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Animal Care Colleges and Schools in the U.S.

The field of animal care commonly concerns the nutritional and other needs of domestic small animals. Certificates, associate's and bachelor's degrees are available in the field. Read on to learn about what to consider when selecting a school and the typical curriculum of certificate and degree programs in the field.

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How to Select an Animal Care School

Students interested in attending an animal care degree program should consider the school's facilities and the types and quantities of animals treated at the facility. A school with an animal care facility may provide hands-on internship or other opportunities to practice techniques learned in the program. This may better prepare graduates to work in the field or make them more attractive to employers.

Another consideration is the student's planned career path. Some animal care programs offer concentrations that prepare students to work with small animals, in an animal control career or in kennel management. Additionally, some programs prepare students to continue their studies in a veterinary technician or pre-veterinary associate's or bachelor's degree programs. Students may want to consider attending a program that prepares them to work in or continue their studies in a field of their interest.

Students interested in working as a vet technician or veterinarian may want to consider attending schools accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). This is because, upon graduating from an AVMA-accredited school, students are eligible to sit for the veterinary-technology credentialing exam. Additionally, earning a degree from an AVMA-accredited school may be a prerequisite to attending veterinary school.

Animal Care Program Overviews

Certificate in Animal Care

Certificate programs, which typically require one year of study, cover the basic care and handling of domestic animals. Courses in these programs include zoology, general biology, anatomy and physiology, medical terminology and animal behavior. Some programs include an internship.

Associate in Applied Science in Animal Care

An associate's degree program curriculum may cover animal breed types and breeding, animal management, clinical animal nursing, animal health fundamentals and clinical lab procedures. Generally, veterinary course work and clinical duties comprise the majority of the second year of study. Some programs allow students to specialize in caring for a specific type of animal. Many programs include lab training and internships.

Bachelor of Science Programs

Bachelor's degree programs related to animal care may be titled 'veterinary and animal sciences', 'animal sciences' or 'human leadership'. The last type of program focuses on leading animal care facilities or organizations. In addition to preparing students for a career as an animal care technician, these programs also can lead to a career in research or to attending veterinarian medical school. Classes in these programs include human resource management, animal health and behavior, animal physiology and animal nutrition, as well as science courses such as chemistry, biology and genetics. Many programs include lab courses and internships.

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