Pet Nutritionist: Job Description, Duties, Salary and Outlook
Pet nutritionists develop better food products for pets and educate pet owners about the nutritional needs of their pets. An educational background in science and an interest in animal health are key components for this career.
Pet Nutritionist Job Description
Pet nutritionists have a variety of career options, including working for pet food or feed companies, veterinarians, or colleges and universities. As employees of pet food companies, they might work in research and development to formulate new pet foods that meet special dietary needs or provide higher quality nutrition. Nutritionists for pet food companies also may travel from store to store to educate customers about their products.
In veterinary offices and hospitals, pet nutritionists may teach pet owners to properly feed their pets to maintain optimal health and assist in formulating diet plans. Nutritionists who choose not to work directly in the field may teach animal nutrition at colleges and universities.
Pet Nutritionist Duties
In research roles with colleges and universities or private companies, pet nutritionists may conduct laboratory tests on nutritional requirements for different types of animals and breeds. Their findings may be published in scientific journals or used to develop animal food products or dietary supplements. In a veterinary setting or pet store, pet nutritionists may meet with pet owners to discuss their pets' health and create individualized diet plans.
Pet Nutritionist Salary
Based on figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), animal scientists earned a median annual wage of $61,680 as of May 2012 (www.bls.gov). Animal production companies, the federal government, and research and development facilities were among the highest paying industries for animal scientists.
Pet Nutritionist Job Outlook
According to BLS data, job opportunities for animal scientists were expected to grow by 12.8% between 2010 and 2020, which was on the low end of the average national growth rate for all occupations. Colleges and universities were among the top employers for animal scientists as of May 2012; the BLS forecast that job opportunities in the areas of academic research and teaching during the 2010-2020 decade could increase by as much as 15%.
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