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Nonfarm Animal Caretakers
SOC Code: 39-2021.00

Feed, water, groom, bathe, exercise, or otherwise care for pets and other nonfarm animals, such as dogs, cats, ornamental fish or birds, zoo animals, and mice. Work in settings such as kennels, animal shelters, zoos, circuses, and aquariums. May keep records of feedings, treatments, and animals received or discharged. May clean, disinfect, and repair cages, pens, or fish tanks.

Sample of reported job titles: Animal Care Giver (ACG), Animal Care Technician, Aquarist, Dog Groomer, Groomer, Kennel Attendant, Kennel Manager, Kennel Technician, Pet Groomer, Pet Stylist


  • Feed and water animals according to schedules and feeding instructions.
  • Mix food, liquid formulas, medications, or food supplements according to instructions, prescriptions, and knowledge of animal species.
  • Examine and observe animals to detect signs of illness, disease, or injury.
  • Provide treatment to sick or injured animals, or contact veterinarians to secure treatment.
  • Do facility laundry and clean, organize, maintain, and disinfect animal quarters, such as pens and stables, and equipment, such as saddles and bridles.
  • Perform animal grooming duties, such as washing, brushing, clipping, and trimming coats, cutting nails, and cleaning ears.
  • Answer telephones and schedule appointments.
  • Respond to questions from patrons, and provide information about animals, such as behavior, habitat, breeding habits, or facility activities.
  • Order, unload, and store feed and supplies.
  • Collect and record animal information, such as weight, size, physical condition, treatments received, medications given, and food intake.
  • Adjust controls to regulate specified temperature and humidity of animal quarters, nurseries, or exhibit areas.
  • Discuss with clients their pets' grooming needs.
  • Observe and caution children petting and feeding animals in designated areas to ensure the safety of humans and animals.
  • Anesthetize and inoculate animals, according to instructions.
  • Transfer animals between enclosures to facilitate breeding, birthing, shipping, or rearrangement of exhibits.
  • Clean and disinfect surgical equipment.
  • Exercise animals to maintain their physical and mental health.
  • Install, maintain, and repair animal care facility equipment, such as infrared lights, feeding devices, and cages.
  • Find homes for stray or unwanted animals.
  • Train animals to perform certain tasks.
  • Sell pet food and supplies.

Technology Skills

  • Calendar and scheduling software - Appointment-Plus; Groom Pro; Mobile Dog Grooming Software mGroomer; Petschedule
  • Data base user interface and query software - CEEJS The Pet Groomer's Secretary; Kennel Link; Microsoft Access ; The Groomer's Write Hand (see all 8 examples)
  • Electronic mail software - Microsoft Outlook
  • Office suite software - Microsoft Office
  • Presentation software - Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Spreadsheet software - Microsoft Excel
  • Word processing software - Microsoft Word

Tools Used

  • Aquariums - Fish tanks
  • Articulating boom lift - Hydraulic bucket lifts
  • Binocular light compound microscopes
  • Cages or its accessories - Animal cages
  • Cleaning scrapers - Algae scrapers
  • Compressed air gun - Spear guns
  • Dissolved oxygen meters - Portable dissolved oxygen DO meters
  • Diving instruments or accessories - Self-contained underwater breathing apparatus SCUBA gear
  • Domestic hair dryers - Blow dryers
  • Dosing droppers - Eye droppers
  • Electric hair clipper - Animal clippers; Cordless animal trimmers
  • Electronic toploading balances - Benchtop electronic toploading balances
  • Forklifts - Wheeled forklifts
  • Handheld refractometers or polarimeters - Handheld digital refractometers
  • Harnesses or its accessories - Animal harnesses
  • Immersion heaters - Aquarium heaters
  • Inflatable rubber boat - Inflatable rubber motor boats
  • Kennels - Animal crates
  • Laboratory ultraviolet UV sterilizers - Aquarium ultraviolet UV sterilizers
  • Ladders - Stepladders
  • Muzzles - Animal muzzles
  • Oxidation reduction tester - Digital oxidation reduction potential ORP meters
  • Personal computers
  • Pet grooming products - Pet bathing brushes; Pin brushes; Shedding blades; Slicker brushes (see all 10 examples)
  • pH meters - pH testers
  • Pressure or steam cleaners - Pressure sprayers
  • Protective gloves - Animal handling gloves
  • Respirators - Air purifying respirators
  • Safety sleeves - Animal handling sleeves
  • Scaffolding
  • Scissor lift or lift table - Scissor lifts
  • Shears - Grooming shears
  • Slings
  • Special hoses - Siphon hoses
  • Tongs - Aquarium tongs
  • Underwater cameras
  • Underwater lighting - Aquarium lighting
  • Veterinary nail trimmers or cutters - Animal nail clippers; Animal nail files; Animal nail grinders
  • Water filters - Aquarium filters
  • Water pumps - Aquarium pumps
  • Water purification equipment - Protein skimmers
  • Water testing and sampling kits - Ammonia test kits; Carbonate hardness test kits; Nitrite test kits; pH test kits (see all 6 examples)


  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.


  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.


  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Information Ordering - The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Speech Recognition - The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Static Strength - The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.


  • Interest code: RC
    • Realistic - Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
    • Conventional - Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Work Context

  • Face-to-Face Discussions - 84% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone - 78% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others - 62% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable - 46% responded “Every day.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work - 66% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making - 72% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Standing - 47% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions - 53% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls - 62% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Deal With External Customers - 55% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results - 63% responded “Very important results.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks - 45% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled - 75% responded “Every day.”
  • Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings - 60% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions - 45% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Time Pressure - 48% responded “Every day.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate - 36% responded “Very important.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants - 48% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team - 33% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Physical Proximity - 30% responded “Slightly close (e.g., shared office).”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running - 36% responded “About half the time.”
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body - 35% responded “Less than half the time.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week - 37% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety - 33% responded “No responsibility.”


Percentage of RespondentsEducation Level Required
34%Less than high school diploma
24%High school diploma or equivalent
18%Bachelor's degree

Work Styles

  • Dependability - Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Attention to Detail - Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Independence - Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Integrity - Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility - Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Initiative - Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Self Control - Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Cooperation - Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Persistence - Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Stress Tolerance - Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
  • Concern for Others - Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Innovation - Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Achievement/Effort - Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Analytical Thinking - Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Leadership - Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

Work Values

  • Relationships - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Support - Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Wages & Trends

  • Median wages (2017)
    • $11.03 hourly, $22,950 annual
  • Employment (2016)
    • 242,000 employees
  • Projected growth (2016-2026)
    • Much faster than average (15% or higher)
  • Projected job openings (2016-2026)
    • 46,200

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