Animal Care Careers
- Accurately identify people whose occupations meet the needs of pets.
- Learn new vocabulary words associated with careers with animals.
- Recognize how people in several occupations play important roles in a pet’s care.
- Collect information different animal-related careers by visiting websites that provide in-depth career information.
- Relate personal interests to animal care professions.
- Write about animal care professions.
Many students are excited about working with animals, but may not realize the wide variety of careers available.
Curriculum Connection: Alberta Education Program of Studies
Health and Life Skills
Grades 4-8: Life Roles and Career Development
- Relate personal interests to various occupations.
- Relate personal skills to various occupations.
- Relate knowledge, skills and attitudes of a successful student to those of successful workers.
- Examine factors that may influence future life role/education/career plans e.g. technology, role models.
- Investigate, interpret and evaluate career information and opportunities, using a variety of sources e.g., Internet, informational interviews, mentors, media.
Career and Life Management
Senior High: Career and Life Choices
- Develop strategies to deal with the transition from senior high school to post-secondary education/training and/or the world of work.
- Describe the types and amount of work that can be done now.
- Assess existing opportunities for work experience, cooperative education, and volunteer and paid part-time work.
- Use the community in a search for information and experience through career mentoring, job shadowing, investigative interviewing, networking and personal research.
- Build one or more plans for a transition period of 3 to 5 years analyze the career paths of others.
Veterinarians are only one group who work with animals. Even within the veterinary profession, there are many different jobs (see poster). Have students brainstorm all possible animal care careers including work in law enforcement, research, retail and animal shelters. Some possible jobs in animal care include:
|Zookeeper||Wildlife rehabilitation specialist|
|Animal control officer||Animal shelter animal care worker|
|Pet Groomer||Kennel operator|
|Veterinary medicine professor||Animal health technician|
|Animal behaviorist||Animal shelter adoption specialist|
|Parks conservation officer/naturalist||Wildlife biologist/researcher|
|Pet therapy worker||Animal Trainer|
|Pet store owner/employee||Canine unit police officer|
Younger students can complete the Activity Sheets on animal careers.
- Career Search Grades 3-5 (ASPCA)
- Matching job titles with definitions and circling words in a word search puzzle
- Veterinary Career Word Scramble Grade 4 (AVMA)
- Matching scrambled words with descriptions of vet work environments
- Who does what? Grade 7
- Matching job titles with definitions (Canadian Federation of Humane Societies)
Students can also read and discuss articles on being a vet or working in animal welfare.
- ASPCA Animal Career Article
- “I love animals, I think I’ll be a veterinarian when I grow up!” This is a two-page article on issues involved in choosing an animal care profession (secondary reading level).
- Animal Sheltering.org article
- “What advice would you give someone starting out in the animal welfare field?“ These are short descriptions from different employees about the challenges of working in animal welfare (secondary reading level).
- Humane Society of the United States
- “A day in the life of Shelter Workers” These short write-ups describe a typical day for animal shelter workers (Grade 5-6 reading level).
Ask students to choose one animal care profession and research it. Their research may involve reading books and websites, or interviewing someone in the profession. Students should be prepared to describe the basic functions of the job they choose as well as any special skills, training, or education the job requires. They should also be able to decide if this career is a good fit for them.
See web resources linked below.
After completing research, you can initiate discussion with questions such as:
- What did you learn about this job?
- Would you work directly or indirectly with animals? What type of animals?
- In what setting - a farm? an office?
- What types of tasks do they perform?
- What kind of training/education is required?
- Why is this job important?
Writing and presenting
- in younger grades, act out an animal related job in teams having other teams guess the occupation
- write a job description for a pet-care occupation
- write a letter of application, explaining why they believe they would be suitable for the job
- write a story about a day in the life of that person
- share this information in classroom or small group
- American SPCA description of different animal careers (Grade 6 reading level)
- Government of Alberta Career information
- Zookeepers association
- Pet dog trainers’ association
- Canadian animal health technician website
- Canadian veterinary association
- Petsitters and dog walkers
- Dog walkers
- Wildlife rehabilitation specialists
- Local wildlife rehab centre
- Parks Canada careers and click on "jobs at Parks Canada"
- Canadian association of professional pet trainers
- Humane educator
- Animal behaviourist