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Caretakers have a variety of job responsibilities, depending on the nature of their caretaking work. Although the term caretaker is sometimes used interchangeably with caregiver, someone who provides assistance with day-to-day personal care for the elderly or disabled, it more typically refers to someone who cares for grounds, property, or animals. The qualifications to become a caretaker depend on the type of property or animals for which someone assumes care. Property caretakers may need to have a background in home or building maintenance as well as landscaping before they can be hired and may, in some circumstances, also need licensing in one or more building trades. Animal caretakers typically have a background in working with animals and learn their trade on the job, though some may have formal education or training in animal care.
Typically caretakers work in positions that require a fair amount of trust on the part of their employers. For example, an animal caretaker may regularly enter the homes of clients in order to take care of their animals. Property and building caretakers typically have access to people's homes and offices. If you desire to become a caretaker, you may need to pass criminal background checks, and in some cases, you may also need to pass a credit check due to concerns that financial problems may tempt you to steal.
For those who wish to become a caretaker of buildings or homes, getting job experience in various types of maintenance work can be very useful in developing a career. Maintenance jobs are often available in a variety of settings, including retail stores, schools, and other buildings. Another alternative is to work as part of a cleaning crew that works on houses or other buildings. By taking on a variety of maintenance and cleaning jobs, you can develop your skills, which can enhance your ability to eventually become a caretaker of other properties. If you wish to command a higher wage and be considered for highly responsible positions at more valuable or complex properties, you may also want to seek out training in various licensed trades, such as contracting, carpentry, or plumbing.
To become an animal caretaker, you may wish to start by volunteering at an animal shelter or by working in a pet shop. Many animal-welfare groups offer training courses in animal care that may be useful in developing your skills and establishing your credentials. Formal training is available through trade schools and community colleges for becoming a veterinary assistant or technician. With this sort of background, you may be able to work in a veterinary clinic as well as offering your services to owners of sickly or special needs pets.