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Animal Caretaker

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Life As an Animal Caretaker

Occupation 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.

A Day in the Life of an Animal Caretaker

  • Adjust controls to regulate specified temperature and humidity of animal quarters, nurseries, or exhibit areas.
  • Provide treatment to sick or injured animals, or contact veterinarians to secure treatment.
  • Perform animal grooming duties, such as washing, brushing, clipping, and trimming coats, cutting nails, and cleaning ears.
  • Discuss with clients their pets’ grooming needs.
  • Sell pet food and supplies.
  • Exercise animals to maintain their physical and mental health.

What Every Animal Caretaker Should Know

Animal Caretakers state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

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.

  • Nonfarm Animal Caretaker
  • Natural Science Curator
  • Wild Animal Caretaker
  • Stock Feeder
  • Bird Tender

Are There Job Opportunities for Animal Caretakers?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 241,500 jobs in the United States for Animal Caretaker. 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. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 46,200 job openings in this field each year.

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.

Salary for an Animal Caretaker

Animal Caretakers make between $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.

How much do Animal Caretakers make in each U.S. state?

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 kind of Animal Caretaker requirements are there?

Animal Caretaker Degree Level

How many years of work experience do I need?

Animal Caretaker Work Experience

Where Animal Caretakers Work

Animal Caretaker Sectors

Animal Caretakers work in the following industries:

Animal Caretaker Industries

Those thinking about becoming an Animal Caretaker might also be interested in the following careers:

Are you already one of the many Animal Caretaker in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:


Image Credit: Corey Hensley via Public Domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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