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Pet shops can be as small as a local, one-person operation or as gargantuan as a multinational, Internet-based company with hundreds of employees. Chances are you'll get your start somewhere in between—perhaps as a cashier working the register in a respected shop in your hometown.

As a pet shop employee, you'll be part of a team of people trying to sell pets and pet supplies to the public. You'll keep busy every day doing things like stocking shelves, taking inventory, ordering new products, helping customers, and cleaning up. You'll fill feed bins when they get low, place sale items on special racks, and set up signs and posters. You might have to sweep the floor and lock everything up at the end of the day.

Most pet shops sell animals as well as pet supplies. These stores need employees who will clean out cages and aquariums, feed animals on a regular basis, and walk and play with those animals that need exercise and human attention. The kinds of animals you'll end up working with will depend on the store, but they could include everything from cats and dogs to birds, fish, snakes, turtles, and rabbits. You might have to change the water in a fish tank, rearrange the rocks and sticks in a turtle's box, or feed a hungry snake live mice for dinner.

Many career pet shop workers end up running their own pet shop someday. It's only natural—if you spend enough time working in a pet store you end up learning the ropes so well you may wind up running the show yourself.

Education and Training

There is no specific training required for pet shop workers. Still, if you plan to run your own pet shop someday, it doesn't hurt to study business, mathematics, and science. You'll need good business skills to manage your store, especially if you plan to be successful.

If you're sure you want a career working in a pet shop, the best time to start is now. Go to your local pet store and tell them you're interested in learning all about it. Tell them you want to help out in any way they can use you. Who knows, they might hire you!

If you can't get a paid position at a pet shop, try to volunteer. And if no volunteer jobs are available, look for work elsewhere in the pet care field to get experience. Once you have experience the job offers are sure to start coming in.

Specific skills that are necessary for pet shop workers depend on the position held, but good customer service skills and experience caring for animals are definite requirements, as is familiarity with pet toys, foods, and health. You'll be dealing with both people and animals on a daily basis, so get to know both.

The Job Hunt

Once you've determined your goals, it's time to pound the pavement. Before school lets out, consider asking your teachers whether they know of any job opportunities for kids like you. At home, try flipping through the phone book for promising businesses that may need help. Once you've compiled a respectable list, start making calls. Also, check out the classifieds section of your local newspaper. If you have access to a computer, jump online and give “networking” a shot. Sites like http://www.campjobs.com, http://www.coolworks.com, http://www.summerjobs.com, and http://www.quintcareers.com are great all-around resources that post thousands of jobs available nationwide. Finally, don't forget to keep an open mind as you look. Even if you don't find a job working with animals, you could get valuable work experience in a restaurant, a retail store, or an amusement park. Keep an open mind!

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCool Careers Without CollegePET SHOP WORKER - Description, The Job Hunt, Outlook, For More Information