Animal Caretakers: Salary Overview
Animal caretakers feed, groom, and exercise pets and other animals.
As an animal caretaker, you may work with farm or nonfarm animals.
Non-farm animal caretakers typically work in kennels, animal shelters, or stables- facilities that often operate 24 hours a day.
Farm animal caretakers usually work for farms or ranches and other facilities that raise animals for food and dairy products where they care for pigs, cattle, and other livestock.
Job descriptions and salaries vary slightly depending on the type of animals they care for.
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Their job description may include giving food and water to animals, cleaning equipment, monitoring animals and recording information about the animals’ diet and general condition, examining them for signs of illness, exercising and bathing animals.
Some animal caretakers work part-time and some work full-time.
Many of them are paid an hourly rate but some may earn a fixed salary plus commissions, bonuses, or tips.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for nonfarm animal caretakers was $24,780 as of May 2019.
The median annual wage for those who work with a farm, ranch, and aquacultural animals was $27,830 per year, slightly more than the average for those who worked with pets and other non-farm animals.
Salaries for animal caretakers are influenced by a variety of factors, including the caretaker’s level of experience, the region of employment, and the industry of employment.
The best-paid 10 percent of nonfarm animal caretakers earned more than $38,630 per year while the lowest 10 percent made less than $20,810.
Animal Caretaker Salary by Industry
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most nonfarm animal caretakers worked in the field of other personal services, were self-employed workers or worked for companies that provide professional, scientific, and technical services.
Their wages also vary slightly depending on the industry of employment.
The median annual wage for animal caretakers who worked in the field of other personal services was $24,780.
Animal caretakers employed in the retail trade sector earned a median annual wage of $24,180 while those employed by social advocacy organizations made around $24,100 a year.
The median annual wage reported by animal caretakers who worked in the field of professional, scientific, and technical services was $23,670 per year.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, state governments employed only a few animal caretakers but paid them, on average, with $40,740, which is more than the average for this profession.
Higher salaries were reported by the animal caretakers who worked in the federal executive branch, a field that paid them on average, with $42,280 a year.
The highest average annual salary was reported by animal caretakers who were employed by promoters of performing arts, sports of similar events.
In this sector, animal caretakers earned, on average, $49,900 a year, more than double the median for this profession.
Other things that can influence an animal caretaker’s earning are his/her experience and education.
Those who have experience working alongside an experienced groomer or have graduated from grooming school may earn more than inexperienced entry-level employees.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment for animal care and service workers is expected to grow 16 percent from 2018 to 2028.
Those who groom pets are expected to be especially in demand as more households include pets and people are willing to pay more for pet care services.
However, employment and earning prospects for pet caretakers are sensitive to fluctuations in the local economy so it varies depending on the region and may also fluctuate year by year.
In conclusion, as an animal caretaker, you won’t earn much but if you love animals, this profession can be emotionally rewarding and a pleasant way to make a living.
* Based on information from the May 2021 salary report from the BLS. The figures represent accumulated data for all states of employment for Animal Caretakers. BLS data represents averages and medians for workers at all levels of education and experience. This data doesn't represent starting salaries.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.