Working in the animals industry with GCSEs (or similar)

Most jobs in this area involve starting at the bottom as a trainee or apprentice to learn the essential skills and procedures required in animal care.

Jobs include kennel maid, farm hand, stable hand, animal care assistant, dog grooming assistant, cattery assistant, pet shop assistant, assistant groom, zoo assistant and gamekeeper.

Case study

You need at least five good GCSEs to become a veterinary nurse. I took the apprenticeship route...

Sarah Spinks, community veterinary nurse, PDSA

Example jobs

Animal care assistant
Cleaning and feeding animals both indoors and outdoors.

Farm hand
Caring for animals and general maintenance duties, possibly using machinery.

Dog grooming assistant
Bathing pets and clipping claws before the dog’s coat is trimmed.


Approximate pay levels

Figures supplied as a guide only

As an apprentice you should expect to receive the minimum wage or apprenticeship wage.

Pay levels graph

Typical working conditions

  • Jobs can be outdoors, in all weathers.
  • Some jobs will be indoors in a surgery, laboratory, shop or grooming parlour.
  • Working hours can be long.

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.

Career path

An apprenticeship will involve taking NVQs in your area of work. This could be NVQ 1 and 2 in domestic animal care, dog grooming or horse care.

Useful links

Pearson is not responsible for content on external websites.


Information, training and support for the land-based and environmental sector

The National Apprenticeship Service

NAS - Information and advice about becoming an apprentice

National Careers Service

Find out about being an animal care worker