How to become an animal scientist

Dan Kiesling, lecturer and advisor in animal science at the University of Arizona

First, it helps to gain experience interacting with animals. Organizations like 4-H and the National FFA Organization are great places to start working with animals. You could also volunteer at a local animal shelter, or try to get a job at a vet clinic or even a meat counter.

If you think animal science is right for you, you may want to consider getting a college degree in the field or a related field, like biology or physiology.

An undergraduate degree in animal science can take 4 to 5 years. Many students do internships during these years. At the University of Arkansas, students can earn course credit for volunteering during lambing season. At the University of California, Davis, students can get free housing in return for working in the pig barn.

With an undergraduate degree, some animal scientists become teachers or work in 4-H programs. Many others work in ranching. There are also two to four years programs to become veterinary technicians.

After earning an undergraduate degree, many animal science majors pursue graduate or professional degrees. In graduate programs, they may want to earn a master’s degree or a Ph.D. A Masters typically takes two or three years. A Ph.D. typically takes another two to six years, depending on your research.

Learn more about the different fields of animal science

Learn important terms in animal science