Animal science majors study the biology, physiology, growth, breeding, nutrition, behavior, and management of animals. They can hold many job titles, in many different fields. Although working in veterinary medicine requires an advanced degree, this is a popular career path for animal science majors. Veterinarians work in clinics and farms to diagnose and treat animal injuries and illnesses. They also work for companies that make animal foods and pharmaceuticals, to help design products and research how animals respond to certain foods and medicines.
Animal science majors work at all levels of government, from federal to state to local. Federal and State departments of Agriculture, Health, Environmental Protection, and Food and Drug Safety often employ these professionals. They may also work in laboratories to research animal nutrition, health, and disease control, or to inspect livestock operations, and meat and dairy plants.
Positions in education are plentiful for animal science majors at all levels. They work in high schools and colleges, including university extension programs, to teach students about animals and inform the public.
Within the fields of farming and agriculture, animal science majors are employed by farms, ranches, and agricultural businesses as managers and technicians. They may work for livestock producers in quality control, distribution of products, sales, marketing, and customer service. Jobs are available with feedlots, processing plants, breeding companies, food distributors, and even livestock trade publications.
One fast-growing field is animal biotechnology, in which animals are used to support research efforts, serve as models for disease, and provide products to help grow cells, antibodies, and viruses in cultures. Animal science majors work in this industry as research associates, as well as laboratory and veterinary technicians.
As the world loses more species, wildlife conservation is critical. Animal science majors can continue on to careers as zoologists, wildlife biologists, and conservation officers. These jobs generally require an advanced degree in the form of a Masters or a PhD. The main focus of these careers is to protect and support wild animals. Graduates may be employed to count animal populations, run animal breeding programs, coordinate disease control programs, and research threats to habitats. Jobs are available within state and local agencies, corporate laboratories, animal sanctuaries, universities, and zoos.
Depending on the university, animal science majors often specialize in one area. Some examples of these concentrations include pre-veterinary care, the animal industry, and exotic animals. Animal science majors can usually expect to take classes in biology, organic chemistry, and animal physiology. Depending on the specialty, students may also take classes in agriculture, farm management, animal nutrition, or animal behavior. Other classes may include animal care, livestock production, breeding, and animal disease control.
As the human population grows, so does the domestic animal population. This means that job growth is expected in this field in the future. Students who would like to work in wildlife conservation can also expect to see more available jobs. If you have a passion for learning about and caring for animals, an animal science major may be ideal for you.
Career Paths for Animal Science Majors
- Animal Scientist
- Animal Caretaker
- Research/Lab Technician
- Veterinary Assistant
- Habitat Specialist
- Livestock Manager
- Kennel Keeper
- Livestock Inspector
- Wildlife Biologist
- Animal Nutritionist
- Animal Researcher
- Conservation Officer
More information can be found at www.asas.org, the website for the American Society of Animal Science.