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Do you want to work as an animal health inspector?

  • 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 inspectors and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!


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UPDATED: 31 August 2020

1. What is an animal health inspector?

Animal Health Inspectors are responsible for inspecting various facilities including livestock markets, hatcheries, pet dealers, animal shelters, production facilities, research laboratories, feedlots, and quarantine facilities to ensure that animals that are kept are healthy and/or not being abused or neglected.

Also known as:

  • Animal Health Officer
  • Livestock Inspector

2. What do they do?


Health / Law & Enforcement


The main focus of an Animal Health Inspector is to ensure that all facilities that have animals on the property are operating in compliance with set laws regarding animal health, safety, and welfare. They will also assist with disease surveillance; livestock legislation and enforcement management; emergency preparedness and response laws. These laws differ from country to country.

Daily Tasks:

  • Inspect commercial establishments to determine whether animals are cared for
  • Obtain evidence and interview witnesses
  • Write reports and prepare cases for appearance in court
  • Issue licenses to breeders, pet stores, and rescue groups
  • Assist state veterinarians with disease testing, collect samples
  • Investigate and shut down any unlicensed or otherwise illegal animal operations
  • Perform euthanasia of sick, injured or unadopted impounded animals
  • Administration and filing

Where they work:


They perform their duties with equal amount of times in- and outdoors.

Places of Employment –

Animal Health Inspectors are employed by government agencies and work in different environments.

Average Salary:

On average the income per year is around $50,000. This will differ from country to country.


There is sufficient opportunities for promotion where Inspectors can work towards more senior supervisory and management levels. They may become trainers to help train new recruits, or alternatively enter the private sector.


​The work can be physically and emotionally difficult. There is a high potential for injury when attempting to examine an animal under stress, whether that stress arises from abuse and neglect, or from being in an unfamiliar environment. They do have to travel regularly, and also work long hours and over weekends and holidays.

​Future growth and Possibilities:

The importance of maintaining a high level of wealth within livestock numbers, the career will continue to grow positively.

3. Which Skills are required?

The skills required for a career as an animal health inspector 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:

  • Good animal care skills
  • Basic customer service skills
  • Good health and physical fitness
  • Excellent 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:

To become a junior Animal Health Inspector you will require a minimum of a College Diploma, with most of the skills learned on the job. But as the career can be difficult, most employers will require at least a Bachelor’s Degree, or even a degree in Veterinary Science.


Major –

Due to the complexity of some of the cases that will be worked on, employers regularly require a Degree in a field like zoology, veterinary medicine, or animal science.

Short Courses –

Courses in dealing with animal management, control and health is normally required.


The duration of College and Bachelor’s Degrees can be up to 3 or 4 years. Short Courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.

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 animal health inspector 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 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 health inspector 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 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 inspectors or expert.

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

Average level of education of all the people who enter 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:

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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 animal health.

Animal Health Inspector Career_opt

8. Join the OZT community

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming an animal health inspector.

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 Animal Health Inspector, 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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