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Animal Caretaker

Nonfarm animal caretakers typically work with cats and dogs in animal shelters or rescue leagues. All caretakers attend to the basic needs of animals, but experienced caretakers may have more responsibilities, such as helping to vaccinate or euthanize animals under the direction of a veterinarian.

Job Description

Animal Caretakers typically do the following:

  • Feed and water animals
  • Clean equipment and animal spaces
  • Monitor animals and record information
  • Examine animals for signs of illness or injury
  • Exercise animals
  • Bathe and groom animals
  • Train animals to obey and listen to commands

Some animal caretakers help vaccinate or euthanize animals under direction of a veterinarian.


Most animal caretakers can work with a high school diploma. For those who want to groom animals, there is a National Certified Master Groomer credential which could be a plus. For specialist animal caretakers working in zoos, a college degree in animal behavior, anatomy or a related discipline could help in finding a job. There are apprenticeships in pet grooming or animal care training available from some employers.


The average animal caretaker in the United States makes $10.42 per hour or $21,669 per year. This salary would be a good entry-level job or a part-time job.

Career Progression

A career working with animals can progress in a number of different directions. An animal caretaker can own their own business grooming animals or pet sitting. An animal caretaker working for a veterinary could become a veterinary assistant or a veterinarian. An animal caretaker working in a zoo could specialize in a certain kind of animals and supervise a group of employees.

Jobs Available

There are 1660 animal caretakers in Oklahoma and 241,500 nationwide. The job market is expected to grow by 24.2% between 2016 and 2026.

Schools in Oklahoma

Oklahoma State University Stillwater, Oklahoma

(Information for this job was taken from A solid majority of animal caretakers report good job satisfaction. Forty percent of animal caretakers work full time, and sixty percent are part time. Women animal caretakers outnumber men two to one.)


Last Modified on Mar 09, 2023
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