Animal Caretakers

Feed, water, groom, bathe, exercise, or otherwise provide care to promote and maintain the well-being of pets and other animals that are not raised for consumption, such as dogs, cats, race horses, 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.

Sample of reported job titles: Animal Care Giver (ACG), Aquarist, Dog Bather, Dog Groomer, Groomer, Kennel Attendant, Kennel Technician (Kennel Tech), Pet Groomer, Pet Stylist, Zookeeper

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Feed and water animals according to schedules and feeding instructions.
  • Provide treatment to sick or injured animals, or contact veterinarians to secure treatment.
  • Examine and observe animals to detect signs of illness, disease, or injury.
  • Mix food, liquid formulas, medications, or food supplements according to instructions, prescriptions, and knowledge of animal species.
  • Do facility laundry and clean, organize, maintain, and disinfect animal quarters, such as pens and stables, and equipment, such as saddles and bridles.
  • Exercise animals to maintain their physical and mental health.
  • Collect and record animal information, such as weight, size, physical condition, treatments received, medications given, and food intake.
  • Respond to questions from patrons, and provide information about animals, such as behavior, habitat, breeding habits, or facility activities.
  • Answer telephones and schedule appointments.
  • Advise pet owners on how to care for their pets' health.
  • Perform animal grooming duties, such as washing, brushing, clipping, and trimming coats, cutting nails, and cleaning ears.
  • Observe and caution children petting and feeding animals in designated areas to ensure the safety of humans and animals.
  • Clean and disinfect surgical equipment.
  • Find homes for stray or unwanted animals.
  • Discuss with clients their pets' grooming needs.
  • Transfer animals between enclosures to facilitate breeding, birthing, shipping, or rearrangement of exhibits.
  • Adjust controls to regulate specified temperature and humidity of animal quarters, nurseries, or exhibit areas.
  • Anesthetize and inoculate animals, according to instructions.
  • Install, maintain, and repair animal care facility equipment, such as infrared lights, feeding devices, and cages.
  • Train animals to perform certain tasks.
  • Order, unload, and store feed and supplies.
  • Sell pet food and supplies.

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Technology Skills

Hot technology Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
  • Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 93% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others — 77% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 87% responded “Every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 78% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 78% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Spend Time Standing — 56% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 61% responded “Every day.”
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 56% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone — 52% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 63% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 58% responded “Every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 36% responded “Very important results.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 32% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Deal With External Customers — 34% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 28% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Physical Proximity — 47% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Exposed to Disease or Infections — 45% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 42% responded “Important.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running — 34% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 38% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 32% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Electronic Mail — 50% responded “Every day.”
  • Consequence of Error — 29% responded “Extremely serious.”
  • Time Pressure — 32% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 37% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 32% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations — 34% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 29% responded “Limited responsibility.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 43% responded “Important.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 33% responded “More than half the time.”
  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 31% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Letters and Memos — 32% responded “Never.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 27% responded “Never.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 39% responded “Moderate responsibility.”

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
Education
These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
Related Experience
Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, tellers, and dental laboratory technicians.
SVP Range
3 months to 1 year of preparation (4.0 to < 6.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • 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.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.

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Knowledge

  • Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Administrative — Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 64%
     
    responded: High school diploma or equivalent requiredmore info
  • 14%
     
    responded: Associate’s degree required
  • 13%
     
    responded: Bachelor’s degree required

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without "giving out" or fatiguing.

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Interests

Interest code: RC
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

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Work Values

  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

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Work Styles

  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$13.75 hourly, $28,600 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2020)
272,400 employees
Projected growth (2020-2030)
Much faster than average (15% or higher)
Projected job openings (2020-2030)
56,400
State trends
Top industries (2020)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2020-2030 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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