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Nonfarm Animal Caretakers

Nonfarm animal caretakers take care of the everyday needs of animals in a variety of environments such as kennels, shelters and clinics. They perform tasks such as feeding and grooming animals, cleaning their cages and examining animals to make sure they are in good health. They may also exercise animals, bath them and provide companionship. Common job titles are animal keeper, animal attendant and animal care technician.

Kennel attendants clean cages and dog runs, provide food and water, and bathe and exercise animals. Kennel attendants may also perform grooming tasks.

Groomers specialize in maintaining an animal's appearance. Most groomers work with dogs and some groomers work with cats. Employers include kennels, pet supply food stores and veterinary clinics. Some groomers have their own business. Mobile grooming services that make house calls are increasingly popular.

Pet sitters take care of pets while their owners are away. They typically take care of the pet at the owner's house. They take care of tasks such as providing food and water. Pet sitters also exercise pets. Some bathe and groom animals. Most pet sitters take care of dogs.

Responsibilities

  • Provide food and water to animals
  • Clean cages and dog runs
  • Examine and monitor animals in order to detect signs of illness
  • Provide treatments to injured or sick animals
  • Exercise animals
  • Unload and store feed and supplies
  • Bathe animals
  • Groom animals
  • Answer customers' questions

Job Characteristics

Some of the tasks performed by animal caretakers may be unpleasant and physically or emotionally demanding. They also risk being bitten or scratched. However, working with animals can be very rewarding. Animal care technicians may occasionally lift heavy supplies and their work often includes kneeling and bending.

Nonfarm animal caretakers often work irregular hours. Animal care takers and service workers often work during the weekends and holidays. Some animal hospitals and animal shelters have an attendant on duty 24 hours a day.

Employment Outlook

Employment of animal care and service workers is projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to grow by 21 percent from 2008 to 2018 which is much faster than average for all occupations. In addition, the median annual earnings for nonfarm animal caretakers in 2008 was $19,360.

Education, Certification, and Licensing

Most animal care and service workers learn by on-the-job-training. Many employers seek applicants that have experience with animals. Animal attendants that are employed at kennels typically learn their skills with on-the-job training.

Pet sitters typically don't need any specific training but are typically required to have some knowledge about the type of animals they are taking care of and some previous experience with animals.

Pet groomers usually acquire their skills by participating in an informal apprenticeship under the supervision of an experienced groomer which usually last from 6 to 10 weeks. There are numerous state licensed grooming schools across the country which provide programs that vary in length for 2 to 18 weeks.

Animal keepers that work in animal shelters are not required to have specialized training, however training programs and workshops are available through the Humane Society of the United States, the National Animal Control Association and the American Humane Association.

The National Dog Groomers Association of America provides certification for master status as a groomer. A home-study certification program is offered by the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. A home study program is provided by the Pet Care Services Association and those that complete all three stages and pass written and oral examinations become Certified Kennel Operators.

Resources

Major Employers

The top employers are boarding kennels, animal shelters, animal humane societies, veterinary hospitals, pet stores, rescue leagues and laboratories.

Schools for Nonfarm Animal Caretakers are listed in the Browse Schools Section.

Nonfarm Animal Caretakers Skills

Below are the skills needed to be nonfarm animal caretakers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Skill NameImportanceCompetence
Management of Personnel Resources3.883.62
Active Listening3.753.5
Coordination3.753.75
Critical Thinking3.753.75
Judgment and Decision Making3.753.38

Nonfarm Animal Caretakers Abilities

Below are the abilities needed to be nonfarm animal caretakers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Ability NameImportanceCompetence
Problem Sensitivity3.884
Deductive Reasoning3.753.75
Inductive Reasoning3.753.12
Oral Comprehension3.753.88
Oral Expression3.753.88

Nonfarm Animal Caretakers Knowledge

Below are the knowledge areas needed to be nonfarm animal caretakers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 7 being highest).

   
Knowledge AreaImportanceCompetence
Administration and Management43.81
English Language3.462.96
Education and Training3.223.76
Psychology3.052.92
Customer and Personal Service33.66

Nonfarm Animal Caretakers Work activities

Below are the work activities involved in being nonfarm animal caretakers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest) and competency level on a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work ActivityImportanceCompetence
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates4.294.57
Performing General Physical Activities3.974.59
Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings3.944.58
Handling and Moving Objects3.935.6
Making Decisions and Solving Problems3.853.78

Nonfarm Animal Caretakers Work styles

Below are the work styles involved in being nonfarm animal caretakers according to their importance on the scale of 1 to 5 (1 being lowest and 5 being highest).

   
Work StyleImportance
Dependability4.4
Attention to Detail4.29
Integrity4.12
Self Control3.91
Cooperation3.82

Metro Areas Sorted by Total Employment for
Nonfarm Animal Caretakers

Listed below are the 10 largest metro areas based on the total number of people employed in Nonfarm Animal Caretakers jobs , as of 2017

   
Metro AreaTotal EmploymentAnnual Mean Salary
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim7,480 $30,280
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell4,870 $25,330
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington4,410 $23,160
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land4,100 $21,910
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach3,750 $26,190
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward3,120 $30,640
San Diego-Carlsbad2,690 $31,510
Detroit-Warren-Dearborn2,640 $23,070
Denver-Aurora-Lakewood2,610 $26,040
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale2,390 $26,560

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Total employment and salary for professions similar to animal caretakers

Source : 2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 23.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org

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We have some additional detailed pages at the state level for Nonfarm Animal Caretakers.

Numbers in parentheses are counts of relevant campus-based schools in the state; online schools may also be available.