Australia is known for being a nation of animal lovers so it’s hardly surprising that working with animals is becoming an increasingly popular career choice. Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership rates in the world, with about 63% of households owning pets. That’s an estimated 25 million pets living in Australia – a lot of animals in which to care for!
As well as caring for pets around the home, the animal care sector includes pet shops, boarding kennels, zoos and grooming parlours. The job roles involving animal health, welfare and handling are many and varied, meaning if you are passionate about animals and keen to turn a hobby into a career, this is very much possible.
Not sure where to start? Here’s a guide to some valuable resources regarding working with animals.
Melissa Kaplin was working on an oil spill in 1990 when she was exposed to crude oil. It left her disabled, and unable to do anything more than “poop and read” as she puts it. Since then, she has spent her days researching just about everything, including animal-related careers. This well-put-together guide offers a glossary to general areas of animal study and work and also offers some ballpark figures surrounding job salaries.
Sydney Animal Behaviour Service is the premier behavioural medicine practice in Australia, run by Registered Veterinary Specialist in Animal Behaviour, Dr Kersti Seksel. Offering a range of services for vets and trainers, including books, collars and toys, they also offer a distance education course to help those working in the animal industry better understand the complexities of animal behaviour.
The Animal Industries Resource Centre offers a wide range of nationally recognised qualifications to help you achieve your goals. Ranging from a Pet Technician course to Diplomas in Veterinary Nursing, most qualifications are recognised throughout Australia and the world. If you know what course you want then you can jump straight in, otherwise their guide will give you a good overview of the industry.
If you have any questions about a career in the animal industry, Career FAQs is a great place to start. Offering information surrounding current job openings, average salaries, employment growth and qualifications needed, Career FAQs can simply keep you well informed or can link you to valuable courses that suit your needs.
Animals Australia is Australia’s leading animal protection organisation. Their investigations and campaigns are recognised all over the world and each year, millions of people who believe in a world where animals feel free from cruelty are united. Becoming a member is easy and will keep you informed of what’s happening to animals throughout Australia and the globe.
Pets Australia is the only pet industry group that represents all sectors of the pet industry, including pet owners. It welcomes members, protests, photos and suggestions, and offers information on all the big issues currently being discussed in Australia. A classifieds page offers pet businesses for sale, pet services and pet jobs available and an information page offers insight into pet events, pet education and the pet industry.
The McGill Career Planning Service (CaPS) assists students in their career development and search for permanent, part-time and summer jobs, and helps students gather information regarding possible future careers. A well-structured resource, the Working with Animals files explore a wide range of industry avenues.
The RSPCA is a community-based charity that works to prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection. With a history dating back to 1871, the RSPCA has developed a strong organisational vision, and developed a comprehensive structure of internal governance. It works closely with the pet care industry to ensure a positive impact on animals in the home.
From the regional hubs in Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and Latin America, the World Animal Protection Agency moves the world to protect animals. Working towards a better future for animals, the organisation works with animals in communities, disasters, farming, the wild and in animal education.
WIRES is a great place to start if you are considering a career in animal care. While WIRES relies on volunteers to care for their animals, working with WIRES gives you a great base in which to start building your career. As Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organisation, WIRES actively rehabilitates and preserves Australian wildlife and encourages others to do the same.
There are a wide range of courses around, but maybe a good start is to look at what is available online – here’s one that we came across open colleges that offer a wide range of options, that could help you find your way and give you some inspiration. TAFE also has a wide range of courses available, which lead to certification that is helpful when trying to find your dream job. Good luck!