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Animal Technician Profile

Animal Technician Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as an Animal Technician. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as an Animal Technician
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Animal Technician Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Animal technicians are responsible for the care, husbandry and welfare of animals being bred for in scientific research.

At the start of their careers they are mainly concerned with the physical care of the animals - particularly mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits and hamsters. They do routine tasks like:

• cleaning cages
• monitoring animals' health
• providing food and water
• handling and moving animals safely
• keeping records.

Once they have qualifications and experience, they may be involved in experimental studies. Hours vary, but are generally around 37 a week. The work involves weekends, bank holidays, possibly shifts and occasional nights. Most animal technicians work indoors, in specially-built animal facilities.

Animal technicians need:

• a genuine desire to work with animals
• commitment to their care and welfare
• to be able to pay close attention to detail and keep accurate records.

There are about 3,500 animal technicians working in the UK. Employers include universities, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, laboratory animal breeders and
specialist research companies. There are no set entry qualifications, but applicants normally need at least GCSEs (A-E)/S grades (1-5) in English language, maths and science subjects. Previous experience of working with animals is useful. Adult entry is possible. Training is on-the-job, with part-time study for appropriate qualifications. Through lifelong learning, some technicians study to degree or MSc level.

What does the role encounter?

Animal technicians are responsible for the care, husbandry and welfare of animals being bred for or used in scientific research.

At the start of their career technicians mainly deal with the physical care of the animals - particularly mice, rats, guinea pigs, rabbits and hamsters. They do all the routine tasks like cleaning the cages, monitoring the animals' health, providing food and water, handling and moving animals safely, and keeping records.

Once they have the qualifications and experience, technicians may be involved in experimental studies. This involves understanding the physical, behavioural and environmental needs of individual species, and being able to predict and interpret their responses. They play a key role in breeding animals and selecting them for studies. Technicians may also develop and carry out dosing, assessment and sampling techniques.

They work in a highly scientific environment, using computers every day, and use various systems, programs and databases for record keeping.

Technicians are also responsible for complying with current laws governing animal research.

What type of hours will I have to work?

Animals need care 24 hours a day, all year round. So the work involves weekends, bank holidays, and possibly shifts and occasional nights (normally on a rota).

Hours vary with different employers, but are generally around 37 a week. Technicians should be able to work part time, usually once they have gained qualifications and experience.

Most animal technicians work indoors in specially-built animal facilities. But there is some work with larger species such as farm animals, which may involve working outdoors.

They normally wear protective clothing and shoes, a face mask and a hat or hair covering.

What level of salary and benefits are there?

These figures are purely for guidance only. Salaries may vary for the area the job is situated in, age, experience along with a host of other factors:

• Trainee technicians are paid from about £8,000 a year.
• Once experienced, they're likely to get around £12,500.
• Senior technicians earn up to £20,000 (and more for chief technicians, supervisors and managers).

What type of skills will I need?

You will need to have some or all of the following type of skills to carry out this job:

• a genuine desire to work with animals
• commitment to their care and welfare
• a responsible attitude
• the ability to calculate weights, volumes, temperatures and other measurements with confidence
• to be able to pay close attention to detail and keep accurate records
• physical fitness, stamina and good health
• manual dexterity
• computer skills
• willingness to work as part of a team.

What type of training will I receive?

Much of the initial training takes place on the job.

Most employers grant day release to allow trainees to study at local colleges for the Institute of Animal Technology (IAT) Certificate and Membership exams. Trainees can also take BTEC first, national and higher national certificates. SQA science qualifications can be used to gain part-exemption from the IAT qualifying exams.

Individuals can study for the IAT qualifications on a distance learning course.

An NVQ in Animal Technology at Level 2 has recently been approved, and NVQ Level 3 is being developed.

The IAT keeps a register of animal technicians. To get on it, applicants must have held the IAT membership qualification for two years and pass an interview.

Qualified, experienced animal technicians may be granted a Home Office licence, which allows them to become involved in experimental work and to perform regulated procedures on animals.

Through lifelong learning, some technicians study to degree or MSc level, and take advanced qualifications offered by the IAT.

Career Progression:

There are prospects of promotion to supervisory and higher grades for technicians with relevant experience and appropriate qualifications.

Are there similar types of job or related industries?

Yes, this list is not exhaustive but see the following categories:

Horse Groom
Kennel Worker
Laboratory Technician
RSPCA Inspector
Veterinary Nurse
Veterinary Surgeon
Zoo Keeper

Where can I find further information?

Institute of Animal Technology, 5 South Parade, Summertown, Oxford OX2 7JL. Website:

What trade magazines are available for this industry?

All of the following magazines and journals can be purchased from any good bookstore:

New Scientist
Laboratory Animals
Animal Technology.

Other Useful Animal Technician Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Animal Technician job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Animal Technician Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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