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Careers for Animal Lovers: From Zookeeper to Vet Nurse Jobs

If you love animals, you’ll be glad to hear that the veterinary industry has a whole range of jobs that could be perfectly suited to your interests and skillset. From domestic pets such as cats...

Careers for Animal Lovers: From Zookeeper to Vet Nurse Jobs

If you love animals, you’ll be glad to hear that the veterinary industry has a whole range of jobs that could be perfectly suited to your interests and skillset. From domestic pets such as cats and dogs to more exotic creatures, caring for animals is a fulfilling job and no two days will be the same.

But which career path is best for you? Well, there are a few important factors to consider when starting out in the animal care industry including your interests, qualifications and career goals. So, before you head into the world of animals, it’s a good idea to do a little research and find out which job is right for you. According to recent statistics, in 2019 there were over 22,000 working vets in the UK, playing a vital role in the future of the profession, however, there are positions within all areas of veterinary practise that are just as important.

In this blog, we explain everything you need to know about careers for animal lovers. If vet care assistant jobs sound good to you or life as a zookeeper is something you’re interested in, read on for a breakdown of the job career paths.

Which veterinary jobs can you choose from?

It isn’t only jobs for vets that make up the animal care industry. Animals have lots of different needs and there are plenty of roles to go alongside this with varied responsibilities. Caring for poorly animals, administering treatments, grooming and welfare checks are just some of the areas that veterinary jobs can involve.

At Vet Pro Recruitment, we’re proud to offer jobs for vets and vet care assistant jobs across the UK. Working closely with employers and job seekers, we’re dedicated to filling the animal care industry with the best people in the business. Take a look at our latest vacancies today to get in touch with us for more information.

Here are some of the top career choices that involve working with animals.

Veterinary nurse

As a veterinary nurse, you will usually work in a veterinary practice alongside the vet surgeon. As one of the first ports of call for pet owners, the role involves handling admin-based tasks such as contacting owners, recording the animal’s information as well as practical responsibilities. When sick animals are brought in, veterinary nurses are there to take care of them by administering treatments, feeding and bathing them alongside assisting with operations. The role is very varied and you are expected to be involved in several areas of the practice.

Qualifications needed:

To become a veterinary nurse there are a couple of pathways you can take. The current veterinary nursing qualification is the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) level three diploma in veterinary nursing. This can be taken as a vocational qualification through a

Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing, which can take as little as two years to complete full-time,  as an apprenticeship or at university level on a BSc honours degree in veterinary nursing. To apply, this will usually require a minimum number of GCSEs and A-Levels at A*-C grade.

Vet or animal surgeon

As a fully qualified vet, you may work within a practice, animal hospital or off-site. Some jobs for vets will offer a mix of animal care whereas others can specialise in a particular area they are interested in. The main role of a vet is to diagnose and treat unwell animals including a range of symptoms from broken bones to infections. Animal surgeons will perform surgery alongside veterinary nurses and this can be on pets that owners have brought into the clinic as well as farm animals and exotic creatures.

Qualifications needed:

To become a qualified vet you will need a veterinary degree - which usually requires having A-Levels in at least one science subject such as biology but each university will differ. It is also worth getting as much animal experience as you can through volunteering and work. Study time typically lasts around 5 years and includes both placements and theoretical learning.


If you’re keen to work with more exotic animals and share your love of wildlife with the public, a zookeeping role could be perfect for you. There are small independent zoos and large zoos all over the UK and as a zookeeper, it will be your responsibility to feed, observe, build trusted relationships with the animals and educate visitors. Being involved in the day to day running of a zoo can be a very interesting job, but as a zookeeper, you will also learn about animal breeding and conservation.

Qualifications needed:

Zookeepers are increasingly qualified to degree level having a university-level understanding of zoology or an animal-related subject such as biology, animal science or animal welfare. Following your university degree, you may find it useful to take a postgraduate course to give yourself a competitive edge but this isn’t compulsory. There are also apprenticeship schemes for zookeeping where you can gain transferable skills for the role.

Kennel or cattery worker

Kennel or cattery workers are there to look after animals that are boarding, for example, if their owners are on holiday or they are waiting to be rehomed. The role involves taking daily care of the animals, conducting training, keeping the kennels clean and completing administrative work too. You will meet pets of natures and breeds every day which can be a fun and diverse role.

Qualifications needed:

There are no particular qualifications needed to be a kennel or cattery worker, however, having a diploma in animal care or welfare will help. If not, having a good amount of experience working with cats and dogs will show employers that you are passionate about animals and well suited to the role.

Dog groomer

If you love dogs, getting into dog grooming could suit you perfectly. This kind of role is not just about making dogs look good, dog groomers also carry out basic health checks on the animals as they are groomed. They can then advise owners on how to care for their dog’s coat inbetween grooming sessions. There is also a creative side to the role as you will need to adapt your grooming skills to suit each animal and the needs of their owners.

Qualifications needed:

To become a dog groomer you can take a certificate or diploma in grooming at college or as an apprenticeship. Each role will ask for different levels of training and you will get a lot of on the job training too. As well as getting your qualifications, being a groomer also requires patience, good communication and independence.

Vet Pro Recruitment: Veterinary Nurse Jobs and More Across the UK

At Ve tPro Recruitment, we specialise in veterinary recruitment throughout the UK, matching jobseekers to relevant employers nationwide. Whether you’re looking for your next challenge in the veterinary industry or you’re trying to secure your first role, we have a database of excellent employers offering a range of vacancies.

We understand how difficult it can be securing your next job, but our dedicated team are here to help. After understanding your needs, we’ll get to work finding the right vacancies and helping you prepare for your interview. For employers, you can rest assured that we only put forward the best candidates for the role. Our contacts stretch across the UK including veterinary nurses, surgeons and more so your position can be filled quickly.

If you’re looking for jobs for vets, look no further than Vet Pro Recruitment. We’re passionate about animal care, understand the requirements and aim to help both job seekers and employers. Get in touch today for more information about our services.