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This page provides information and data on the following Animal Care and Management services:

  • Animal breeding services
  • Pet and companion, assistance and therapy animal services
  • Animal technology services
  • Captive wildlife operations
  • Animal control services
  • Wildlife care and rehabilitation services
  • Non-veterinary health and welfare services.

Industry and economic figures are difficult to obtain for this sector due to ABS data limitations, emerging occupations not included in ANZSCO classifications and certain occupations falling into more generic categories not necessarily specific to Animal Care and Management services.

Industry figures that are available indicate there are about 4,000 pet grooming businesses and up to 100 wildlife operations including zoos, wildlife parks and aquariums which employ up to 7,200 people.

It’s estimated that the zoological sector had a total revenue of $801 million in 2018, while companion animal services contributed $12.2 billion to the Australian economy, this includes allied services like pet food, accessories, veterinary services and a range of other pet care services.

Nationally recognised training for these sectors is delivered under the ACM – Animal Care and Management Training Package, which is maintained and developed by the Animal Care and Management Industry Reference Committee.

Visit the following pages for information on Veterinary Nursing, Agriculture and the Racing industry.

Information sourced from the Animal Care and Management IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

The intended occupation for the majority of Animal Care and Management training is Animal Attendants and Trainers.

The employment level for Animal Attendants and Trainers grew slightly between 2000 and 2019. There was an anomalous year in 2017 when employment increased by over 10,000 on 2016 employment numbers, but then subsequently dropped again by over 10,000 in 2018. The occupation is projected to grow to 18,200 by 2024, continuing the upward trend from the 2018 level of employment.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments in Animal Care and Management qualifications (excluding veterinary nursing) grew from around 14,170 in 2015 to 16,830 in 2017 but have declined to approximately 11,010 in 2018. Program completions are down slightly from roughly 5,140 in 2017 to approximately 5,010 in 2018, but still above the 2015 and 2016 figures. The majority of training in 2018 was undertaken at the certificate II level, followed by certificate III level qualifications. Approximately three quarters (75%) of training is in Animal Studies qualifications, and the intended occupation for the vast majority of training is Animal Attendants and Trainers (not elsewhere specified).

Overall, TAFE institutes provided the majority (81%) of all training in 2018. However, this can vary depending on the type of qualification, as private providers delivered almost all (98%) of the animal control and regulation qualifications and 43% of companion animal services qualifications.

Almost three quarters (73%) of the subjects for training are Commonwealth and state funded, however, a significant portion of training delivered by universities (70%) and private training providers (61%) is domestic fee for service.

Most students are located in New South Wales (33%) and Victoria (31%), with a further 13% residing in Queensland.

The majority of training was delivered in either New South Wales (44%) or Victoria (30%), with a further 10% delivered in Queensland.

Apprentice and trainee commencements have continued to decline, falling sharply from around 170 in 2017 to 42 in 2018. The peak was in 2014, when more than 430 commencements were recorded. After declining between 2015 and 2017, completions have recorded an increase from roughly 120 in 2017 to just over 140 in 2018. Just over half of apprenticeships and traineeships are for the intended occupation of Farriers, with the remainder Animal Attendants and Trainers not elsewhere specified. More than half (57%) of apprenticeships and traineeships in training were reported by New South Wales, with 21% reported by Victoria.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

According to the job vacancy data, the top requested skills by employers were communication and research skills. The most advertised occupations were Animal Attendants and Trainers followed by Pet Groomers.

The top generic skills identified for the Animal Care and Management industry include:

  • Language, Literacy and Numeracy skills
  • Learning agility/Information literacy/Intellectual autonomy and self-management skills
  • Customer service/Marketing skills
  • Managerial/Leadership skills
  • Communication/Collaboration including virtual collaboration/Social intelligence skills.

In addition to the above generic skills, the following were identified as important skill priorities for the industry:

  • Ethical animal use
  • Animal awareness and behaviour
  • Emotional intelligence of animals.

In addition to the priority skills above, The Animal Care and Management IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast also identifies several other priority skills it aims to address through proposed projects for 2019-2020. These areas of highest priority include:

  • Companion and therapy animal skills – As growth in the use of companion and therapy animals increases so does the need for skilled workers who are capable of safe and effective training and use of these animals. Therapy and companion animals can assist with variety of disorders including hearing and vision impairments, epilepsy, diabetes, dementia, mental health issues and learning difficulties. Not only do these animals aid with a widening range of disorders, the type of animal and situation in which they are used is expanding, including hospital visits by horses and alpacas. Understanding applicable legislation, public safety and WHS, risk management and coordination of animal assistance activities form part of the developing skill set required.
  • Pet grooming skills – Skills in pet grooming are in such short supply in Australia that an International Working Pet Groomer Scheme has been established by Pets Australia to encourage workers from the United States, Japan, Thailand and UK to come to Australia on working holidays.
  • Captive wildlife animal skills – Increasing work around preventing the extinction of species requires workers skilled in creating and maintaining optimal breeding conditions in captive wildlife situations. The sentiment among business and stakeholders is that formal training qualifications are not meeting the current skills requirements of this field, leading to a widening skills gap.
  • Compassion fatigue skills – Compassion fatigue can occur among animal care workers who are continually helping people and animals in distress, this is reportedly having a negative impact on student enrolments, recruitment and worker health and welfare. Skills are needed in the industry for trigger recognition and avoidance, coping strategies, assisting self and others and maintaining compassion.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Animal Ethics Committees

Animal Health Australia

Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities (AMRRIC)

Animal Medicines Australia (AMA)

Animal Welfare League Australia (AWLA)

Association of Pet Boarding and Grooming (APBG)

Association of Pet Dog Trainers Australia (APDT)

Australasian Animal Studies Association (AASA)

Australasian Association of Equine Dentistry

Australasian Society of Zoo Keeping

Australian and New Zealand Laboratory Animal Association (ANZLAA)

Australian Association of Pet Dog Breeders (AAPDB)

Australian Association of Stud Merino Breeders (AASMB)

Australian Cat Federation (ACF)

Australian Horse Industry Council

Australian National Cats (ANCATS)

Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)

Australian Pig Breeders Association

Australian Registered Cattle Breeders' Association (ARCBA)

Australian Standardbred Breeders Association (ASBA)

Australian Stud Sheep Breeders Association (ASSBA)

Australian Veterinary Association (AVA)

Cat Protection Society of NSW

Dogs Australia

Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ)

Equine Dental Association of Australia (EDAA)

Equine Veterinary Association

Guide Dogs Australia

Guwara Wildlife Shelter

International Association of Equine Dentistry

National Animal Technology Educators Forum (NATEF)

National Parks Australia Council (NPAC)

National Parks Conservation Associations

NSW Cat Fanciers Association (NSW CFA)

NSW Marine Estate

Parks and Leisure Australia

Parks Australia

Pet Food Industry Association of Australia (PFIAA)

Pet Industry Association of Australia (PIAA)

Pets Australia

Responsible Pet Breeders Australia (RPBA)

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA)

Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia (SSAA)

State and Territory National Parks Association

Taronga Zoo

Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA)

Vertebrate Pest Managers Association Australia (VPMAA)

Veterinary Nurses Council of Australia (VNCA)

West Australian Horse Council

Wildlife Health Australia

Worldwide Association of Equine Dentistry

Zoo Aquarium Association (ZAA)

Employee associations

Australian Workers Union

Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU)

Professionals Australia

Regulatory bodies

ACT Veterinary Practitioners Board

Veterinary Board of Tasmania

Veterinary Board of the NT

Veterinary Practitioners Board of New South Wales

Veterinary Practitioners Registration Board of Victoria

Veterinary Surgeons Board of Queensland

Veterinary Surgeons Board of South Australia

Veterinary Surgeons’ Board of Western Australia

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2019, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal.

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2024
    • 3611 Animal Attendants and Trainers.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2019, Employed persons by occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards 6291.0.55.003 - EQ08, viewed 16 December 2019

  • Employed total by ANZSCO 4 digit occupation, 2000 to 2019, May Quarter
    • 3611 Animal Attendants and Trainers.                                                                  

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • Animal Care and Management Training Package
    • ACM40110 - Certificate IV in Animal Control and Regulation
    • RUV40104 - Certificate IV in Animal Control and Regulation
    • ACM10110 - Certificate I in Animal Studies
    • ACM20110 - Certificate II in Animal Studies
    • ACM30110 - Certificate III in Animal Studies
    • RUV20104 - Certificate II in Animal Studies
    • RUV20198 - Certificate II in Animal Studies
    • RUV30198 - Certificate III in Animal Studies
    • ACM30210 - Certificate III in Animal Technology
    • ACM50110 - Diploma of Animal Technology
    • RUV30104 - Certificate III in Animal Technology
    • RUV50104 - Diploma of Animal Technology
    • ACM30310 - Certificate III in Captive Animals
    • ACM40210 - Certificate IV in Captive Animals
    • RUV30204 - Certificate III in Captive Animals
    • RUV40204 - Certificate IV in Captive Animals
    • ACM30410 - Certificate III in Companion Animal Services
    • ACM40310 - Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services
    • RUV30304 - Certificate III in Companion Animal Services
    • RUV40304 - Certificate IV in Companion Animal Services
    • ACM30510 - Certificate III in Farriery
    • ACM40818 - Certificate IV in Farriery
    • ACM40512 - Certificate IV in Equine Dentistry
    • ACM30918 - Certificate III in Equine Hoof Care
    • ACM30612 - Certificate III in Pet Grooming
    • ACM40612 - Certificate IV in Pet Styling.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 subject enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

Animal Care and Management Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2018 commencements
  • 2010 to 2018 completions 
  • 2018 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2018 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Animal Care and Management IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2019, Labour Insight Real-time Labour Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2019,

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2016 and June 2019 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills / Occupations
    • 3611 Animal Attendants and Trainers.
  • Employers
    • 361199 Animal Attendants and Trainers nec 
    • 361113 Pet Groomer
    • 361112 Horse Trainer
    • 361111 Dog Handler or Trainer
    • 361114 Zookeeper.
Updated: 16 Mar 2020
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