Education & Training
To work as an animal caretaker, you typically need to:
- complete short-term on-the-job training.
Education after high school
No formal education is required for this job. However, many employers prefer that you have a high school diploma or its equivalent. Courses in animal grooming, care, and handling are also helpful. Some courses are available through animal shelters or home-study programs.
Growing up on a farm provides good work experience. It is also helpful if you join clubs such as 4-H or National FFA Organization while in high school. Volunteer experience working in an animal hospital or clinic is helpful.
Animal caretakers usually receive informal, on-the-job training from an experienced worker. You usually start by feeding and watering animals. As you gain experience you learn to read and understand animal behavior. Training generally lasts up to one month.
Related Programs (Current training programs available)
Fields of Study (What to study to prepare for this career)
Click on any of the Fields of Study listed below to find out more about preparing for this career.
Helpful High School Courses
You should take a general high school curriculum that meets the state's graduation requirements. You will be required to take both math and science classes to graduate.
Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this occupation include:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Animal Science
- Computer Fundamentals
- Food and Nutrition
Many animal caretakers are self-employed. If you want to run your own business some day, you should consider taking these courses as well:
- Introduction to Business
The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.
You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.
Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career.
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.