There are currently an estimated 241,500 animal caretakers in the United States. The animal caretaker job market is expected to grow by 24.2% between 2016 and 2026.

How employable are animal caretakers?

CareerExplorer rates animal caretakers with a B- employability rating, meaning this career should provide good employment opportunities for the foreseeable future. Over the next 10 years, it is expected the US will need 66,600 animal caretakers. That number is based on 58,500 additional animal caretakers, and the retirement of 8,100 existing animal caretakers.

Are animal caretakers in demand?

Because many workers leave this occupation each year, job opportunities are expected to be significant for most positions. Openings are predicted to be available across most sectors of the industry, including boarding kennels, animal shelters, stables, grooming shops, pet stores, animal hospitals, veterinary offices, humane societies, dog and horse racetrack operators, zoos, and theme parks. In short, there is no lack of employment options for aspiring animal caretakers. As the companion pet population grows and pet owners spend more money on caring for their pets, demand for many related services, such as pet-sitting and mobile grooming, is expected to increase, as are employment prospects in the field. Animal shelters may produce additional jobs as communities commit increased funds to protect animals and prevent their abuse. Many caretakers require little or no training and have flexible work schedules. This makes the job particularly suitable for people seeking a first job or for temporary or part-time work. Despite the minimal formal requirements, animal caretaker jobs can be physically and emotionally straining, calling upon candidates who genuinely love animals, and have some hands-on animal experience. Aspiring animal caretakers who wish to enhance their employability can do so through apprenticeship programs, or by enrolling in a pet grooming or animal care training program. These programs, which can take up to a year to complete, generally include courses in canine and feline nutrition, small animal welfare, and clinical pet grooming techniques. A National Certified Master Groomer certification is considered another valuable credential for pet caretakers. To earn this, candidates must pass written and practical examinations that test pet grooming skills. Caretakers wishing to work with mammals or as specialists at zoos will be in more demand if they have a college degree in animal behaviour, anatomy, or another related discipline. Overall, there should be plenty of jobs available for anyone interested in animal care, regardless of whether or not they choose to pursue formal education in the field.

What’s the supply of animal caretakers?

The animal caretaker industry is concentrated in California, Texas, New York

Animal Caretaker job market by state

State Name Employed Animal Caretakers
California 20,870
Texas 14,010
New York 13,230
Florida 12,220
Illinois 8,080
Pennsylvania 7,340
Georgia 6,790
Ohio 6,710
North Carolina 6,300
Virginia 6,300
Michigan 5,820
New Jersey 5,330
Colorado 4,790
Massachusetts 4,530
Missouri 4,160
Washington 4,050
Kentucky 3,780
Minnesota 3,730
Indiana 3,710
Wisconsin 3,480
South Carolina 3,360
Arizona 3,220
Tennessee 3,170
Maryland 2,960
Alabama 2,940
Oregon 2,430
Connecticut 2,150
Nevada 2,080
Kansas 1,980
Iowa 1,930
Utah 1,830
Oklahoma 1,660
Louisiana 1,580
Arkansas 1,430
New Mexico 1,110
Idaho 1,100
New Hampshire 1,080
Nebraska 1,050
Mississippi 960
West Virginia 920
Montana 890
Maine 810
Delaware 720
Rhode Island 650
Hawaii 620
South Dakota 530
Puerto Rico 520
District of Columbia 510
North Dakota 490
Vermont 450
Wyoming 370
Alaska 310
Virgin Islands 40