Animal Technician

Job Description:

Animal technicians look after animals in medical and scientific research laboratories.

Job Category:
Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing

What you will do:

As part of your day-to-day duties you will:

  • provide exercise, food and water to the animals
  • carry out regular observations
  • make sure that animals are clean and comfortable
  • control heating, lighting and humidity
  • monitor animals’ weight and behaviour
  • follow hygiene rules in the facility
  • keep accurate records


You’ll need:

  • interested in animals and regularly building up your knowledge in this area
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • administration skills
  • the ability to use your initiative (ambition)
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • excellent verbal communication skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become an animal technician, you generally do not need specific GCSE subjects. However, having a certain set of subjects and skills can be beneficial and make you a more competitive candidate for entry-level positions in this field. Animal technicians are responsible for the care and management of laboratory animals used in scientific research. Here are some relevant GCSE subjects and skills that can be helpful:

  1. Biology: A strong foundation in biology is particularly valuable because it provides an understanding of animal anatomy, physiology, and basic biological processes. This knowledge is crucial for the care and observation of animals in research settings.
  2. Chemistry: Knowledge of chemistry can be useful when working with laboratory animals, especially in preparing and administering medications, understanding chemical processes, and maintaining cleanliness and hygiene in the animal facility.
  3. Mathematics: Basic math skills are important for tasks such as measuring and mixing animal feed, calculating dosages of medications, and keeping records of animal care.
  4. English: Good communication skills, including reading, writing, and oral communication, are essential for documenting procedures, maintaining records, and collaborating with research scientists and colleagues.
  5. Computer Skills: Familiarity with computer applications for data entry and record-keeping can be advantageous as many animal care facilities use electronic systems for tracking and managing animal-related data.
  6. Animal Science: While not typically offered at the GCSE level, if your school offers courses related to animal science or biology, they can provide valuable insights into animal husbandry, behavior, and welfare.

It’s important to note that while specific GCSE subjects can provide a foundation, most animal technician positions do not require a formal degree at the entry level. However, there are opportunities for advancement and specialization in this field, and pursuing further education, such as an animal science degree or relevant certifications, can open up more career options.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You could apply directly for trainee animal technician jobs with having studied subjects, such as maths, English and science. In addition, some employers may also expect you to have animal care and laboratory skills. You could gain these through a qualification in:

  • animal care or animal management
  • applied science
  • biology
  • laboratory animal science and technology


You could gain some of the skills needed for this role, from an animal care and welfare assistant intermediate apprenticeship.

Depending on your previous experience and qualifications, you may be able to do an animal technologist advanced apprenticeship.

Direct Application

You may be able to apply directly if you have previous experience as an animal care assistant or veterinary nurse.

Career tips

Experience of lab techniques as well as handling and caring for animals, may improve your chances of finding a job or training.

You could get work experience:

  • on a farm
  • in kennels, an animal welfare centre or zoo
  • in a science laboratory

Working Hours and Environment:

A typical week consists of 38-40 hours of work. You could be required to work evenings/weekends/bank holidays on a rota.

You could work at a research facility. You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

You could become a senior animal technician and supervise or manage the work of other technicians.

With experience and further training, you could become an animal technologist or a named animal care and welfare officer.

You could specialise in working with animals in specific research areas like breeding, immunology or genetics.

There may also be opportunities to work as a trainer and assessor of new animal technicians.