Animal Welfare Inspector Career Profile

Do you want to work as an animal welfare inspector?

READ: This page helps you to read about the career and the info you need to decide on whether this is indeed the career you want to follow.

RESEARCH: ​Learn about the skills required and minimum subjects to enter this career, as well as the places where you can study further after school.

PREPARE: If you want to plan and prepare for the career, then join the OZT Community! Members have access to tools, while chatting with other students and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!


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UPDATED: 1 May 2023

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What is an animal welfare inspector?

Animal welfare inspectors are the law enforcement officials who are responsible to ensure that animals are treated well. They normally respond to calls for animals in distress.

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Alternative Names

The career can also be known as:

  • Animal Welfare Officer (in some countries the titles of inspector and officer are the same. In others, an officer is the junior, and inspector is a senior person)
  • SPCA Inspector
  • Animal Cruelty Officer
  • Animal Control Officer
  • Animal Welfare Investigator
  • Animal Welfare Worker
  • Animal Protection Officer

Career Categories

The Animal Welfare Inspector career can be found in the following career categories:

  • Health
  • Law & Enforcement

Animal freedoms?

There are 5 agreed on animal rights called "animal freedoms"

Carry weapons?

In some countries, animal welfare inspectors are allowed to carry firearms for protection

What does an Animal Welfare Inspector do?

Groups of animals an Animal Welfare Inspector works with

Cats List Icon
Dogs List Icon OZT
Critters List Icon OZT
Farm Animals Icon OZT
Farm Animals
Mammals List Icon OZT
Birds List Icon OZT
Fish List Icon OZT
Reptiles List Icon OZT

What is the level of Interaction with the Animals?

What does an Animal Welfare Inspector focus on?

The animal inspector responds to call-outs regarding the possible abuse of animals.  They must also assist stricken and helpless animals and facilitate their safe rescue, return to the owner or release back into the wild.

What are the daily tasks of an Animal Welfare Inspector?

  • checking neglect and cruelty complaints
  • deciding if rescued animals need medical treatment
  • putting animals down humanely if their condition can’t be treated
  • inspecting animal establishments
  • inspecting events like circuses, agricultural shows and race meetings
  • working closely with the police, local councils, veterinary surgeons and dog wardens
  • rescuing wild animals that are injured or trapped
  • writing reports
  • giving evidence in court
  • giving talks and presentations to educate the public about animal care and protection

The working Environment of an Animal Welfare Inspector

Where does an Animal Welfare Inspector work?

Environment –

Animal welfare inspectors work mostly outdoors, as they patrol certain neighborhoods, and respond to calls. A potion of their work will be indoors, within an office setup.

Places of Employment –

They may be employed by government or animal welfare organizations, such as the SPCA.

What is the average annual salary of an Animal Welfare Inspector?

On average the income per year is around $45,000. This will differ from country to country.

What difficulties can an Animal Welfare Inspector face?

The most difficult part is always working with stressed and hurt animals, which might bite or kick. The work environment can also get hostile, with difficult owners. They may also work long hours and over weekends and holidays to finish work within tight deadlines. Warning, as this career might require animals to be euthanized.

Future growth and Possibilities

The current annual growth of new jobs in this career is around 7%.

Availability of Jobs


Which Skills are required by an Animal Welfare Inspector?

The skills required for a career as an animal welfare 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
Life Skills

Career Skills

  • ​Good animal care skills
  • Good research skills
  • Basic customer service skills
  • Good health and physical fitness
  • Excellent computer literacy
Career Skills

Which Subjects must I have at School to prepare for this career?

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!

What will I need to Study to become an Animal Welfare Inspector?

Minimum Requirements

To become an Animal Welfare Inspector doesn’t require formal training, as most places of employment have their own in-house training courses. Some inspectors do go on to study a College Diploma or even a Bachelor’s Degree.

Study Focus

There are several welfare courses especially designed by institutions to train their welfare inspectors.

Study Duration

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.

FREE Career Path Plan

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 a road map to where you want to be.

Possible Paths:

Here’s a possible career preparation path for a high school student interested in becoming an animal welfare inspector, based on the provided points:

1. Attend Career Guidance Sessions:

Participate in career guidance sessions offered by the school or local community organisations to learn about various career paths, including animal welfare inspection.

2. Research all of the possible careers:

Conduct thorough research on the responsibilities, requirements, and opportunities in the field of animal welfare inspection.

3. Explore Educational Paths:

Explore different educational paths such as vocational programmes, associate degrees, or bachelor’s degrees related to animal science, veterinary science, or criminal justice.

4. Align high school subjects with the educational path:

Take relevant high school courses such as biology, chemistry, environmental science, and criminal justice to build a strong foundation for further studies.

5. Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent:

Focus on academic excellence to obtain a high school diploma or equivalent qualification.

6. Learn about animals that will work with:

Gain knowledge about different species of animals, their behaviours, needs, and welfare requirements through self-study, coursework, or volunteer work at animal shelters or rescue organisations.

7. Align post-school path with either entering a career/job directly, studying further, or starting a business:

Decide whether to enter the workforce directly after high school, pursue higher education in animal science or related fields, or explore entrepreneurial opportunities in animal welfare.

8. Gain experience through volunteering, internships, mentorship, etc.:

Seek opportunities to gain hands-on experience by volunteering at animal shelters, participating in internships with veterinary clinics or animal control agencies, or finding mentors in the field.

9. Pursue Extracurricular Activities:

Participate in extracurricular activities related to animal care, such as 4-H clubs, FFA (Future Farmers of America), or animal advocacy groups.

10. Join Professional Associations:

Join professional associations or organisations related to animal welfare inspection, such as the National Animal Care and Control Association (NACA), to network with professionals and stay updated on industry trends.

11. Gain specialised Skills:

Develop specialised skills such as animal handling, first aid for animals, conflict resolution, and communication skills, which are essential for animal welfare inspectors.

12. Network with Professionals:

Network with professionals in the field by attending conferences, workshops, or seminars, and connecting with industry professionals through social media platforms like LinkedIn.

13. Enter the job market, finish tertiary studies, or launch a business:

Depending on the chosen path, enter the job market as an animal welfare inspector, pursue further studies at the tertiary level, or consider starting a business related to animal welfare services.

14. Stay Updated and Pursue Continuing Education:

Stay informed about advancements in animal welfare laws, regulations, and best practices by pursuing continuing education courses, workshops, or certifications in the field.

Following these steps can help prepare a high school student for a successful career as an animal welfare inspector.

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 welfare 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 welfare 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 most cases, welfare inspectors will receive training sessions even before they are allowed to actually perform their job duties. These sessions are offered by the place of employment, after successful application.

Join the Animal Welfare Inspectors Group in the OZT Community 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%

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 the OZT Community.

Professional Associations

  • N/A

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 welfare.

How do I start to prepare for this Career?

If you do decide on following this career, then OZT can assist you in figuring out a path to prepare, as well as help you to gain further knowledge about the career and the animals you will be working with. We do this by offering you FREE career development tools. There are almost a dozen free tools, but these are the three primary ones:


Use the career path plan above on this profile as an example to follow, or to work out your own path.

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Access easy-to-use short courses to make your career preparation easier! The basic information in each course is free, but the rewards can only be unlocked as an OZT member!

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ACCESS: Open to visitors and Members 


Get a supercharged study guide that fits into the career path plan! Now that's really upping your preparation game! Join us for free to gain access!

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ACCESS: Members Only

But, if you are still uncertain about choosing this specific career, and even where to start, then have a look at our special series of WHAT NEXT courses (link below). They take you through all of the questions you might have on how to choose the right career, what to do while at and after school, and even how to start your own business.

Join our OZT community and Animal Welfare Inspector Group

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming an animal welfare 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 Welfare 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

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