Animal behaviour is now a rapidly growing field with the emergence of a new generation of animal behaviourists to look at why animals behave the way they do. Working with animals can be a very rewarding career and there are many different kinds of employment available. It can involve shift work and caring for animals over bank holidays and weekends. Competition for places can be high and people often undertake voluntary work to gain relevant experience.
Indirect roles in organisations with an animal care focus may also be available in fundraising, marketing, promotional / public education work, finance, administration and HR for example, which could act as a useful entry point for more specialised roles. Self-employment could also be an option and is common for animal behaviourists.
Career Zone Employability Schemes
These employability schemes can help increase your work experience and networks in this area.
- Career Zone Internship schemes: Internships can be extremely useful, so try to get relevant vacation work or placements.
- Ask an Alum: A fuss-free way to connect with University of Exeter alumni to ask careers questions.
- Career Mentor Scheme: A popular employability scheme which matches a student or graduate with an experienced professional, for sector insight and one-to-one careers advice and guidance, over a 6-month period.
- Professional Pathways - a suite of sector specific training courses and paid week-long internships that take place in June.
The following websites and resources provide you with more detailed information to help you on your way to a career working with animals (please bear in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive). Also, do make use of any existing contacts you may have in the sector for work shadowing or work experience. CharityChoice and Volunteering England are great for sourcing some of the many animal charities who may be able to offer work experience.
- Academic posts
- Animal Behaviour and Training Council
- Animal Jobs - Information on working with all types of animals worldwide (Paid and unpaid positions).
- Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy
- Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors - Lists of clinics dealing with problem pets UK-wide. Runs seminars and workshops for members. Useful careers section.
- Association of the Study of Animal Behaviour - Membership organisation for those interested in animal behaviour in Britain and Europe. Publishes Animal Behaviour journal. Useful contacts.
- British Institute of of Professional Dog Trainers - Information on courses.
- British Society of Animal Science - Contains details of jobs, scholarships, bursaries and prizes. Also runs a summer work project placement scheme (paid) for University students – closing date April.
- British Veterinary Behaviour Association
- Cambridge Institute of Dog Behaviour and Training (CIDBT)
- Canine and Feline Behaviour Association (CFBA)
- Godolphin Flying Start - Godolphin Flying Start is a 2 year graduate training scheme in horse racing / breeding taking place in UK, Ireland, Dubai and Australia.
- International Cat Care - Useful information on health and welfare of cats.
- International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE) - International society devoted to the scientific study of applied animal behaviour.
- Kennel Club
- Nature Careers
- Pet Education, Behaviour and Training Council
- Pet Industry Federation - Job vacancies. Searchable directory of professional pet care and other related services.
- Puppy School - Nationwide network of puppy class tutors. Training provided to set up a puppy school in your area.
- Society for Companion Animal Studies - UK based membership charity.
- The Canine Behaviour and Training Society - Professional body for canine behaviourists and trainers in the UK. Contains list of members which could be useful contacts.
- The Company of Animals - The Training and Behaviour Specialists - Animal behaviour centre in Surrey, specialising in the treatment of difficult behavioural problems. Useful careers section and job vacancies.
- The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare - Job vacancies; animal welfare news; grants and awards and useful publications. Animal Welfare journal.
- Association of Zoos and Aquariums - USA internships and job vacancies
- Association of British & Irish Wild Animal Keepers - Careers in zoo keeping section
- British & Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums - Jobs and careers section
- European Association of Zoos and Aquariums
- Exmoor Zoo
- Jobs in Zoos - Latest job vacancies in UK zoos
- Newquay Zoo
- Paignton Zoo
- Shaldon Wildlife Trust - Local volunteering opportunities
- World Association of Zoos and Aquariums
- Zoological Society of London - Volunteer opportunities at London Zoo or Whipsnade Zoo, plus paid jobs.
Policy and Civil Service
- Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs
- Police Dog Training - Find the website of your nearest police force on this site and search for the Dog Training Unit or Dog Training School. The majority of police forces throughout the country have their own dog training schools. If you want to become a Dog Handler you need to join the police force and opt for this speciality later in your career.
- UK Border Force - Has a network of specialist officers called Customs Wildlife & Endangered Species Officers. They also have specialist Customs CITES team based at Heathrow Airport which is believed to be the only one in Europe. They use the latest technology and information to help them identify accurately the animals and plants they are dealing with. Customs and Excise also use detector dogs (Border Protection function).
- Mars Group - Graduate training scheme – pet care products.
- Nestle - Jobs and graduate training scheme. Pet care products e.g. Purina
- Pet Food Manufacturers Association - Members list in the ‘About Us’ section – useful for speculative approaches.
- The Nutrition Society - Information on animal and human nutrition.
- Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition - Mars research centre for pet nutrition.
Animal Pharmaceutical Companies
- Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry - Animal Technician careers guide and job hunting tips.
- Institute of Animal Technology - Resources of animal technologists and research workers involved in the care and use of laboratory animals. Downloadable career guide available.
- Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
- Blue Cross - Job vacancies and volunteering opportunities.
- Bolenowe Animal Sanctuary - sanctuary on the Lizard Peninsula.
- Born Free Foundation - Volunteering opportunities
- BVA Animal Welfare Foundation
- Cat Chat - Cat rescue and adoption centres in Devon.
- Cats Protection
- Charity Job - Section for animal charities e.g. fundraising, marketing, admin.
- Cinnamon Trust - voluntary work as dog walker for the elderly and terminally ill
- Cornwall Wildlife Trust
- Devon Wildlife Trust
- Dogs for Good - Assistance dogs to support adults and children
- Dogs Trust - Work experience and volunteering opportunities. Recruit for dog behaviour and training advisers.
- Donkey Sanctuary - Based in Sidmouth, Devon.
- Flicka Foundation - Horse and donkey sanctuatry based in Mabe Burnthouse.
- Hearing Dogs for Deaf People
- Guide Dogs for the Blind - Information on jobs and volunteering.
- Mammal Society
- Mayhew Animal Home - Based in London. Job vacancies, internships and volunteering opportunities.
- Monkey World - Based in Dorset.
- National Lobster Hatchery
- Paradise Park Wildlife Sanctuary
- People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) - News, links and location of animal hospitals. Job vacancies and volunteering opportunities.
- Pets as Therapy - Therapeutic visits to hospitals, hospices, special needs schools etc. Job vacancies and volunteering opportunities.
- Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) - Useful careers section / job profiles. Job vacancy and volunteering opportunities.
- Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) - Job vacancies and volunteering opportunities.
- The Cornish Seal Sanctuary
- Screech Owl Sanctuary and Animal Park
- Search and Rescue Dog Association (England)
- Wildlife Trusts
- Wildfuture's Monkey Sanctuary - nr Looe, Cornwall.
- World Animal Net - Worldwide network of societies campaigning to improve the status and welfare of animals.
- World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)
- World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) - Job vacancies and volunteering opportunities.
- Association of British Riding Schools
- British Horse Racing Authority - Careers in Racing - separate web page, including graduate development programme and over view of different job roles.
- British Horse Society - Downloadable guide to working with horses and job vacancies.
- British Racing School - Careers in racing section. Information on courses.
- Godolphin Flying Start - 2 year graduate scheme in horse racing / breeding, taking place in the UK, Ireland, Dubai and Australia.
- Equi World - Useful equestrian related links.
- Horse and Hound Online - Job vacancies.
- World Horse Welfare (Formerly the International League for the Protection of Horses)
- Met Mounted Police - Need to join as a Police Officer first and then specialise in mounted branches.
- Redwings Horse Sanctuary - Job vacancies.
- The Brooke Equine Hospital - (Horses, donkeys, mules). Job vacancies and volunteering opportunities.
- The Jockey Club
- The National Trainers Federation
- Weatherbys - Central administration for British horse racing. Job vacancies – Graduate & Work Placement opportunities.
- Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy
- British Equine Veterinary Association
- British Veterinary Association
- British Veterinary Nursing Association
- National Office of Animal Health (NOAH) - Job vacancies and useful links.
- Pet Health Council - Promotes, informs and advises on health and welfare of pet animals. Useful list of contacts.
- The Pirbright Institute (Formerly the Institute of Animal Health) - Largest research institute in the UK dedicated to the health of farm animals. Job vacancies.
- Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons
Some roles in animal care may require further training and so postgraduate study may be required. Below are some links to further sources of information to help you search for further study opportunities.
You can use the following links to search for courses:
In Career Zone you will also find hard copies of other postgraduate resources including The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding, Prospects Postgraduate Funding Guide, and Prospects Postgraduate Directory.