Pet Shop Workers
Pet store workers work in pet stores—from "mom and pop" establishments to large chains such as Petco and PetSmart.
Experience with animal care can help you get a job in a pet store, but such experience is not always required. A pet shop owner or manager may be prepared to give you on-the-job training. You can check online ads for pet shop jobs, but a better approach is to visit all the pet stores in your area and fill out applications. If you don't hear back from the store right away, follow up on a regular basis so that the manager or store owner gets to know you. That way, when there is a job opening, the manager will have you in mind.
For management positions, you should have some background in entry-level retail positions, and some college education. While pursuing that education, you can take part-time work in pet stores or other retail businesses. Though any retail experience is valuable, experience in a small pet store will involve you directly with many of the main concerns of a business; in a larger pet "megastore" your experience may be limited to a few duties.
The longer you work in one store, the more responsibilities you're likely to be given. After starting as a cashier, or stock person, you may eventually be allowed to open and close the store, place orders, create advertisements, order new products, and deal with distributors. Experience in the many different areas of one particular business can lead to advancement from an entry-level position to a management position, even if you don't have a college education.
As a manager, you may be allowed to expand the store in new directions. With the understanding of a store and its clientele, you can introduce such additions as an animal training program, sponsorship of adopt-a-pet and animal-assisted therapy programs, and new product lines.
Tips for Entry
Read the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council's A Pet Store Employee's Guide to Professional Success [and Fun], which is available for free online at https://pijac.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/empl_color.pdf.
Join the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, https://www.pijac.org, to keep up to date on trends and events in the pet industry.
Visit Pawsible Marketing, https://www.pawsiblemarketing.com, which offers free marketing tips on starting a pet industry business.
Visit a pet shop near you and ask to speak to the manager regarding career opportunities. Be sure to be properly dressed to make a great first impression.