Are you an animal lover? Or someone that wants to get outdoors during your working day? Then this is the sector for you. Animals of all shapes and sizes need veterinary care, and there are more roles than you might think. If plants are your passion, then a professional career in horticulture might be for you. Also consider agricultural engineering and agricultural consulting.

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Jobs and salaries

Want to be a vet? Take a look at these resources which will give you a better idea of the profession. Vets start out on an average salary of £30,000.

You might be a vet that deals with all kinds of animals, or you might specialise in:


Find out what a veterinary nurse does, and what you can expect to earn in this profession.

You could also consider a career in animal technology, caring for laboratory animals. Find out more about salaries, employers and get some tips for starting out in this profession. 

Another option is working for a charity such as the RSPCA or PDSA. Have a look at our career sector on charity and voluntary work.

There are many options for a career in horticulture. Browse through the various jobs and career paths at Grow Careers.

Lantra is another great resource for land-based careers.


Routes and qualifications 

To train to be a vet you need to go to university for 5-6 years. Read here for more information on how to become a veterinary surgeon, and about university requirements.

However, you don’t have to have a degree in veterinary medicine to work with animals. Take a look at the routes to a career as a veterinary nurse.

Read here for more information on other careers working with animals.

If you fancy working with horses, note that The British Horse Society offers guidance on everything you need to know about riding, caring for horses and working in the industry.


Funding and support

Studying to become a vet takes longer than most degrees, but funding is available as it is with other university courses. Check out the pages on student finance from gov.uk, and/or contact the funding or careers departments of the organisations you are considering training with. Many universities, including the RAU, also offer bursaries and scholarships.

Veterinary nurses can train on the job by doing the Level 3 Diploma, but can also choose higher education.

Most of the careers in horticulture are vocational, so you learn while you earn, but have a look at the different options and roles to find out more.


What's it really like working in this sector?

Take a look at the stories of four young vets/student vets to find out more about what it's like becoming a vet.

Had enough of reading? Have a look at the Youtube channel 'Veterinary science...for all walks of life' and also at our career videos for this sector.

There is also a 10 min video on a career in veterinary nursing.

Find out what it's like to be a Registered Farrier.

Grow Careers will tell you more about what the various careers in horticulture would be like.


How many jobs are there in this sector?

  • Over one million people are employed in this sector, with a further 500,000 volunteers.
  • The biggest industry in this sector by number of employees is agricultural livestock followed by landscape, agricultural crops, production horticulture, environmental conservation and equine.


Location, location, location

As you might expect, most jobs in this sector are in rural areas. However vets and veterinary nurses are needed everywhere, as well as some of the other professions we have covered here.


Will a career in this sector suit me?

  • Applicants may find relevant work experience, potentially unpaid, a vital step towards finding paid employment in this sector.
  • In general, postgraduate study is not usually necessary to enter this sector. However, competition for environmental jobs has meant relevant postgraduate qualifications will greatly enhance your chances of gaining employment.
  • Employers also value applicants with good problem solving and communication skills. An interest in, and knowledge of relevant environmental issues is often also necessary.