Animal Shelter Manager: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Mar 28, 2021

An animal shelter manager is responsible for managing the daily activities at an animal shelter to ensure that all operations run smoothly. Duties may include supervising staff members and volunteers, educating shelter visitors about how to properly care for animals, and managing the budget. In addition to relevant work experience, an associate's degree or a certificate in business management are typically required for animal shelter managers.


Animal shelter managers are in charge of most of the details associated with running an animal shelter. They are typically required to have some combination of education and experience to prepare them for the job. Some schools offer programs that teach the specific skills needed for animal shelter management.

Education Associate degree or business management certificate
Experience 1-4 years
Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)* 22% for animal care and service workers
Median Salary (2019)* $24,990 for animal care and service workers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Animal Shelter Manager Job Description

Animal shelter managers are responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of animal shelters. They manage staff and volunteers, maintain facilities and equipment, interact with the public and ensure that shelter animals receive proper care. Additionally, animal shelter managers may be responsible for leading fundraising efforts and fostering good community relations.

Animal Shelter Manager Job Duties

A February 2011 search for animal shelter manager job descriptions with city and county agencies listed similar job duties for overseeing employees and volunteers, such as hiring and training, evaluating performance and setting schedules. Most managers are also responsible for delegating work tasks, addressing employee concerns and enforcing policies. Animal shelter managers must also perform customer service duties, such as giving facility tours, instructing customers about proper animal care, dealing with complaints and assisting with adoptions.

Animal shelter managers also determine when animals require veterinary care and euthanasia. They may administer euthanasia humanely and follow proper procedures for carcass disposal. Other duties may involve cleaning and maintaining kennels and facilities, balancing the budget, and monitoring inventory. Like managers of other facilities, animal shelter managers often complete paperwork, keep the organization's records, maintain equipment and coordinate fundraising efforts.

Job Requirements for Animal Shelter Managers

Relevant work experience is usually required to gain employment as an animal shelter manager. A review of February 2011 job descriptions listed anywhere from 1-4 years of prior animal shelter or related experience. Managers are typically required to have a valid driver's license issued by the state where they're seeking employment. Certifications to administer first aid or CPR, handle drugs and perform euthanasia may also be required.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), animal care and service workers need to have the tact and communications skills to handle tense and emotional situations involving the public ( Managers should also have the abilities to read and interpret documents, do basic math and perform basic computer functions. They must know how to use equipment, such as needles and syringes, tranquilizer guns, mace, electric clippers, police radios and animal capture devices.

Educational Requirements for Animal Shelter Managers

Educational requirements may vary according to the needs of the employer, but some formal education is typically required in addition to relevant experience. For example, job descriptions from February 2011 required animal shelter managers to have a 1-year business management certificate or an associate's degree.

Some schools offer programs that train students in animal shelter management. These programs can range from certificates to bachelor's degrees in such disciplines as animal shelter management, pet sciences and humane leadership. Coursework may cover such topics as disease prevention and sanitation, canine and feline management, animal handling, animal cruelty, nutrition, animal behavior and animal protection. The curriculum usually includes business-related coursework, such as marketing, accounting, human resources, computer applications and management skills.

Career Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS predicts that animal care and service workers' jobs will increase 22% from 2019-2029. The agency also reported that workers in this field earned a median salary of $24,990 in 2019.

An animal shelter manager has many duties, some of which might include raising funds for the shelter, handling customer complaints, and deciding whether an animal should be euthanized. Excellent recordkeeping and communication skills are essential for animal shelter managers, as they are often in charge of paperwork and community interaction.

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