What the job involves
Pet shop assistants are involved in a variety of different tasks; from looking after the animals in the shop, to advising owners on pet care and maintaining stock.
Your day-to-day tasks could include:
- Feeding and providing water to animals
- Cleaning out animal accommodation
- Grooming animals
- Advising clients on pet care ownership
- Selling pet care products and maintaining stock levels
- Checking the animals for any signs of illness
Some pet shops sell a wide range of animals, other may be more specialised such as exotic animals or aquatic stores.
You will need to have a genuine passion for animals and be committed to their welfare. As a pet shop assistant you will be in a position to ensure that owners receive the correct advice in order to provide their pet with the care and attention they deserve.
You will need to be confident in handling animals and have excellent communication skills.
The work will usually include a significant amount of weekend work and can also involve working evenings, especially in some of the larger pet stores.
Full and part-time opportunities are often available.
Qualifications and training
There are no particular requirements for becoming a pet shop assistant, however experience with animals and an animal related qualification will enhance your CV and put you in a strong position when applying for jobs.
Some qualifications you may wish to look at are:
- Level 2 Diploma in Animal Care
- Level 3 Extended Diploma in Animal Management
- Level 1 Diploma in Work-based Animal Care
- Level 2 Diploma in Work-based Animal Care
- Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Animal Management within a Store
Getting into the profession
Any work experience will be looked on favourably by employers and will often give you a ‘foot in the door’ if any vacancies arise. It will also give you a real insight to help you to decide if the work is for you.
There are several places to look for job vacancies as a pet shop assistant including local newspapers, job centres, the Pet Industry Federation website. You could also take your CV into pet shops in case any future vacancies arise.
You may also be able to get into this job through an apprenticeship scheme. You can search for apprenticeship vacancies on the National Apprenticeship Service website.
Salary and benefits
Salaries range, on average, from £11,000 – £13,000 a year. Supervisor and managers can earn around £16,000 or more.
There may be the opportunity to progress into a supervisory or managerial role or even start your own business! In which case you could look at undertaking the City & Guilds Level 3 Certificate in the Principles of Animal Management within a Store; this is a key qualification for those wishing to hold a pet shop licence, recognised by local authorities when licensing premises.