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Working with animals – which roles can you start without a degree?

Do you have your heart set on working with animals, but worry that not going to college could hold you back? Then we are here to tell you – that’s not the case! There’s an amazing array of roles out there, working with your favourite furry, scaly or feathery friends, that don’t require a degree. Our past students, busy working in the industry, are proof that a flexible, affordable, online animal care course can be all you need to start a successful career with New Zealand’s amazing wildlife. 

A traditional college degree isn’t ideal for everyone. Perhaps it’s simply too expensive, too time consuming, or doesn’t fit around your lifestyle. Sometimes sitting in a classroom isn’t what works for you, or your learning style! For many of our graduates, a self led & hands-on experience, with flexible tutoring & support, really appeals to their skill set and personality. That’s why we created our Wildlife & Animal courses – for passionate animal advocates who want to take their career into their own hands. And you can! 

With a wide range of roles out there that don’t require a degree, we designed our animal care courses to give you the experience, individual skills, and tailored training you need to shine on your application form. Meaning you can hit the ground running in any of these exciting and rewarding areas. 

So which amazing animal focused role is right for you? Let’s find out:

1. Veterinary assistant

Veterinarians are busy people, and with plenty of animals to care for they always need extra hands! Vet assistants are the beating heart of a practice, offering vital support to keep patients happy, cared for and on the road to recovery. Daily duties include feeding and caring for animals in your care, monitoring and recording important vitals, cleaning and preparing equipment, as well as supporting the administration and running of the clinic.

A popular position, with an average salary of around $41,000 a year, having prior experience and relevant skills is a huge bonus in your application. Our Vet Assistant Course is the ideal starting point for anyone who wants to launch their career in this incredible role. If you prefer to walk on the wild side, we even have a specialised Wildlife Vet Assistant Course available, which will elevate your knowledge of the wildlife conservation space, and allow you to enter this important niche confidently.

2. Animal handler

If you’ve always dreamt of caring for all creatures great and small all day, then becoming an animal handler could be a dream come true. Spending the majority of the day with animals, handlers or carers often work for pet-sitting, animal boarding, rescue or shelter services. Day to day tasks can include feeding, grooming, transporting animals, exercising, providing enrichment activities and general administrative support. A fantastic beginners role for anyone wanting to dive into an animal-focused career, you can earn as much as $26 an hour once you’ve found your feet.

Having a thorough knowledge of correct procedures and safety measures around animals, as well as how to enrich their lives, is a vital part of this role. Our Animal Care Course has been created with this in mind, to help you develop a strong understanding of the industry, elevating your expertise above others for that winning CV!

3. Animal trainers

If you’d rather delve deeper into animal behaviour, or even start a pet services business of your own, you could become an animal trainer. Requiring a deep understanding of animal psychology, you’ll be using your skills to enrich the lives of dogs and cats, helping owners to communicate with their pets for harmony, obedience and an unbeatable bond. 

While no degree is necessary, training is a must for anyone looking to take on this role or start their own business. That’s why we created our animal behaviour courses in Dog Training and Cat Training, to equip you with the key technical knowledge and skills to win you clients in this competitive field. Plus, as an experienced trainer, you could earn as much as $50,000!

4. Groom or yard manager

If you’ve got a total affinity with horses, but are unsure that higher education is for you – then keep reading! Working grooms and yard managers are the lifeblood of any equine establishment – whether it’s a racing stables, riding school or competitor’s training facility. Keeping all of the horses happy, healthy, and well cared for is a hugely rewarding and hands-on role that requires lots of time with gorgeous fillies and strong stallions!

These hands-on roles require a basic understanding of equine care, especially working as a groom. As a yard manager, an understanding of the business and administration side of running a busy yard is also essential. Our Equine Studies & Equine Business courses make for the ideal foundation for your career to gallop ahead – no degree necessary!

5. Zookeeper

Has your dream always been to be up close and personal with the world’s most fascinating wildlife? Zookeepers spend their days caring for all manner of fantastic beasts, providing care, enacting enrichment activities, observing and reporting on health issues & collaborating with other staff members. They may even be involved in animal shows for awed spectators! An experienced keeper can expect to earn as much as $40,000 too.

While no degree is necessary to become a zookeeper, positions are highly competitive. Who doesn’t want to be a zookeeper after all! So previous experience, relevant skills and proof of your dedication to the role will all stand out on your application. Our Zoology Course is a comprehensive set of units, specifically designed from the ground up by industry professionals to put you in prime position to succeed.

6. Rescue services

If helping animals in need is something you feel passionate about, then you’ll be glad to know that rescue services have a range of roles that don’t require you to have a degree. If you want to support these amazing charities, then you could provide administrative support in the form of becoming an adoption coordinator or office manager. Or perhaps you want to start a charity of your own?

If you prefer to be more hands-on, working as an animal control officer means you will interact with all types of wild and domestic animals in need of help. You will be the first port of call for animal emergencies in your local community. A role that isn’t for the faint of heart, but allows you to be on the frontline of animal welfare. 

For all of these roles, experience and understanding of animal care, welfare and conservation is essential to turn your passion into a thriving career. Depending on your goals and desired area, our courses in Animal Studies, Animal Welfare or Wildlife Conservation are all fantastic ways to create a foundation of knowledge for your rescue work.

7. Dog groomer

Perhaps one of the most exciting, rewarding and popular roles for dog lovers everywhere, working as a groomer is a fun and flexible way to work hands on with your favourite four legged friends. Working for an agency or salon, you’ll be responding to client briefs and creating happier and healthier coats for all kinds of pooches. If you decide to build your own grooming empire and set up a salon, you’ll be marketing to clients, setting your own schedule and welcoming regular fur-friends for pampering treatments. An experienced groomer can earn as much as $27 an hour!

Training is essential for any groomer, and so is having the best tools at hand. That’s why our Dog Grooming Courses are taught by leading industry professionals, with in-depth video tutorials and tutor support – so you can hone your craft at your own pace. Plus, included in the payment plan, is your very own starter kit that’s full of the highest quality instruments. So you can start preparing for your new career right away! We have both beginner and advanced courses just waiting for you to join, depending on your experience level.

We hope this guide shows you just how many animal care roles are out there for you, even without a degree. While the biggest requisite for all these positions is your passion for wildlife of all kinds, any training or relevant skills can be the deciding factor in getting that dream role. That’s why our online animal courses are the perfect stepping stone to a career in your favourite field. 

Learning animal studies online is a flexible, affordable and accessible way for you to get firmly on your dream pathway. On our courses, you can learn at your own pace, at a time that suits you, with tutor support on hand when you need it. 

Can’t decide which course is the right one for you? You can always speak to our friendly support team, who can guide you towards your first steps into the animal care industry. We can’t wait to meet you!


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