Animal Control Workers are classified in the Social Theme Code Category of the Strong Interest Inventory®. First released in 1927, the Strong Interest Inventory® has been revised and refined over the better part of a century. It sorts careers into six Theme Codes based on individuals’ personal and wok preferences and interest patterns. By analyzing and assessing individual attributes, The Strong Interest Inventory® Test identifies top these Theme Code Categories. This analysis can then be used to help people choose a career that they may find enjoyable and fulfilling. People who favor the Social Theme Code enjoy interacting with people or animals, supporting them, or teaching them.
Animal Control Workers handle animals for a great number of reasons, including investigating reports of animal attacks or cruelty. They may need to interview witnesses or collect other kinds of physical evidence, and compile this information into reports for their superiors, legal counsel, and for the city. Animal control workers also restrain or capture animals as needed, whether they are strays, or whether they need to be rescued from abusive situations. To do so, they may have to use nets, nooses, or other kinds of restraining devices. They ensure that the animals get any kind of care they need, including food, water, grooming services, and toys. If an animal is ill, they refer it to a veterinarian or another care provider, and if it needs to be spayed, they do the same.
Animal Care Workers educate the public on issues of animal welfare, including proper care, legal restrictions and standards, and best practices for animal care. If individuals break any laws, they also issue warnings or citations relating to animal care, and contact law enforcement to make arrests or see to other disciplinary action that needs to be taken. A positive responsibility they have is to facilitate the pet adoption process, and work with shelters.
Animal Control Workers do not use many kinds of technologies, though a foundation in Microsoft Office Suite, including Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint is helpful. They do use a variety of different animal restraint devices, including nets, muzzles, leashes, snake tongs, and traps, as well as tranquilizers, such as darts, air rifles and handguns, and cattle prods. To transport animals, they use cages and trucks. In some cases, Animal Control Workers may also use security cameras, microchip readers, wildlife cameras, and mobile radios, especially if they are investigating a case which may involve monitoring animals or humans.
Animal Control Workers need to have a foundational understanding of veterinary science and need to be physically strong enough to be able to handle a wide range of animals. A degree of dexterity, and the ability to lift reasonably heavy loads is also beneficial. A basic knowledge of law is important including their own rights, animal rights, and animal owners’ rights. This as well as an understanding of public safety is necessary, particularly if their cases involve the court system, or if an animal is causing danger to the general public. Because their job often involves time-sensitive or dangerous situations, Animal Control Workers need to have strong active listening skills and the ability to solve complex problems in a time-effective manner, even when under pressure. These skills are best learned on-the-job, with the majority of Animal Control Workers holding a high school diploma with no college experience.
The rate of employment of Animal Control Workers is expected to grow at an average rate of 5% to 8% before 2024. That said, in fast-growing states such as Utah, Texas, and Colorado, the growth rate is projected to be between 15% to 20% which is much faster than the nationwide average. However, the actual employment numbers are still relatively low, with even Texas, one of the largest states in the union, only projected to add 310 new jobs as Animal Control Workers before 2020. An Animal Control Worker’s salary is typically $32,760, but their salaries in costly states or at the upper levels of management can be over $50,000.
Below are some employment trends for Animal Control Workers:
- Median Animal Control Worker Salary: $16.08 hourly; $33,450 annually
- Employment: 15,000 employees
- Projected growth (2014-2024): Average (5% to 8%)
- Projected job openings (2014-2024): 4,300
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2014-2022 employment projections Onetonline.org