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High School Classes Needed for Animal Caretakers

by Jen Saunders, studioD

If you always have had a special bond with animals you may want to consider a career as an animal caretaker. Animal caretakers invest long hours in a job that can be physically demanding, but the satisfaction animal lovers get in return is worth it. Animal caretakers work with puppies, elephants and anything else with four legs. They can work in animal shelters, zoos, kennels, stables or grooming salons. You can make your high school years count by taking classes to help you move into this career.


If your high school offers zoology it will serve you well as a future animal caretaker to enroll in the class. Zoology is the study of animals and has many subdivisions based on particular areas of interest. Mammalogy would be a particularly beneficial area of zoology to focus on, as it studies warm-blooded vertebrate animals with hair or fur. If you want to work with cats, dogs, monkeys or horses having knowledge of their behavioral patterns, diets, healthcare needs and biological functions will help be you a more efficient animal caretaker. Most high school zoology courses offer a broad survey of the field. Crescent High School in Oklahoma, for example, focuses on seven different animal groupings.

Strength Training

Animal caretakers have to be physically strong, and many high school physical education courses offer strength training. According to the Iowa High School Athletic Association, weight lifting is a competitive sport in which participants try to lift the heaviest weight, while strength training involves lifting weights and using various resistance methods to build strength and reduce the risk of injury. As an animal caretaker you may be required to haul heavy bags of feed, move heavy cages, and use your strength to lead, guide and restrain larger and stronger animals.

Hospitality And Tourism

Some animal handlers work within hospitality and tourism. If you have been to the Grand Canyon you should know that one of the largest attractions is riding a burro down the trails. These burros are small donkeys that require training and care from animal handlers. Some animal handlers even work within hospitality and tourism by caring for the dolphins who swim with guests at marine parks. Various schools like Inglemoor High School in Kenmore, Wash., offer Career Technical Education (CTE) courses that include hospitality and tourism as a subject. In some industries tourist dollars help pay for the animal's food and health care. Knowing how to market to tourists within a hospitality industry where animals play large roles will help you provide greater care to your furry friends.


Math is an important skill all animal caretakers should possess. As an animal caretaker you may be required to administer medicines to animals. Many medications require measuring doses according to the animal's weight. Animal caretakers also are responsible for feeding animals. While a dog in a kennel may be able to eat a bowl of dried dog chow, other animals -- especially exotic species at zoos -- eat special diets of carefully measured proteins and vitamins that require addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in order to get the mixture of food just right for each animal or groups in a single enclosure.

About the Author

Jen Saunders is an entrepreneur and veteran journalist who covers a wide range of topics. She made the transition to writing after having spent 12 years in England where she studied and taught English literature.

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