Career Information for a Degree in Animal Science
A degree in animal science can lead to many careers with wide ranges in job duties and salaries. An animal science degree is offered on all levels, and many programs provide students the opportunity to work with animals.
Animal Science Degree Information
An animal science degree program can prepare students for careers in the management, science and medicine fields. Individuals who earn this degree may be self-employed or work in hospitals or for major companies. The employment outlook and annual salary can vary greatly between professions.
Animal science degrees are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Many programs incorporate work experience into the curriculum, and some institutions may have facilities for students to learn hands-on. These programs focus heavily on the biological sciences and include many laboratory-based classes. Some animal science programs offer concentrations, like management.
According to O*Net Online, veterinarians diagnose and treat animals by giving medication and performing surgeries (www.onetonline.org). They can work for animal hospitals, research facilities or in a private practice. Some veterinarians work with all animal types while other vets, such as equine veterinarians, focus on one species. Veterinarians may choose to become specialists and focus on a single area of medicine.
Prospective veterinarians need to complete a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.M.V.) degree program after finishing an animal science program. Prospective programs must be accredited by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Programs last four years and involve extensive clinical time in the fourth year.
Upon completion of veterinary school, many individuals undergo an internship to gain experience or a residency program to become board certified. All states require that veterinarians be licensed. While there is some variance in requirements, all states require that individuals hold a D.V.M. and pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), veterinarians were predicted to see a 36% increase in employment from 2010 to 2020 (www.bls.gov). The BLS stated that the median annual salary for veterinarians was $84,460 in 2012.
Animal scientists use scientific principles to solve problems that plague animals. These professionals typically focus on either companion animals or livestock and can work in specific research areas, such as reproduction or nutrition. Animal scientists can be employed by feed and pharmaceutical companies, government agencies, national organizations or universities.
Many animal scientist jobs are research-based and require a graduate degree, especially for university positions. Students may consider graduate degrees specific to their own interests, such as animal nutrition or animal reproduction.
Career Outlook and Salary Information
Employment opportunities for animal scientists were forecasted to increase 13% between the years 2010 and 2020, according to the BLS. The annual median salary of animal scientists in 2012 was $61,680.
Farm managers direct the operations of farms, often specializing in one area, such as finances or animal care. They develop procedures and work with owners to maintain long-term plans that increase productivity. Farm managers begin their careers by managing one area of the farm, but may later advance to general manager positions and supervise other managers. Many are employed by large commercial farms.
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