How can I become an animal scientist?

Download this pdf to learn more about careers in animal scienceIt’s never too early to plan to become an animal scientist. You will need a passion for working with animals, a passion for science and a willingness to work hard in school!

While in high school, you can 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.

After high school, you will need to earn a university bachelor’s degree. Many people decide to major in animal science in college, but that is not the only option. Future animal scientists can major in nutrition, biology, microbiology, health sciences, food science, public health, or even genetics. It usually takes four years to earn an undergraduate degree in animal science.As an undergraduate, many students participate in internships. For example, 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.

Many animal scientists continue their education by getting their master’s degree. A master’s degree would help you become even more qualified to work as an animal scientist. Master’s students also get to focus on a specific research project. A master’s degree usually takes around two years. After earning a master’s degree, some students stay and earn a PhD. Earning a PhD after a master’s degree takes an additional three years.

Tips for success:

  • Remember it is as important to love science as it is to love animals.

  • Try to get experience working with animals before you start college.

  • Many animal scientists study the products that come from animals. You could also learn a lot by working at a grocery store meat counter or at a farm in your area.

Learn about the different fields of animal science

What species do animal scientists work with?

Animal science goes green

Scientists and animal producers are working to minimize the impact of animals on the environment. Learn how they are working to protect our water, air and soil.

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