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Environmental, Animals and Plants

Ways in

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Agricultural Technical Advisor/Consultants

Most need a degree in agriculture or a related science – such as animal nutrition, animal science, biological science, crop science, and horticulture and soil science. A postgraduate degree in a specialist subject, such as animal production or soil science, could be helpful, as would extensive experience of farm work or horticulture

Farm Managers

Although there are no set requirements, most farm managers have a qualification in agriculture or a related subject, and usually several years' practical experience.

Farm Workers

Although farm workers do not need any particular qualifications it helps to have an interest in farming and in using agricultural machinery.  

Garden Centre Managers/workers

There are no formal entry requirements, for garden centre workers but some employers ask for GCSEs (A*-C), especially in science subjects, or a horticultural qualification. Managers sometimes start as garden centre workers or move from other retail employment. Horticultural qualifications include those offered by Lantra and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).


Countryside Officers/Rangers 

Most countryside officers or ranges have a higher education qualification (e.g. a degree in countryside management, conservation or geography) although there are no set academic requirements for entry into this career. Work experience is vital and most applicants gain this by doing voluntary work. An environmental conservation apprenticeship might also be a useful way in.

Education and Interpretation Officers

Most entrants have a degree as well as commitment, enthusiasm and practical skills (often gained from voluntary experience).  Related degree subjects include countryside management, biological sciences, earth sciences, geography or environmental sciences. A teaching certificate may also be useful. As this role may involve travelling to various locations, a driving licence may be necessary.

Fish Farmers

There are no set academic requirements, but some employers ask for GCSEs (grades A*-C). For management you may need a higher level vocational qualification or a degree in aquaculture and fishery management, for instance.


Many people also enter through an Apprenticeship.  Specialisms could include horticulture, sports turf, and landscaping, parks, gardens and green spaces. No specific academic qualifications are usually required; however a real interest in gardening and some experience would be an advantage.


There are no set academic requirements but experience in horticulture or agriculture and a good understanding of golf may be an advantage. Higher education qualifications could be an advantage for potential managers e.g. in sports turf or golf course management. It may also be possible to enter this career through an apprenticeship.


Animal Care Assistants

There are no set academic requirements to become an animal care assistant, although some employers do ask for qualifications such as GCSE's (grades A*-C) or animal care certificates. A genuine concern and real enthusiasm for the welfare of animals is essential and previous experience of working with animals is valuable, either in paid employment or as a volunteer. It may be possible to enter this career through an apprenticeship in animal care.

Animal Physiotherapists

There are two routes to qualifying as an animal physiotherapist – you can:

  • train directly as an animal physiotherapist (entry might require an animal or health related degree or relevant animal experience)
  • first becoming fully qualified in human physiotherapy (via a degree in physiotherapy and then further training) followed by an veterinary physiotherapy qualification

Animal Technologists

Employers usually ask for maths and one or more science subjects at GCSE (C or above) or possibly A level.  Graduates from pharmacology, physiology, toxicology and pathology courses increasingly tend to fill animal technology positions. Experience of caring for animals, either paid or voluntary, is useful and employers are also looking for a genuine interest in animal care and welfare.

Horse Grooms

Interest in and enthusiasm for working with horses is very important as is experience of working with horses, as a volunteer or from work experience. It may be possible to train through an apprenticeship. Vocational qualifications including groom or riding certificates, can be helpful.

Veterinary nurses 

Many nurse train on an RCVS-approved training scheme which requires 5 GCSEs (C or above) and includes on-the-job training and attendance at an RCVS-approved college. This route is often delivered as an apprenticeship.

For courses in higher education, see UCAS

For courses in schools and colleges, see UCAS Progress

For Apprenticeship information, including vacancies, see the National Apprenticeship Service