Careers Service Occupations

Veterinary & Animal Care

Veterinary and Animal Care

About

The veterinary profession is highly respected and generally well-paid but requires significant qualifications and training. There are also many other animal care roles available.

Careers advice

Industry news 

The Guardian: Animal Welfare provides the latest news stories from this sector, along with Animal Behaviour, journal from the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. 

Horse & Hound includes an article on getting your dream equestrian job.

The Animal & Plant Health Agency puts out government press releases, research and news. 

Videos and case studies

Walk on the wild side is a Guardian Careers video from 2009. RSPCA officer Richard Thompson talks about his career and the opportunities for working with wildlife.

Professional bodies 

These represent people working in the sector, providing training and networking opportunities. They often provide careers support for students and graduates.

They also provide development for people already working in the sector. Follow them on LinkedIn, or visit their websites for news, contacts, work experience and vacancies. 

The main professional associations for this sector include: 

Animal care

And:

Veterinary

Making contacts

Making contacts is essential for success in this sector. Gaining insight and arranging work experience comes through networking and speculative applications. You could start with:

  • Graduate Connections – working graduates happy to give you advice
  • social media, particularly LinkedIn and Twitter – useful for contacts, employers and finding opportunities
  • connecting with our alumni on LinkedIn. Find out what they did after graduation and how they got there, and contact them for advice and inspiration.

Events

Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and events give insight and opportunities to make contacts.

For events listings see Careers Service events or External Events.

Reference materials available in the Careers Service

Working with the Environment, 3rd by Tim Ryder 

Related sectors

You may also be interested in Agriculture or the Environment.

Roles

The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties, entry requirements and case studies.

Animal chiropractic

Animal behaviourist/counsellor

Animal physiotherapy

Animal technologist

Dog handler

Gamekeeper

Veterinary nurse

Veterinary surgeon

Zookeeper

Zoologist

Gaining Experience

Relevant work experience in this sector is crucial in developing expertise and demonstrating your motivation and commitment.

Applications for Veterinary Medicine: FAQs  answers questions about getting work experience for veterinary medicine (PDF: 210 KB).

Most students gain experience with animals through volunteering. Not all opportunities are advertised. You may need to contact organisations directly to ask for work experience, using a speculative approach.

Advertised opportunities

University resources:

Go Volunteer offer a variety of volunteering projects to Newcastle University students, including environmental and animal-related opportunities. 

Careers Service Vacancies Online provides work experience and volunteering opportunities. Search under 'Agriculture, animals and plants'.

UK opportunities include:

Overseas opportunities include:

Speculative approach

Speculative applications are when you contact employers not in response to an advertised vacancy. They can be a useful way to approach employers who don’t offer formal internship schemes. They are also useful for finding opportunities in a highly specialised field or specific location. 

How to find companies 

You can find companies to approach for work experience by:

Scholarships, projects and competitions

ASAB: Undergraduate Project Scholarships offer funded opportunities to complete a supervised research project during vacation.

The Universities Federation for Animal Welfare is a project in animal welfare which will consider MSc students on appropriate courses.

See work experience for additional sources of opportunities for students and recent graduates, including Vacancies Online.

Related sectors 

You may also be interested in the Gaining Experience sections on Agriculture and Environment.

Finding Jobs

Competition is strong, especially for entry-level positions. Use the following resources to find advertised vacancies and also research employers for speculative applications.

Careers Service: Vacancies Online shows graduate vacancies in the North East, UK and overseas. Log-in to sign up for personalised email alerts. 

Charities 

There are many charities operating in this sector with both voluntary and paid opportunities. Examples include:

Search Charity Choice for a list of other animal charities.

Vacancy sites

General vacancy sites include:

Role profiles link to employers and vacancy sources for specific jobs.

Veterinary

Vet Record Careers and VetClick: Jobs list vacancies in the profession.

Overseas

Careersabroad offer opportunities in sustainable development, biological and zoological research and conservation.

The Environmental Information Service has alphabetical lists of environmental organisations. These include agricultural, horticultural and animal welfare organisations by area (PDFs): 

See Finding a graduate job for more vacancy sources. 

Specialist recruitment agencies 

Recruitment agencies often advertise graduate and entry-level positions.

Agencies such as Career Grooms also have a wealth of industry knowledge. 

Finding companies

Not all jobs are advertised. You could also approach firms directly or find work through networking in the industry.

Find firms that interest you and get in touch – always with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for.

Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.