Training for a career working with Animals


Work with Animals

By ACS Distance Education on June 5, 2016 in Animals | comments

Learning anything about animals will not only help you get a job, and experience, it will (more importantly), help you keep the job, progress in that job, and develop a sustainable career.
Getting qualified alone is never going to guarantee a sustainable career. Learning can come from doing formal courses or informal in house training within your job, training with an external agency, taking a course and so on.

An effective animal course is holistic. It involves progressing through a sequence of different learning experiences about animals that has been contrived by someone who understands both animals and how the mind learns. It requires the student to have “faith” in the school and teaching staff who are guiding them through those experiences. It requires the educator to monitor the learning progress, and interject when and if necessary.
Training may involve in house training within your job, training with an external agency, taking a course and so on.  Some jobs will require people to continually update their training and knowledge, for example, some jobs will require a person to update their continuing professional development points to keep their job.  For some people, this may involve short training courses, whilst for others it may involve taking courses that take several years to complete.  

It is important to understand the differences between different types of courses, and to choose what you study according to what will help your career the most.

Taster Courses

Some courses give you a taste of a subject; and may lay a very basic foundation for understanding that subject. A taster course however should never be confused with a larger foundation course such as a diploma or degree.

It is possible to come to grips with the underpinning principles of just about any subject in only a day or two; but to get full value out of short courses such as this, you need to then keep building upon what you learned in that course -either through ongoing study. experience or networking (or more commonly all of these things)

The big advantages of taster courses are

  • they allow you to taste what a subject is really like, without a hefty and lengthy commitment; and
  • they may teach you enough to set you on the right course for much more effective informal learning.

Foundation Courses

 Some courses are designed to give you a comprehensive foundation in a subject. These courses should be preparing you for a lifelong career. They should enable you to understand the language used by people who work with animals; comprehend literature you encounter, and give you a capacity to grow and develop your knowledge and skills. A good foundation course might not prepare you to simply walk into a workplace and do a job; but it will put you in a position where you can learn much faster and better on the job, than anyone who does not have a foundation course behind them. (Examples are: Substantial 500+ hour certificates; 1000+ hour diplomas; or 3,000+ hour Degrees)

Professional Development Courses

These are designed to expand the learning that started in a foundation course. They are frequently shorter than a foundation course; and should be undertaken for a purpose, most commonly to learn about something that will enhance your career. These courses would usually assume that the participant is working currently in the field that they are studying.


Some people make a mistake when preparing for a job or business, in thinking that they can achieve the same level of learning by reading books, as what can be achieved by undertaking a course.  Courses involve much more than gathering and reading information.

Networking can impact upon your career just as much as any form of education. Neglect the importance of networking at your own peril. Build up the contacts you have in industry. Get involved. Success often comes from who you know, just as much as what you know.

Other Work Experience

Gaining other work experience can also be beneficial to any career in different ways:

  • It indicates things to employers. Employers can see what you may have learned elsewhere, and whether there is a positive pattern in your career development. They can also see if you stay in a job for a long time or keep changing employment.
  • You can actually learn things, develop industry contacts and increase your awareness of the industry through experience.
  • Experience can help broaden your skills and knowledge, and that can increase your ability to adapt.