Animal Research Career

What to Expect?

Lots of people want to work with animals. Many people think that becoming a vet or working in a zoo is the only way to do that, but there are many other jobs where you can work with animals every single day. One of the most rewarding is animal technology…

  • Most of the work takes place indoors and can involve sterile conditions or hot, humid environments. There is some outdoor work with certain species
  • Working hours can vary from 7-9am and 3-5pm.
  • The work can be physically demanding and tiring, and you’ll need a high level of concentration and attention to detail
  • You’ll wear protective clothing, which will vary depending on the species of animal and type of study being undertaken. As a minimum, technicians wear a full outfit of clean protective clothing every day
  • Animal research is a controversial issue. Although there is considerable support available from colleagues, you need to be prepared to deal with adverse comments (and sometimes actions) from members of the public or animal rights groups

Core Responsibilities

As an animal technician, you’ll need to:

  • Understand and adhere to UK law governing the use of animals in scientific research
  • Ensure a high level of animal welfare and work to improve the quality of life for laboratory animals
  • Clean cages, pens, trays, equipment and fittings, to keep animals clean and comfortable
  • Feed and water animals
  • Handle and move animals safely
  • Check the environment (for example, temperature and humidity)
  • Monitor the condition of animals and recognise and resolve any behavioural problems
  • Obtain samples and measurements
  • Collect and record data.


How Much Will I Earn?

As shown below, based on the Government’s National Careers Services findings, a career within the life sciences sector offers the highest salary bandings and career progression. To simplify this, we have put this in order of highest pay and career progression.

See what our existing Animal Technicians think of their career…

I didn’t know where to start when looking for a career working with animals. Before the ATP I was told that the only paid animal related jobs were as Veterinary nurse or working in a Zoo. I heard about the ATP from a careers talk at my college and immediately applied. I was overjoyed to be enrolled and worked through the study modules. Even though some of the questions were hard I was allowed to resit the module tests plus the ATP trainers were brilliant – their coaching and advice really helped me. I then attended a 1 day animal handling course in London at a really smart animal facility. I got to handle rodents and speak to qualified animal technicians about what they do – it was amazing. I was then invited to attend work experience at the same facility and am now completing my final 12 weeks on the job training at another ATP partner employer. I’m earning £8 per hour during this final 12 weeks training which really helps. Overall I have to say that the ATP has been a fantastic experience – I can’t wait to become accredited and get a full time job.

HND in Animal Care / ATP Learner