learndirect - Can you work with Animals without a Degree? (2023)

9th July 21

When choosing a career working with animals, you really are spoilt for choice. The number of jobs in animal care and other animal-related lines of work is huge. You could become anything from a Zookeeper to a Dog Groomer, Veterinary Support Assistant or a Canine Trainer. The beauty of animal careers is that so many of these roles are accessible without higher level studies, like a degree.

Not needing a degree means a career change becomes a more viable option. You don’t have to invest years into additional study, or thousands of pounds on course fees before reaching your end goal of working in jobs to do with animals. These are common reasons why people decide against university and miss out on the chance to pursue their ideal career.

Though, with so many opportunities on offer in the animal sector, it’s well worth spending some time researching what jobs involving animals would be the right one for you.

Every animal career is different, as is the route into them, but each has a focus on helping animals in some way and enhancing their lives. So if you’re looking for a career that’s both rewarding and enjoyable, we’ve detailed a few animal jobs UK residents can consider.

Working with Domestic Animals

Many jobs in the animal sector focus on the care of domestic animals like cats and dogs. And with an estimated 44% of UK households having pets, it’s not hard to see why there are so many animal jobs that cater to their needs. So whether you’re interested in caring for them in a healthcare sense, exercise, training or otherwise, there are opportunities to suit.

A few examples of popular animal jobs in this area are:

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Dog Groomer

Grooming is an essential part of a dog’s care as regular maintenance is proven to improve their health and wellbeing in a number of ways. As a Dog Groomer, you will check your animal clients for injuries, parasites, infections, and early signs of illness.

You’ll prevent health problems and irritations from occurring by brushing, trimming and maintaining their coat. Besides helping the dog stay cool and comfortable, it allows their skin to breathe, removes grease that can block pores, and stimulates blood circulation.

Helping dogs stay healthy and happy is a very rewarding career for dog lovers. And it’s a career that is continually ranked highly for employees who are satisfied with their work.

You can enter a dog grooming career in multiple ways. Working your way up as an apprentice is one option, but gaining certain Dog Grooming qualificationswill position you for entry into the field as a fully qualified Dog Groomer. They take much less time to complete than university degrees and provide you with the knowledge and practical training you need to hit the ground running.

Once qualified, you could secure employment in an existing grooming salon or become self-employed and set up your own business, giving you complete flexibility and control over the way you work in these jobs involving animals.

learndirect - Can you work with Animals without a Degree? (1)

Dog Trainer

A Dog Trainer can help pets and their guardians build a better relationship to overcome any behavioural challenges they may be experiencing. While their title highlights their expertise with dog behaviour, a lot of the time they have to work with and improve the behaviour of the human carer.

This is because sometimes without proper guidance, they can struggle to effectively communicate with their pets. As a Dog Trainer, it’s your job to show them techniques that will allow them to work with their dogs more effectively. To reduce tensions and behaviours that could make dogs anxious or fearful, which could be leading to the negative behaviours.

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A typical day for you in these animal jobs could include teaching classes to multiple dogs and their carers, or providing private lessons. With experience, you could train dogs to complete more complicated tasks such as:

  • Search and rescue
  • Hunting
  • Police work
  • Therapy
  • Protection
  • Detection

You need to reach a certain level of accredited qualifications to gain the membership required to become a certified Canine Behaviourist. This can be achieved through university level study but also through the completion of dedicated courses that specialise in this area.

Veterinary Support Assistant

If you would like to support the health and wellbeing of domesticated pets in addition to wildlife, livestock and other animals, veterinary work is a great option, with many pursuing roles as a Veterinary Support Assistant and Vet Nurse.

A Veterinary Support Assistant plays a vital role in the running of a veterinary surgery. They work closely with Veterinary Nurses and Surgeons to assist them as they deliver preventative treatments and perform life saving procedures on their animal patients.

Aside from this, as a Veterinary Support Assistant, you will groom and feed animals, prepare the operating room, keep records and monitor the inpatients.

Becoming a Veterinary Support Assistant doesn’t entail extensive training like other veterinary roles, so there are fewer barriers to entry. Though you’ll still need to know a lot about animal care. To secure employment you will need to provide evidence of a Level 2 regulated qualification or above like this Veterinary Nurse Assistant Level 2 Diploma (RQF).

learndirect - Can you work with Animals without a Degree? (2)

Working with All Animals

If working with a wider range of animals interests you like wildlife and exotic species, there is also a huge scope of animal jobs available. Many of which enable you to experience them up close and contribute to the continuing existence of those that are endangered.

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Some of these roles include:


A role that is incredibly popular with those who want to care for all manner of marvellous and majestic species. Zookeepers look after the broad range of animals that reside in zoos, ensuring their health and wellbeing by maintaining their living areas, providing enrichment, a nutritious diet and monitoring their conditions.

Modern zoos are heavily involved with conservation initiatives. So much of your work in these animal welfare jobs will revolve around safeguarding and increasing the numbers of endangered species. You will also educate zoo visitors about conservation challenges and what the zoo is doing to help.

It’s a competitive field so you need to stand out against the high number of applicants that apply. While degree level study isn’t essential, a particular skill set is. Studying courses specific to the vocation can help you develop this. A Level 3 Diploma in Zookeeping, for example, provides you with the theoretical knowledge and practical skills that align you to the role.

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If you want to focus on helping these animal species in their natural habitats, you could work in conservation. There are many jobs involving animals that fall under this catch-all term, and each strives to protect and prolong the lives of wild animals.

Depending on your role, you could be raising awareness of the activities that are leading to species extinction, rehabilitating animals or collecting data on animal populations. This could be biological samples, behavioural observations and monitoring population levels, all of which helps determine future conservation initiatives.

The great thing about the number of opportunities in this area is you can find a role to suit your interests. For example, if you’re fascinated by African wildlife, there are courses you can take that give you detailed knowledge in that area.

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Conservation roles are also highly competitive. So courses related to conservation will help you build the specific skillset required to stand out against other applicants.

Study Online

By studying targeted courses, you can align yourself to any number of jobs working with animals. If you’re also looking for a flexible way to learn that doesn’t require commitment to a college timetable, online courses are a popular option.

You can gain the skills and knowledge needed for an animal career from home. And where practical training is incorporated in the course, this can also be taken place at a time that suits you.

This enables you to work towards a new career in jobs to do with animals without having to leave your current job, or find alternative arrangements for childcare. This is a modern approach that allows more people to go back into education to reach their career goals.

Start Today

If you have a passion for animals and want a career without degree level study, we can help.

learndirect is the UK’s leading distance learning provider. Offering many online courses in animal care that will prepare you for an animal-related career.

Find out more about the course options on offer by clicking below. Or you can speak to our advisors about the different ones we have available by calling01202 006 464or bycontacting us online.

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How can I get into animal care without a degree? ›

People interested in a wildlife career can find interesting and fulfilling jobs working with wild animals, even if they don't have a college degree.
Wildlife jobs that don't require a degree
  1. Wildlife control technician. ...
  2. Zookeeper. ...
  3. Veterinary assistant. ...
  4. Park ranger. ...
  5. Wildland firefighter. ...
  6. Naturalist. ...
  7. Wildlife photographer.
26 Oct 2021

How can I work with animals without a degree UK? ›

If you'd prefer not to take a degree, then it's still possible to gain entry into the role, but you'll need to build up some work experience in the field first. You could apply to be a conservation volunteer or a wildlife assistant with a charity or wildlife centre.

How can I work with animals directly? ›

20 careers with animals worth considering
  1. Agricultural technician. Agricultural technicians assist with measuring and analyzing the quality of agricultural products. ...
  2. Animal-assisted therapist. ...
  3. Animal breeder. ...
  4. Animal control worker. ...
  5. Animal scientist. ...
  6. Animal trainer. ...
  7. Conservation officer. ...
  8. Farm or ranch manager.
29 Sept 2020

WHAT A levels do you need to work with animals? ›

Maths, English and science are often required. However, experience with animals is also important. This could be through work experience or with your own pets.

Do you need qualifications to work with animals? ›

Formal qualifications are not always necessary for animal care jobs, however some employees may ask for qualifications such as GCSEs in their entry requirements. Whilst searching for a position, you may wish to undertake a course to gain the skills and knowledge required in this type of work.

Do you need any qualifications to work with animals? ›

You could take a college course in animal care, for example: Level 1 Certificate in Skills for Working in Animal Care Industries. Level 2 Diploma in Animal Care. T Level in Animal Care and Management.

What jobs in the UK don't require a degree? ›

40 Highest Paying Jobs without a Degree in the UK (updated 2022)
  1. Personal trainer. Average Salary – £27,000. ...
  2. Estate Agents. Average Salary – £21,500. ...
  3. Nutrition Coach. Average Salary – £26,797. ...
  4. Recruitment Consultant. Average Salary – £23,000. ...
  5. Pilates Instructors. ...
  6. FireFighter. ...
  7. Health & Wellbeing Coach. ...
  8. Police Officer.

What skills do you need to work with animals? ›

Great communication skills; Strong teamwork skills; Physical fitness and strength (to help you lift sedated or injured animals);

What do I need to study to work with animals? ›

You'll need a degree in a subject such as zoology, ecology or biology and sometimes a PhD. Relevant volunteer work may also be necessary.

What's the highest paying job with animals? ›

High Paying Animal Jobs
  • Veterinary Medical Officer. Salary range: $33,500-$216,500 per year. ...
  • Veterinary Radiologist. Salary range: $52,000-$195,000 per year. ...
  • Emergency Veterinarian. Salary range: $100,000-$148,500 per year. ...
  • Small Animal Veterinarian. ...
  • Veterinarian. ...
  • Associate Veterinarian. ...
  • Dog Behaviorist. ...
  • Veterinary Manager.

How do I start a career in animal rescue? ›

What qualifications are needed to become an Animal Emergency Services volunteer responder?
  1. Must be 18 years of age or older.
  2. Completed American Humane two-day Basic Animal Emergency Services training.
  3. Completed American Humane volunteer application.
  4. Completed American Humane volunteer agreement.

Do you need math to work with animals? ›

The veterinary profession is a science-based degree, so unfortunately maths, chemistry and physics are always going to be part of the curriculum. But that doesn't necessarily mean that you can't be a vet or RVN if these aren't your strong subjects.

What GCSEs do I need to work with animals? ›

Qualifications needed

You will need basic maths and English. For some jobs, you will also need sciences. As this is a competitive area, you will need to describe any animal-related experience you have. This could be work experience or looking after your own or other people's animals.

What qualifications do you need to work with animals in a zoo? ›

You can do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in:
  • animal or zoo management.
  • animal behaviour and welfare.
  • zoology or marine zoology.
  • animal conservation and biodiversity.
  • veterinary science.
  • biology.

Do you need qualifications to be an animal care assistant? ›

You won't need a degree in animal care, so if you're looking to start your career working with animals then this could be the perfect job for you. We only ask that you have GCSE qualifications or equivalent. You can also volunteer to start getting yourself experience in animal care.

Do you need qualifications to work in a zoo? ›

What qualifications do you need to be a zookeeper? Entry into a career as a zookeeper requires a relevant qualification, such as a degree in Zoology that covers important aspects of this career such as biology, science, psychology, and animal welfare and behaviour.

Do you need qualifications to be a vet care assistant? ›

While a degree is not essential to become a Veterinary Assistant, you do need to undergo an adequate training course. An accredited Level 2 diploma is a likely entry requirement for most practices, while relevant work experience is also favourable for employers, although not a prerequisite.

What is the highest paid job in UK without a degree? ›

Train Driver. One of the best ways to make a good living without a degree is to work as a train driver. This job requires no university degree and pays around £59,000 a year.

Which is the best job without degree? ›

Here are the highest paying jobs without a college degree:
  • Patrol Officer.
  • Executive Assistant.
  • Sales Representative.
  • Flight Attendant.
  • Electrician.
  • Plumber.
  • Wind Turbine Technician.

What jobs dont require studying? ›

If you're not planning to go to university, and you're looking for a rewarding job that pays well, it's important to understand what your options are.
10 jobs that don't require uni
  • Massage therapist. ...
  • Flight attendant. ...
  • Plumber. ...
  • Roofer. ...
  • Commercial pilot. ...
  • Farm manager. ...
  • Electrician. ...
  • Senior care worker.
19 Jun 2022

Can I be a zookeeper without a degree? ›

Although an associate degree may be adequate, employers usually require a bachelor's degree in animal science, zoology, or any life science. Prior job experience may take the place of education, but positions at higher levels often require 1 to 5 years of job experience and a degree.

Can you be a wildlife biologist without a degree? ›

If you want to become a wildlife biologist, you'll need to get at least a bachelor of science degree, ideally in wildlife biology, wildlife conservation, wildlife management, or a related life sciences degree. These programs are offered only at certain colleges and universities across the country.

How can I make a lot of money working with animals? ›

Jobs for animal lovers
  1. Animal caretaker. National average salary: $23,940 per year. ...
  2. Animal trainer. National average salary: $24,080 per year. ...
  3. Veterinary assistant. National average salary: $25.620 per year. ...
  4. Zookeeper. ...
  5. Breeder. ...
  6. Veterinary technician. ...
  7. Animal control officer. ...
  8. Veterinary nurse.
4 Feb 2020

What skills do you need to be an animal shelter worker? ›

Communication and interpersonal skills

While animal rescuers work mostly with animals, they are also likely to engage with humans, so learning how to work effectively with others may help you succeed. Compassion, empathy, and communication are among the interpersonal qualities that animal care specialists use.

What are 3 pet care skills? ›

Examples of pet sitter skills
  • Basic knowledge of animal behavior. Pet sitters tend to work with many species of varying breeds. ...
  • Adherence to community pet regulations. Many communities have pet regulations to protect public health. ...
  • Basic animal first aid. ...
  • Communication. ...
  • Problem-solving. ...
  • Decision-making. ...
  • Reliability. ...
  • Patience.
23 Nov 2021

Why do you want to work with animals? ›

A sociable career choice

Of course, working with animals means you need to be able to bond and communicate with them, and developing a bond with another species can often be highly rewarding itself. This type of work provides ample opportunities to spend time not just with animals but with other people too.

What degree should I get if I like animals? ›

Common Degrees for Working With Animals. Students pursuing animal degrees online choose from many options, such as zoology, agriculture, and veterinary science.

What do you call people who work with animals? ›

Zoologists work with animals in the wild and controlled environments such as zoos. They provide data that shapes wildlife conservation and preservation policy, work with animals extensively and spend time crunching numbers. Starting salaries depend on schooling. Those with bachelor's degrees earn around $45,460.

What job can I get if I love animals? ›

Animal care
  • Agricultural contractor. Agricultural contractors provide specialised, seasonal or temporary services to farmers.
  • Agricultural inspector. ...
  • Animal care worker. ...
  • Animal technician. ...
  • Assistance dog trainer. ...
  • Beekeeper. ...
  • Biologist. ...
  • Countryside ranger.

What job at a zoo pays the most? ›

What are Top 5 Best Paying Related Zoo Jobs in the U.S.
Job TitleAnnual SalaryHourly Wage
Zoo Veterinarian$68,595$32.98
Zoo Engineer$68,444$32.91
Zoo Director$65,843$31.66
Work From Home Zoo Engineer$60,795$29.23
1 more row

Do animal rescuers make money? ›

Average Salary for an Animal Rescuer

Animal Rescuers in America make an average salary of $30,395 per year or $15 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $44,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $20,000 per year.

What is an animal rescuer called? ›

Wildlife Rehabilitator

Wildlife rehabilitators work independently or for shelters or wildlife refuges. They take in injured, sick or orphaned wild animals and nurse them to health or adulthood. After care, rehabilitators release into the wild animals that can survive on their own.

What age can you become an animal rescue officer? ›

Are there any age restrictions to becoming an RSPCA Animal Rescue Officer? You need to be 17 or over to apply, and 18 by the time you start the course. There's no upper age limit.

What occupations require no math? ›

20 high-paying jobs that don't require math
  • Compliance manager.
  • Marketing manager.
  • Music teacher.
  • Historian.
  • Recruitment manager.
  • Art director.
  • Web developer.
  • Documentation manager.
8 Oct 2021

What job does not require math at all? ›

There are plenty of high-paying jobs you can pursue that don't require a head for numbers. Judges, acupuncturists, and elevator repairers are just a few occupations that the math-averse can take up.

Do you need maths as a zoo keeper? ›

What qualifications do I need to be a zookeeper? You will typically need at least 5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including English, maths and science.

What animal jobs pay well UK? ›

Best jobs where you can work with animals
  • Pet store associate. National Average Salary: £8.00 per hour. ...
  • Zookeeper. National Average Salary: £17,642 per year. ...
  • Wildlife specialist. National Average Salary: £17,929 per year. ...
  • Veterinary receptionist. ...
  • Animal technician. ...
  • Animal caretaker. ...
  • Dog groomer. ...
  • Pet sitter.
25 Aug 2020

Do you need a degree in zoology to work in a zoo? ›

What qualifications do you need? Similar to the role of a conservationist, you need to have a good knowledge of the area you'd like to work in. A degree in zoology, conservation or a biology-related course is ideal.

What skills do you need to work in a zoo? ›

Skills and qualities
  • physical fitness.
  • willingness to work outside in all types of weather.
  • a pleasant manner and good communication skills for dealing with the public.
  • to be polite but firm when enforcing rules, such as preventing people from feeding the animals.

Can zookeepers make money? ›

The salaries of Zookeepers in the US range from $10,240 to $209,552 , with a median salary of $37,730 . The middle 57% of Zookeepers makes between $37,730 and $94,998, with the top 86% making $209,552.

Can I work as a zookeeper without a degree? ›

Although an associate degree may be adequate, employers usually require a bachelor's degree in animal science, zoology, or any life science. Prior job experience may take the place of education, but positions at higher levels often require 1 to 5 years of job experience and a degree.

What qualifications must an animal care assistant obtain? ›

Many veterinary care assistants go on to train as a veterinary nurse. The VCA qualification, alongside a full level 2 qualification in English and Mathematics (i.e. GCSE Grade C or above/Functional Skills Level 2) will give you the academic entry requirements to progress onto a veterinary nursing course.

What animal jobs pay the most? ›

High Paying Animal Jobs
  • Veterinary Medical Officer. Salary range: $33,500-$216,500 per year. ...
  • Veterinary Radiologist. Salary range: $52,000-$195,000 per year. ...
  • Emergency Veterinarian. Salary range: $100,000-$148,500 per year. ...
  • Small Animal Veterinarian. ...
  • Veterinarian. ...
  • Associate Veterinarian. ...
  • Dog Behaviorist. ...
  • Veterinary Manager.

What job working with animals makes the most money? ›

Jobs for animal lovers
  • Veterinary nurse. ...
  • Pet groomer. ...
  • Pet sitter. ...
  • Marine biologist. ...
  • Animal nutritionist. ...
  • Wildlife biologist. National average salary: $63,877 per year. ...
  • Conservation land manager. National average salary: $72,116 per year. ...
  • Veterinarian. National average salary: $96,020 per year.

Does zookeeper pay well? ›

Salary Ranges for Zookeepers

The salaries of Zookeepers in the US range from $10,240 to $209,552 , with a median salary of $37,730 . The middle 57% of Zookeepers makes between $37,730 and $94,998, with the top 86% making $209,552.

How old are Zookeepers? ›

Interestingly enough, the average age of zoo keepers is 20-30 years old, which represents 46% of the population.

What are three skills needed for veterinary assistant? ›

Top 6 Skills You Need as a Vet Assistant
  • Skill #1: Flexibility & Versatility. ...
  • Skill #2: Staying Calm Under Pressure. ...
  • Skill #3: Dealing with the Disgusting. ...
  • Skill #4: Customer Service Skills. ...
  • Skill #5: Attention to Detail. ...
  • Skill #6: A Deep Love of Animals (and Their Human Friends) ...
  • Bottom Line.
30 May 2019

Do you need a license to rescue animals? ›

Many members of the public are under the impression that animal sanctuaries are licensed or regulated in some way. The reality though is that anyone can set up a rescue, irrespective of whether they have the skills, experience or resources.


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