Kennel assistants are the individuals charged with taking care of animals like dogs and cats, in places like veterinary clinics and animal shelters. There is no postsecondary education required to pursue this position, but those interested are expected to have prior experience with animals.
Kennel assistants, also known as kennel attendants, are entry-level workers who provide basic animal care in environments where animals are caged. A love of animals and the ability to anticipate their needs is necessary for this job. Hours can be irregular, and the position can be emotionally and physically draining. There are typically no formal education requirements for this position though employers may prefer candidates who have previous experience working with animals.
|Other Requirements||Some employers may seek candidates who have previous experience working with animals|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||11% for nonfarm animal caretakers|
|Mean Salary (2015)*||$23,630 for nonfarm animal caretakers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Kennel Assistant Job Description
Kennel assistants work in animal boarding houses and veterinary clinics, among other establishments. They most often work with dogs and cats, but may also occasionally find themselves in contact with other domestic animals. They are in charge of the general upkeep of animals in their care and must provide individualized attention to them so they stay healthy and happy.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted jobs for nonfarm animal caretakers such as kennel assistants to increase at a rate of 11%, which is faster than the average of all occupations, during the years 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). Part of the reason for the expected growth is the high level of turnover for these jobs and a growing pet population. In 2015, the BLS noted an average hourly wage of $11.36 for nonfarm animal caretakers, or $23,630 per year.
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Duties of a Kennel Assistant
In addition to caring for dogs and cats, kennel assistants may also find themselves in contact with other pets, such as birds and rodents. General duties include keeping cages clean and sanitized; walking, feeding and picking up after the animals; and reporting on the animal's condition to its owner, a veterinarian or rescue workers. Many kennel assistants are put in charge of the bathing, nail trimming and grooming of animals as well. Kennel assistants may also be expected to help with other duties, such as selling pet supplies.
Requirements to Become a Kennel Assistant
There are no formal education requirements to become a kennel assistant, though a high school diploma may be requested. Employers mostly prefer to hire those with prior experience with animals, according to BLS. Kennel assistants must also be patient and possess problem-solving skills. Assistants who work in veterinary clinics often deal with sick or injured animals, so these workers must be able to carefully follow instructions. Because the demands of each employer differ, most assistants are trained on the job within their first few weeks of employment.
Kennel assistants are the animal care professionals who tend to all the basic needs of animals staying in cages, whether in a veterinary clinic or animal shelter. While they're not required to have any postsecondary training, they will have to be prepared to work irregular hours and be physically active as they bathe and feed animals.