Becoming an Animal Care Technician

Animal Care Technicians provide care for sick, injured or healthy animals ranging from domestic, farming to research animals. They provide fresh food, clean water, and adequate housing to animals. They bathe animals, clip hair, trim nails and attend to other grooming needs. They train the animals to be socialized with others as well as make their routine exercise. They observe the animals and maintain the detail record of their diet, physical condition and behavior. They may help to rescue animals from unsafe or unhealthy environments and transport them to the care facility. They assist veterinarians in diagnosing and treating the animals. They also medicate the animals as instructed. They may play a supporting role during the breeding of research animals. In addition, they perform other duties as assigned by the settings.

Work Environment

Animal Care Technicians can get employment in different environments such as veterinary hospitals, clinics, boarding kennels, animal shelters, pet stores, rescue centers, animal welfare organizations, zoological parks, research laboratories etc.  These professionals may work either in a city or county based setting in irregular hours including evenings, weekends, and holidays. They can also be self employed in their specialized field.

Educational Requirement

To become an Animal Care Technician, the aspiring candidates need to hold at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Most importantly, some practical experience working with animals are the typical requirements for these professionals. The candidates can learn through on-the-job training. However, most of the employers prefer candidates with associate degree or bachelor degree in biology, animal science, or a related field.

Animal Care Technicians can obtain exam-based certification from American Association of Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS).

Apart from the experience working with animals, the candidates must be in adequate physical fit, as their nature of work sometimes requires lifting and carrying animals or heavy objects.

Job Outlook and Salary

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities for Animal Care Technicians may rise 15% from 2012 to 2022. The average annual salary of an Animal Care Technician was $20,340 in May 2014.