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Animal Control Worker: Job Description, Duties and Outlook

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an animal control worker. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

Jobs for animal control workers are expected to increase at a rate of 6% from 2014-2024, which is as fast as the national average for all occupations. This career can be pursued with a high school diploma and on-the-job training. Certification is also required.

Essential Information

Animal control workers handle animals of all types, from pets to wildlife. They investigate mistreated animals and control those that are deemed dangerous, abandoned or lost. A high school diploma is required for this position, and on-the-job training and certification may also be necessary for candidates.

Required Education High school diploma
Other Requirements On-the-job training is usually required, in addition to National Animal Control Association certification
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6%
Median Salary (2015)* $33,450

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for Animal Control Workers

Animal control involves a combination of animal investigation, care and education. Animal control officers can patrol public areas, respond to service calls or work in shelters. Their jobs can also lead them into the courtroom when animal laws have been violated and cases are being tried.

Animal control workers may work night and weekend hours, due to the 24-hour needs of animal shelters and animal patrol schedules. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), animal service workers' duties can be physically and emotionally demanding, and job-related injury rates are higher than the average for all careers.

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Job Duties

Animal control officers write reports and maintain files on animals that have been impounded. They talk with animal owners who are seeking missing animals and interview those who have witnessed any animal wrongdoing. They may arrange shelter for unclaimed animals. Officers investigate claims of animal cruelty or attack. They also may have to euthanize those that are severely injured or rabid.

Animal control workers care for animals in their custody, providing food, shelter, water and a clean environment. They may arrange for the veterinary treatment of any animals in need of medical attention.

Officers might educate the public on pet laws and licensing, animal control operations and general animal care. They can also train police dogs, which are used in drug and bomb detection, crowd control and similar services.

Career Outlook

Jobs for animal control workers were predicted to increase 6% from 2014-2024, according to the BLS, which is about average compared to all other occupations. The BLS noted that the salaries for the middle half of animal control workers ranged from $26,350 to $42,360 in May 2015. The same report indicated that the median salary for animal control workers was $33,450.

The National Animal Control Association provides training for officers. Training combines a mix of hands-on instruction and class work, focusing on the challenges that animal control workers face in the field.

Animal control workers investigate claims about pets and wildlife thought to be abused, neglected, dangerous, abandoned or lost. Part of their jobs may include educating the public about pet laws, licensing and general animal care, and they may also train police dogs. Professionals in this field earn a median salary of approximately $33,450.


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