Animal technicians help veterinary, medical, pharmaceutical, agricultural and general scientists and students to care for and check on animals used for research, breeding and scientific purposes.
To become an animal technician you usually have to complete a VET qualification in animal technology, captive animals or laboratory technology specialising in biological testing, environmental monitoring or biotechnology. Applicants may be required to attend an interview and/or have access to a relevant workplace. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information.You can also become an animal technician through a traineeship in Captive Animals or Animal Technology. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. For more details, see Section 2. Ask your career adviser about the possibility of starting some of this training in school.
Animal technicians may perform the following tasks:
Animal technicians are usually required to work in shifts and on weekends. Some duties involve working with large animals and exotic species, which is often performed outdoors and conducted in all kinds of weather conditions. Much of their time is spent doing routine tasks such as cleaning exhibits and feeding animals.
There is strong competition for positions in this field. Sources of employment include research institutions such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), government veterinary laboratories, universities, major hospitals, animal breeding establishments and zoos.
A field assistant cares for large animals, such as sheep and cattle used for research purposes, which are kept in outdoor pens and paddocks.
A zookeeper helps to care for animals in zoos and wildlife parks, providing enrichment activities for the animals, assistance to veterinary staff and information to the public on animals and conservation.