Summary Guide for

Nonfarm Animal Caretakers in California

May also be called: Animal Attendants; Animal Caretakers; Dog Daycare Workers; Groomers; Kennel Workers; Pet Sitters; Stable Attendants; Zoo Attendants

Specialties within this occupation include: Aquarists; Circus Animal Caretakers

What Would I Do?

Animal Caretakers feed, water, groom, bathe, and exercise animals. They also clean, disinfect, and repair their cages. In addition, they play with the animals, provide companionship, and observe behavioral changes that could indicate illness or injury.

Animal Caretakers may work outdoors in all weather conditions. The work setting can be noisy and may smell unpleasant. They generally work in boarding kennels, pet stores, animal shelters, and veterinary hospitals and clinics. They also may work in stables, zoological parks, aquariums, and natural aquatic habitats. Work hours are often irregular, and the job can be physically and emotionally demanding.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Animal Caretaker may appeal to those who enjoy working with animals and performing activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Some Animal Caretakers, especially those who provide grooming, sitting, and walking services, may receive tips in addition to their wages.

The median wage in 2020 for Nonfarm Animal Caretakers in California is $29,573 annually, or $14.21 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Annual Wages for 2020Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$26,122$29,573$35,156
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2020 at www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/data/wages.html Wages do not reflect self-employment.

Hourly Wages for 2020Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$12.56$14.21$16.90
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2020 at www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov/data/wages.html. Wages do not reflect self-employment.

Benefits generally include medical, dental, life, and vision insurance as well as vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans. Those who are self-employed are responsible for their own benefits.

What is the Job Outlook?

The companion pet population, which drives employment of Animal Caretakers in kennels, grooming shops, animal shelters, and veterinary clinics and hospitals, is expected to grow. As more pet owners consider their pets part of the family, demand for animal services and the willingness to spend greater amounts of money on their pets should increase.

How Do I Qualify?

Employers generally prefer to hire workers who have a high school diploma or equivalent. Animal Caretakers typically learn through short-term, on-the-job training. Some work-related knowledge, skills, or experience would be beneficial. Formal apprenticeship or vocational programs can provide more comprehensive training if it is required.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Those working within the industry may recommend an interested candidate for jobs. Newspaper classified ads and the Internet provide additional sources for job listings. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).


Learn More About Nonfarm Animal Caretakers


The California Occupational Guides are a product of:
The California Employment Development Department
Labor Market Information Division
www.labormarketinfo.edd.ca.gov

Printed on Wednesday, October 28, 2020