Many of us don’t decide on a dream career right out school or settle on a field in college and stick with it for life. In fact, a lot of us jump between many jobs in our lifetimes – perhaps getting a feel for many different types of work in different fields.
The good news is that it’s never too late to change careers if it’s something you really want to do. Many of our students come to study with us later on in life, perhaps realising after a long career in a completely different field that working with animals is what they really want to do. If you’ve been thinking about pursuing a career with animals for some time, you may be wondering what you can do to understand more about whether it’s the profession for you.
Before pursuing any new job or career, it’s important to do your research, to make sure you’re making the right decision for you, and that a career working with animals fits with your personal qualities, goals and ambitions.
Attend careers events and college open days
Attending college open days or careers events will give you the opportunity to speak to relevant people and gather information about different careers that may be open to you.
For those interested in careers in the animal care and veterinary industries, our annual Careers With Animals Day would be a great place to start. Whether you’re at school and looking at your options, employed in a different field and looking for a career change or unemployed and looking at how you can get back into work, this event will give you the chance to meet with relevant people and organisations within the animal care industry, gain advice, ask questions and receive guidance on training.
We have a virtual Careers With Animals Day coming up on Saturday 9 January 2021, with lots of industry organisations presenting talks about a range of careers with animals. Read more about our Virtual Careers With Animals Day
Take a class or course in animal care
Before making the commitment to full time training or employment in the animal care or veterinary industry, you may wish to take a short course or class in animal care to gain an introduction to the sort of things you need to know when you work with animals.
By taking online classes, attending workshops, reading books, watching webinars/YouTube tutorials and taking the time to learn something new, you’ll get a better feel for where your real interests lie – whether it be with working with dogs, working with horses or working with other animals. You never know where learning something new may take you, you may find the results surprise you!
Research careers with animals online
Thanks to the wealth of advice available on the internet about careers with animals, it may be that you already know what move you want to make. In contrast, you might still be researching what new roles could work for you. If this is the case, then a good place to start is our A-Z of animal career profiles.
You can also find lots of helpful online articles, case studies and interviews with members from all over the animal care and veterinary industries, to gain a first-hand account of what it’s like to work in certain professions and the work involved in getting there.
Gain experience working with animals
Work experience is an incredibly valuable opportunity to take a close up look at the career you’re considering, to ensure you are making the right choice before you move ahead with formal training or employment. You can also use work experience as an opportunity to network with members of the industry (who may be able to connect you with work opportunities later down the line) and start gaining the practical skills you will need as a member of the animal care or veterinary professions.
If you’re interested in a career in a veterinary practice, read our advice and guidance about finding gain work experience in a veterinary practice.
Ask people who’re already working in the animal care industry
Before you set your sights on a career with animals, one way to get a sense of what the work is like day-to-day is by setting up opportunities to speak to people who’re already working in the fields you’re interested in, to ask them about their career paths and get advice. You can ask them about their job, their professional history and goals, and the industry as a whole.
You can set up meetings and calls, or use social media to network and find out more about certain people’s careers. For example, you could go on LinkedIn and read people’s job descriptions or read interviews and articles about people in jobs you admire.