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Career profile: Animal technician

Get the low-down on what the job involves, what qualifications you need and how long it takes to train. A what? Animal technicians are responsible for...Get the lowdown on what the job involves, what qualifications you need and how long it takes to train.

A what?

Animal technicians are responsible for the care and welfare of animals used in medical and veterinary research.

On the job

As an animal technician, you would be in day-to-day contact with the animals and you would carry out routine tasks including:

  • providing food and water for the animals and organising special diets if necessary
  • carrying out regular observations and health checks
  • making sure that animals are clean, comfortable and behaving as expected
  • keeping up high levels of hygiene
  • controlling heating, lighting and humidity
  • monitoring the animals' weight and growth.

With experience, you could also be involved in setting up scientific studies and breeding animals.

Course entry requirements

There are no set entry qualifications, but GCSEs (or equivalent qualifications) in English language, maths and science subjects are sometimes asked for. Previous experience of working with animals is useful.

What does the training involve?

Training is on-the-job, with part-time study for appropriate qualifications such as NVQ/SVQ levels one to three in Animal Care, City & Guilds Level two and three Certificates in Animal Care, NVQ Levels 2 and 3 in Animal Technology, and the Edexcel/SQA National and Higher National Certificate and Diploma in Animal Management.