RSPCA inspectors investigate and help prevent cruelty to animals.

What does a RSPCA inspector do?

Your work would include:

  • checking neglect and cruelty complaints
  • advising owners on proper care, issuing warnings or taking some cases to court
  • deciding if rescued animals need medical treatment
  • putting animals down humanely if their condition can't be treated
  • inspecting animal establishments like kennels and pet shops
  • inspecting events like circuses, agricultural shows and race meetings
  • working closely with the police, local councils, veterinary surgeons and dog wardens
  • rescuing wild animals such as deer or foxes that are injured or trapped
  • writing reports
  • giving evidence in court
  • giving talks and presentations to educate the public about animal care and protection

You would begin as an animal welfare officer, and your tasks in this role would include:

  • investigating low level complaints
  • collecting and rescuing animals
  • supporting inspectors in their work with more complicated cases

What do I need to do to become a RSPCA inspector?

You’ll need good communication skills, be able to handle animals confidently and deal with unpleasant and distressing situations.

To apply for a position as a trainee inspector, you need:

  • a good level of physical fitness
  • the ability to swim 50 metres fully clothed
  • a full UK driving licence
  • excellent interpersonal skills
  • at least five GCSEs (A-C), including maths and English or equivalent qualifications

You’ll also need to have experience of working with animals. You can gain this by volunteering with another animal welfare charity, animal refuge or at one of the RSPCA’s own animal care centres.

Related skills

  • Communication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Literacy
  • Teamwork

Related subjects

  • English
  • Maths

Essential qualifications

  • At least five GCSEs (A-C), including maths and English or equivalent qualifications

Where to find out more


Where could I be working?

You would work both indoors and outdoors, in all weather conditions. You may also be involved in potentially dangerous situations, for example climbing cliffs or trees to rescue animals. 

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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