200 yearly job openings in this field.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Animal Caretakers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Animal Caretaker are Utah, Nevada, and Florida. Watch out if you plan on working in Maryland, Maine, or Kentucky. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Animal Caretaker Average Salary

The salary for Animal Caretakers ranges between about $18,160 and $37,250 a year.

Salary Ranges for Animal Caretakers

Animal Caretakers who work in District of Columbia, Alaska, or Massachusetts, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Animal Caretakers in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $21,280
Alaska $31,040
Arizona $27,320
Arkansas $24,050
California $29,830
Colorado $27,510
Connecticut $28,530
Delaware $24,810
District of Columbia $35,520
Florida $24,770
Georgia $24,790
Hawaii $29,680
Idaho $22,760
Illinois $24,550
Indiana $23,590
Iowa $24,080
Kansas $22,890
Kentucky $22,730
Louisiana $22,770
Maine $26,810
Maryland $28,140
Massachusetts $30,930
Michigan $24,390
Minnesota $26,470
Mississippi $23,320
Missouri $24,450
Montana $25,770
Nebraska $26,220
Nevada $23,720
New Hampshire $24,810
New Jersey $26,700
New Mexico $25,740
New York $29,780
North Carolina $24,110
North Dakota $24,440
Ohio $24,030
Oklahoma $23,710
Oregon $28,240
Pennsylvania $23,960
Rhode Island $28,550
South Carolina $23,400
South Dakota $24,080
Tennessee $23,530
Texas $23,420
Utah $25,440
Vermont $26,650
Virginia $25,440
Washington $30,130
West Virginia $23,790
Wisconsin $23,530
Wyoming $23,550

What Tools & Technology do Animal Caretakers Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Animal Caretakers may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Access
  • Appointment-Plus

How do I Become an Animal Caretaker?

What education is needed to be an Animal Caretaker?

Animal Caretaker Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become an Animal Caretaker?

Animal Caretaker Work Experience

Where Animal Caretakers Are Employed

Animal Caretaker Sectors

The table below shows the approximate number of Animal Caretakers employed by various industries.

Animal Caretaker Industries

You May Also Be Interested In…

Those interested in being an Animal Caretaker may also be interested in:

Career changers with experience as an Animal Caretaker sometimes find work in one of the following fields:


Image Credit: Corey Hensley via Public Domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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