Animal Welfare Officer

An Animal Welfare Officer or Animal Welfare Inspector commonly works for local authorities and animal welfare charities. They assist animals in need, help to prevent animal cruelty and provide practical and responsible advice and assistance regarding animal ownership.

In day to day work you may; respond to call-outs regarding animals in need, assess situations and proceed accordingly, offer advice and support to animal owners, begin legal processes for removing animals from the supervision of individuals, facilitate safe rescue of animals in need, promote compassion and good practice.

Key Skills Required:

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to deal with stressful situations in a calm and professional manner
  • Ability to work effectively independently
  • Good administrative skills
  • Animal handling experience
  • Physical fitness and ability to swim
  • Interpersonal skills

Key Points to Know:

  • This is a high demand role in many ways, the work can be very tough, both physically and emotionally.
  • Hours are often long and unsociable e.g. evenings and weekends.
  • Your work will be both indoors and outdoors in all weather conditions, you may be subject to hazardous environments.
  • This role brings huge variety, with each day bringing difference experiences and challenges.
  • This job is high stress and very psychologically demanding.


To be an Animal Welfare Officer you will need to:

Have 5 GCSEs at Grade C or higher, including English and Maths.

Hold a full UK driving license.

Have experience working with animals.

An animal care/ welfare qualification will help you to stand out among competition. Additional qualifications such as animal first aid may also be beneficial.

Training is often provided by the employer e.g. one of the most common employers of Animal Welfare Inspectors is the RSPCA, they have an internal 12 month, 19 unit training programme for candidates.

The current RSPCA Inspector entry criteria is as follows:

  • 5 GCSEs at Grade C or above, including English and Maths.
  • A full, current, UK driving license (manual gearbox car)
  • The ability to swim 50 metres fully clothed within 2.5 minutes.
  • Feel comfortable with working at heights and from ladders.
  • A good level of physical fitness.
  • Proven experience working within a team and independently
  • Proven interpersonal skills including experience managing confrontational situations.
  • Experience working with animals.
  • Good administrative skills.
  • Flexibility to work unsociable hours
  • Ability to work away from home for a seven month period (including some weekends).

Estimated average salary: £18,500 – £27,000 annually.

As an Animal Welfare Officer, you can anticipate employment in a variety of roles including:

  • Animal Welfare organisations
  • Local authorities

Being an Animal Welfare Officer is a very demanding hands-on role, ultimately you are on the frontlines in the prevention of animal cruelty so you will find yourself in difficult situations. You will be working with people as well as animals so you need to have strong people skills to be successful. This career path is extremely rewarding and each day will bring new challenges, as an Animal Welfare Officer you will be making a difference to the welfare of countless animals through not only rescuing animals from certain situations but also through education.

Coexistwithmeg ♥
Megan Richards

Looking for more inspiration? Check out some more careers below:

Nature Conservation Officer

Veterinary Nurse

Wildlife Rehabilitator

Or click here to see the full careers with animals list.