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Do you want to work as an enclosure designer?

  • Read about the most important info you need to decide on following this career.
  • ​Follow the 7 points below and search for a tertiary institution near you for future studies. If you already are graduated, you may also search through our list of Jobs in the main menu.
  • If you want to PLAN the way you need to prepare, then join our community in step 8 where you will learn everything, while chatting with other potential designers and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!


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UPDATED: 7 October 2020

1. What is an enclosure designer?

Enclosure designers may design and build different enclosures (such as terrariums, play pens etc) for animals that are mainly kept as pets or business.

Kinds of enclosures they may build:

  • Dog kennels
  • Rabbit hutches
  • Catio and walkways
  • Bird cages​ & Aviaries
  • ​Terrariums (for spiders, reptiles and amphibians)
  • Vivariums
  • ​Critter cages (for smaller pets, such as hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils etc)​
  • Bat Houses
  • Beehives
  • Owl Houses
  • Farm Animal Pens

What are they NOT:

Although the words “enclosure designer” is used for anybody that designs enclosures, here at OZT we try to separate the true careers so that you can make a proper career decision.

An enclosure designer is not the same career as an aquarium designer, or as a habitat designer. Aquarium designers build aquariums, small or large, for fresh or salt water fish.  Habitat designers focus on the enclosures of wild animals kept at places such as zoos, theme parks and sanctuaries.

Another difference is that habitat designers normally need a college or University degree, where enclosure designers can work with only a High School certificate and mentorship.

Aquarium designer and habitat designer as careers are discussed separately on this website.

Age old Traditions

Most enclosure designers still build enclosures according to old traditional methods

Spider Enclosures?

Spider enclosures are one of the fastest growing enclosures (besides fish tanks) in the market

2. What do they do?


Art & Design / Business


Enclosure designers focus on the physical enclosing of an animal to ensure it does not escape, remains safe and healthy and can be cared for inside the enclosure. Enclosures can be small, such as cages, to very large walk-in enclosures to house larger reptiles and birds.

Daily Tasks:

  • Study particular animal species’ habitats in the wild for the purposes of enhancing or recreating those habitats in a controlled environment
  • Write and present design proposal
  • Choose construction material, plants and landscape features
  • Handle electric equipment (power saws, drills, welding machines etc)
  • Administrative duties and bookkeeping
  • Marketing and selling enclosures
  • Transport enclosures to markets, pet stores and private clients

Where they work:

Environment –

Enclosure designers work equal parts outside and indoors. Most of an enclosure will be designed and assembled indoors, with work done outdoors to construct the larger cages.

Places of Employment –

Enclosure designers may work for large companies that specialize in cage designing; or freelance on contract by creating their own businesses.

Average Salary:

The average annual income is around $63,000 per year, or $30 per hour. Specializing in the design of specific enclosures can increase popularity and income.


A career in design and construction always includes long hours and tight deadlines. It might also be required that you travel long distances and work in adverse weather conditions to finalize contracts. Handling electric equipment can be dangerous.

​Future growth and Possibilities:

The growth of the pet industry will always positively influence the growth of careers linked to it. Enclosure designers focusing on cages and tanks for the pet industry (cats, dogs, critters birds, reptiles, arachnids) always have plenty of work.
The best enclosure designers are those that specialize in designing and building specific enclosures.

3. Which Skills are required?

The skills required for a career as an enclosure designer can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills:

  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal relationship

Career Skills:

  • ​Strong artistic skills
  • Professional skills in handling electric construction equipment
  • Basic Animal behavior and environmental knowledge
  • Basic customer service skills
  • Good health and physical fitness
  • Strong computer literacy
Life Skills
Career Skills

4. Which Subjects must I have at School?

The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

5. What will I need to Study?

Minimum Requirements:

Most enclosure designers have started their businesses with just a High School certificate. Depending on whether you just want to stick to the designing part, or venture into construction as well, you can also complete Short Courses.


Focus on design, construction (wood, metal etc) and Short Courses that deal with animal behaviour and care.


Short Courses might be between a few weeks to a few months.

Possible Career Preparation Paths:

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

​To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A Preparation Path is like your road map to where you want to be.

Possible Paths:

Possible Combined Career Paths:

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.

Possible Alternatives (there are a lot more):

Stepping Stone Career:

Being an enclosure designer can also be used as a stepping stone career. A stepping stone career is one which is used to help you get to another career, normally because the other career is too difficult to reach (sometimes due to things like high fees etc).

You can begin as an intern designer after basic short courses and expert guidance (maybe working under a mentor). The money made can then be used to pay for studies towards a promotion or another career, and the experience helps in gaining knowledge. One paying to help get to the other.

Some of the possible paths:

Training and apprenticeship:

Even though it is important to study to get into some of the animal careers, most of the skills you will need as a cartoonist will be acquired through practice. This means that you will learn how to perform some of the daily tasks by actually doing it a few times and learning the steps.

In some cases entry level positions (or junior carpenter, for example) require training sessions even before you are allowed to actually perform your job duties. These sessions are offered by the place of employment, after you have successfully applied.

Apprenticeship is also possible where you need to learn skills from a more senior designer or builder.

Join the Enclosure Designer Group in STEP 8 to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!

Average entry level of education across the career:

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

6. Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations

Certain animal careers require some form of legal certification to prove that you can indeed do the work, and work with the necessary equipment.

Although not required by law, certifications may help workers establish their credentials and enhance their skills.

Learn more about requirements by joining OZT in STEP 8.

Professional Associations:

7. Where can I study further?

All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.

See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards draughting.

Enclosure Designer Career_opt

8. Join the OZT community

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming an enclosure designer.

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
  • Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
  • Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
  • Make friends around the world and share knowledge
  • Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!

If you have decided on being an Enclosure Designer, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the Group, while non-members will be assisted to register first.

If this career is NOT the career for you, then you may return to the MAIN CAREER menu, and search for something different.

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Career Profiles and Resources

Career Mentors are Members who assist by volunteering to keep each Career Page factual and current, while mentoring Students in the related Career Group.

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Contributions by expert members are always appreciated to allow the Students to make informed decisions. Please add your contribution through the attached Form:

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List of Career Mentors/Educators who have contributed to this Career info:


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