Are you a student ready to make decisions about your future career? Or are you bored or disillusioned in your current job and looking for something new, inspiring, or more challenging? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, have you considered a career working with animals yet? For the right person, there are so many benefits to working alongside animals, whether it’s horses, cats, dogs, farm animals, or exotics.
Let’s face it, most people enjoy the company of animals. They can put a smile on our faces and reduce our stress levels, especially if we stroke and pet them. This is why they make such great therapy animals for people who are suffering from mental or physical illnesses. So, if you have regular contact with animals as part of your job, you can expect to feel happier, less stressed, and more positive. Find out more about how dogs improve our mental well-being.
The ‘job that doesn’t feel like a job’ is seen as a bit of a Holy Grail among workers. We spend a large proportion of our lifetime working, and it’s ideal if we enjoy this time, rather than resenting it. If you love animals, you’ll probably find you also love working with animals, so your job might not feel much like work at all. If your dream is to spend Sunday evenings feeling relaxed without that ‘back to work’ feeling and wake up before work feeling content and ready for the day, a career where you work with animals could be the answer.
Depending on the species of animal you choose to work with, and the type of job you choose to do, you may find yourself spending lots of time outside in the open air. Fresh air and being in the great outdoors can increase feelings of well-being, which could help you enjoy your job more.
Many job roles that include work with animals also involve travel. You might find yourself visiting racing yards, stables, farms, veterinary practices, rescue centres, or even zoos! If you can’t imagine spending your time in the same place and crave variety in your working life, there are plenty of options.
People who are office-bound in their job can suffer from poor mental well-being, weight gain, poor posture, back pain, and other bodily aches and pains. Rather than getting stuck in the rut of an office job, you might prefer a career with a more active and healthier lifestyle.
If you work with animals, you’ll form strong bonds with those who you are caring for. However, it’s not just the animals you’ll build relationships with, you’ll also meet lots of different people from all walks of life.
Everyone wants to feel that they are making a difference in whatever role they choose to do for work. When working with and caring for animals, there’s a sense of reward and accomplishment as you see improvement in their comfort, behaviour, and health.
Animal care jobs are suited to people who are passionate about animals. Anyone who is motivated and has a love of animals, a good work ethic, and a caring and compassionate demeanour could thrive in an animal care role. Of course, it’s also important to have an interest and, ideally, qualifications in science-based subjects, as well as the capacity and self-discipline required for study and training. You might worry that you don’t have a driving license, or that you need flexible working hours, but it’s surprising how many animal care jobs can be adapted to fit your situation, lifestyle, and job requirements.
When you consider jobs with animals, you might automatically think of a vet. But there are so many more roles that involve animal care. For example:
In the UK, the title Animal Osteopath is protected so that only those with human osteopathy qualifications can use it. Therefore, terms like animal therapist and manual therapist are used. As an animal therapist, you could find yourself working with dogs, cats, cows, horses, or even exotic animals.
Other jobs where you could work with animals include veterinary and agricultural roles, and working at kennels, catteries, stables, rescue centres, and zoos.
So, out of all the animal care jobs that exist, why might an animal therapy job be best for you?
If you struggle with childcare and family life, or you have other commitments that make Monday to Friday, Nine to Five jobs a bit tricky, you’ll be pleased to know that this might not be a problem. An animal therapy career can give you the option to set your working hours, allowing you to accommodate one-off appointments and fit work around your life.
It’s not just the benefit of flexible working hours. If you choose to be a self-employed animal therapist, you can choose how much work you want to do to suit your needs. You’ll have control over your work-life balance, while also being able to take on more clients if it makes sense for you financially.
If you become an animal therapist, you can choose to work with a particular species. For instance, you might choose to focus solely on equine osteopathy or canine osteopathy. Even if you specialise, no day will be the same! On the other hand, if you’re passionate about animals of all species, you can enjoy even more variety!
Depending on whether you’re self-employed or an employee, you could have options about your workplace setup. You might choose to be a visiting animal therapist, working on the premises of the patients you’re treating. If this doesn’t suit you, and you feel more comfortable having a base, you can work from your own practice or hire a suitable space.
An animal therapist’s salary varies with experience, location, qualifications, and nature of work. However, you can expect this salary to increase over time, and if you’re self-employed you can set your own consultation price.
Animal therapy is becoming more popular in the UK, and there is now more demand. Animal therapy roles and opportunities are available working with many species of animals, including dogs, cats, cows, horses, and exotic animals. Equine and canine osteopathy are currently the most used services, but there is growing interest and demand for the treatment of other species.
The exact route to an animal care career depends on several things. Firstly, the exact role or profession you’re aiming for, and secondly your previous roles and experience. If you are aiming to become an animal therapist, you would need to undertake some training and achieve an animal therapy degree or diploma. The length and content of the training course will depend on whether you have previous experience and qualifications in a similar area, and whether you’re established in a career or a student fresh out of education. There are different options to suit all starting levels, ensuring that you obtain the necessary knowledge, practical skills, and experience to work in the UK as an animal therapist.
Doing work with animals has many benefits, from better mental and physical health to better job satisfaction. So, if you’re passionate about animals and considering a career change or planning your future study, make sure you’ve considered an animal therapy career.