Resources and FAQ

Not sure what an animal technician actually does or what working in the life sciences sector involves? See below some useful links to other Life Sciences and Research related websites and some frequently asked questions to help you better understand the industry and career path of an animal technician.

S3 Life Science (Our Parent Recruitment Company)

S3 Science is well known in the industry and has been the leaders in animal technician recruitment services. Feel free to have a read about Animal Research, the ethics and why we use animals in research

Job profile for an animal technician.

Understanding Animal Research

Dedicated to explaining the role of animals in medical and scientific research. Guidance

UK Government information detailing the law on scientific research and testing involving animals.

Cancer Research UK

Registered charity funding research into finding cures and kinder treatments for Cancer.

Laboratory Animal Science Association

Supporting 50 years of progress in laboratory animal science and welfare. Promotes Concordat on openness for laboratory animal science.


Represents common interests in the furtherance of all aspects of laboratory animal science (LAS) in Europe and beyond.

Institute of Animal Technology

Founded in 1950, the IAT is the foremost professional body in the field of Animal Technology.

Speaking of Research

Speaking of Research aims to explain the important role of animals in research.


A non-profit organisation that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs.


UK’s national organisation which leads the discovery and application of new technologies and approaches to replace, reduce and refine the use of animals for scientific purposes.

Frequently Asked Questions

I want to work with animals but have never considered becoming an Animal Technologist until now. What makes it such a great career?

If you want to work with animals, let’s be honest, there aren’t hundreds of career options open to you. It is specialised work and in many cases the widely held view is that the bulk of animal jobs available offer limited career progression, low or no pay (voluntary work) and without clear, achievable career goals.
The good news is that by becoming an Animal Technologist you will:

  • Have a structured career path with clear and achievable goals leading to promotions and salary increases
  • Continued and ongoing training specifically focused on working with animals
  • Start your career from day 1 with decent earnings that rise along with the skills and experience you develop over time. In fact, our research suggests that Animal Technologists on average earn more than the majority of roles available working with animals.
  • Be employed by some of the most prestigious and interesting organisations in the UK with not only a great salary but also inclusive benefits package and active social scene.
  • Work with a team of fellow animal technologists every day that just like you share a passion for animals.
  • And finally, you will be joining a crack, elite workforce of super intelligent, animal loving (animal mad!) individuals that get to do what they love – work with animals whilst getting paid for it!

What does an Animal Technologist do?

An Animal Technologist looks after laboratory animals.

Why do we need laboratory animals and what are they needed for?

Nearly all the medicines we have today have been discovered and developed through research involving animals. Did you know that we share 95 of our genes with a mouse! And we also get the same illnesses that many animals also suffer from. This makes the great models to use to help understand our diseases and how best to fight against them. New medicines require testing because researchers must measure both the beneficial and the harmful effects of a compound on a whole organism. A medicine is initially tested in vitro using tissues and isolated organs, but legally and ethically it must also be tested in a suitable animal model before clinical trials in humans can take place.

What legislation is in place to protect the animals?

Did you know that the UK has some of the highest standards of laboratory animal welfare in the world? All research in the UK must be approved by the Home Office and is covered by the animal scientific procedure act 1986, furthermore, the researchers and the institutions doing the research must be licensed by the Home Office. Ethics committees exist to ensure that the potential benefits of research outweigh any suffering to the animals. Animal welfare is underpinned by the 3Rs – there is a legal requirement to replace animals with alternatives, refine experimental techniques and reduce the numbers of animals used in research. Animal research can only be carried out in the UK where there is no suitable non-animal alternative.

A friend of mine told me that animals don’t need to be used in research and that there are alternative ways to develop medicines to beat Cancer, etc. Is this true?

The short answer is no, there currently are no alternatives – it is impossible to develop lifesaving medicines without fully understanding their biological effect.
Don’t forget that research using laboratory animals costs the pharmaceutical industry millions of pounds every year – if it were possible to develop medicines and not spend this money these organisations would stop using laboratory animals overnight. This has not stopped the scientific community from looking at alternatives to using animals. In fact way back in 1959 2 leading professionals in their fields of work (one was a zoologist, the other a microbiologist) came up with the phrase “The 3 R’s”. This stand for the Replacement, Reduction and Refinement of animals used in research.
Today the Home Office here in the UK operates a government group founded on the very same principles of Reduction, Refinement and Replacement with clear aims to improve the application of the 3Rs and promote research into alternative methods. Furthermore the core principles of the 3Rs are written into UK law under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act (1986). Going one stage further there is also an EU Directive governing animal use that also makes the 3 R’s clear.

As an animal lover I’m not sure I could I work with animals that are used in research.

Think about this for a minute; there are thousands of Animal Technologists happily working in the UK every day. All of these individuals have chosen to work in this industry for one clear reason – they want to work with animals. Ask yourself this question, who should care for laboratory animals? Surely it’s an animal lover. Our clients know this and they utilise our services to make sure we seek out those individuals that want to work with animals. Individuals that are the same as you.

What are the benefits?

Unlike the majority of jobs working with animals you will receive a regular salary that exceeds the national minimum wage as well as a pension and many other benefits.. The employers are usually large prestigious academic organisations or blue chip research and pharmaceutical companies and as such they have the funding and resources to manage, train and develop their Animal Technologists. Over the years S3 Science has not only recruited candidates with animal related qualifications but also individuals that have worked on farms and in animal sanctuaries. We’ve helped ex- veterinary nurses, Zoologists and RSPCA officers to further their careers by retraining as Animal Technologists too.
The world of animal technology is a very social group and there are many events and gatherings that you will be able to attend. This enables you to branch out in your career, meet other like minded people who have the same passion as you and keep up to date on the latest developments.

What sort of animals will I be working with?

Laboratory animals vary from mice up to large farm animals such as pigs. The majority of animals used today are mice but depending on the research project you may work with other species including fish and even rhesus monkeys.

What training is involved?

When you start off your career in animal technology you will gain various skills under the supervision of your supervisor. These skills will include handling, health checks and providing the daily essentials for your animals. All these skills are recorded in your training file and all of your progress is charted. You may be given the chance to gain more qualifications that will mean you can assist in procedures and take on more responsibilities. As with most careers, the more you put into the job the higher up the career ladder you will progress.

I’ve been reading about the use of Animals in research. What are “regulated procedures”?

Regulated procedures are any procedures performed on a laboratory animal. It can be as little as breeding animals or injecting an animal with a compound. These procedures are all regulated by the home office and qualifications and appropriate training must be taken in order for a procedure to take place. All procedures in the UK must be approved by the home office and will not be approved if there is an alternative to using animals. The facility itself must be approved in order to be classed as a medical laboratory and personnel must be in place to ensure that the Law is followed. These include Vets, named animal care officers, project license holders and personal license holders.

What about animal rights groups?

As all of our Animal Technologists are animal lovers it is natural that the vast majority of them read and follow certain animal welfare groups. However if you are a potential candidate seeking employment as an Animal Technologist you should be aware that the vast majority of Animal Rights groups are against medical research. Several of these Animal Rights groups have been directly responsible for violent and damaging action against Research institutions and members of the scientific community and as such membership will in many cases cause you to fail the essential security checks that are a mandatory part of working as an Animal Technologist.

What are the downsides to the job?

When we spoke to our Animal Technologist the only downside top the job is that the animals are nearly always put to sleep (or euthanised) at the end of the study. Don’t worry your job as a trainee animal technician is to make sure that the animals are kept in a clean and comfortable condition with as much environmental enrichment they can handle up to this point. You will never be asked to euthanise an animal.

Why are the vast majority of animals put to sleep at the end of the scientific study?

The vast majority of scientific research requires the use of animals to monitor and determine the effects of a potential drug or a surgical procedure. For a complete understanding of the drug the animal will be put to sleep and then sent to a specialist pathology department so that all of the animal can be assessed at a cellular level. For example an Animal Technologist would never take a brain tissue sample from a living animal, it would cause unnecessary suffering.

What are the conditions like?

The job can be very physically demanding and you are standing on your feet for a lot of time during the day. The working environment is designed and controlled with the animal in mind therefore it may well be warmer that you expect. You will nearly always be required to wear PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) which can include a hairnet and over suit and even on occasion a mask and goggles. Don’t worry the animals you work with won’t judge you on your appearance (nor for that matter will your fellow Animal Technologists).