Animal Technician

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects
Openings 5 years to November 2020: 10,001 to 25,000
Median weekly earnings: $1,101 to $1,350
Australian Government Department of Employment 2014
Animal technicians help veterinary, medical, pharmaceutical, agricultural and general scientists and students to care for and check on animals used for scientific purposes, breeding and zoological exhibits.
  • 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.

    TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation being the Diploma of Animal Technology. Other courses associated with this occupation include the Certificate II in Animal Studies; Certificate III in Companion Animal Services; Certificate III in Pet Grooming; Certificate III in Animal Studies (Wildlife); and Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing.

    Studying at TAFE SA is one of the easiest and most successful pathways towards a University Degree. Dual offer courses are available to TAFE SA and Flinders University in the Diploma of Animal Technology/Bachelor of Science (Animal Behaviour).

    Still unsure? Then try a short course also offered through TAFE SA - check the website for short courses available.

  • Animal technicians are employed by universities, hospitals, government research institutions, zoos, private companies and veterinary practices.

  • Animal Technicians perform daily checks and record the health status and behaviour of animals in their care, prepare food and water, provide care for laboratory, field or zoo animals maintain zoo exhibits, holding or breeding areas and equipment, assist in return-to-the-wild and animal enrichment programs, carry out experiments using animals, recording the results under supervision and according to relevant codes of practice and the organisation's animal experimentation ethics committee rules, examine animals and take samples of their body fluids, faeces or tissue for analysis or veterinary inspection, observe animals' reactions to tests, make routine calculations, such as for drug dosage and prepare graphs, clean and disinfect cages and facilities, and sterilise equipment, work under supervision to establish and maintain breeding programs, assist with fertility testing for sheep, cattle or poultry research, assist in the selection and grading of animals for breeding programs, help with injections, surgery, dressings and care of animals after operations, euthanise animals humanely (under supervision) and handle animals that have died.

  • You will need to enjoy practical and manual activities, be able to handle animals with confidence and patience. Some duties involve working with large animals and exotic species, which is often performed outdoors and conducted in all kinds of weather conditions. Intending animal technicians should be free from allergies aggravated by animal hair, feathers, fur and dust.

  • Animal technicians are employed in all states of Australia and work on average 36.4 hours per week.

    Animal technicians are usually required to work in shifts and on weekends. Much of your time may be spent doing routine tasks such as cleaning exhibits and feeding animals. Some duties involve working with large animals and exotic species, often performed outdoors and conducted in all kinds of weather conditions.