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Animal Science: What Can I Do With This Degree?

Farm Range Production and Management

Livestock production
  • Beef and dairy cattle
  • Swine
  • Poultry
  • Sheep
  • Horses
Livestock Feed
  • Production
  • Development
  • Quality control
  • Distribution/Marketing
Meat and Dairy Foods
  • Production
  • Development
  • Quality control
  • Distribution/Marketing

Employers

  • Farm and ranch operations
  • Feed companies and operations
  • Meat and dairy processors
  • Processing plants
  • Inspection services
  • Extension services
  • Government agencies including: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration

Information & Strategies

  • Develop physical stamina, outdoor skills, and comfort being in close proximity with large and small animals.
  • Gain work experience in area of interest through internships, summer jobs or part-time work.
  • Minor in business if interested in management of self-employment.
  • Participate in related clubs and competition teams.
  • Become familiar with federal job application procedure for government work.

Agribusiness

  • Sales: livestock, feed, pharmaceuticals, agriculture chemicals, livestock supplies, farm and feedlot equipment
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Public relations
  • Customer service

Employers

  • Agribusinesses: livestock and feed
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Equipment and supply companies
  • Food and meat processing companies
  • Animal health firms
  • Breed organizations
  • Food distributors
  • Financial institutions
  • Livestock publications
  • Professional associations such as National Cattlemen's Beef Association

Information & Strategies

  • Obtain relevant experience through internships.
  • Earn a minor in business.
  • Must be highly motivated and well organized.
  • Proven leadership abilities are desirable. Join related student organizations and seek leadership roles.
  • Develop a strong commitment to customer satisfaction.
  • Practice excellent communication skills, written and oral.
  • Develop computer skills especially with spreadsheet, presentation, and database software.
  • Learn to work well both on a team and individually.
  • Join related clubs and become active with competition teams.

Education

  • Teaching
  • Non-classroom education
  • Extension

Employers

  • Schools (elementary, secondary, and post-secondary)
  • Extension services
  • Agricultural agencies
  • Agricultural communications and media firms
  • Agribusinesses
  • Government agencies

Information & Strategies

  • Obtain teacher certification for elementary and secondary school positions.
  • Secure masters or doctoral degree for post-secondary teaching or other advanced positions.
  • Exercise strong interpersonal skills.
  • Practice excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Gain related experience through volunteer positions, summer jobs, or internships.
  • Learn to work well with all types of people.
  • Seek leadership roles in student organizations.
  • Become familiar with federal job application procedure for government work.
  • Be prepared to live in rural communities for extension positions.

Veterinary Medicine

Areas of specialization:
  • Small animal care
  • Large animal care
  • Food safety
  • Preventative medicine
  • Surgery
  • Public health
  • Laboratory animal medicine
  • Research
  • Inspection

Employers

  • Group or private practice
  • Federal government including Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services
  • State and local government
  • Colleges of veterinarian medicine
  • Medical schools
  • Research laboratories
  • Animal food companies
  • Inspection services
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Zoos
  • Wildlife sanctuaries

Information & Strategies

  • Research veterinary programs, take pre-vet courses to meet veterinary school requirements, and prepare for application process.
  • Maintain an excellent grade point average.
  • Gain experience through volunteer positions, part-time jobs, or summer work. Consider working as a veterinary technician.
  • Secure strong recommendations from professors.
  • Develop physical stamina, outdoor skills, and comfort being in close proximity with large and small animals.
  • Exercise close attention to detail.
  • Practice strong interpersonal skills.
  • Gain extensive laboratory and research experience for research positions.
  • Obtain internships at zoos or other wildlife sanctuaries.
  • Become active in pre-vet and other related clubs.

Science and Technology

  • Research
  • Product and process development
  • Genetics and animal breeding
  • Animal nutrition/health/disease control
  • Animal behavior, training, and caretaking

Employers

  • Government and corporate laboratories
  • Colleges and universities
  • Livestock producers
  • Zoos
  • Wildlife sanctuaries

Information & Strategies

  • Advanced degrees are often required in these positions.
  • Earn post-graduate certification through the Animal Certification Technician Board.
  • Gain extensive laboratory and research experience by working in faculty laboratories through special problems courses, as a student employee, or through other departmental programs.
  • Supplement curriculum with additional science courses in relevant areas (e.g. genetics, animal behavior, microbiology)
  • Develop physical stamina, outdoor skills, and comfort being in close proximity with large and small animals.
  • Become familiar with federal job application procedure for government work.
  • Gain work experience in area of interest through internships, co-ops, or summer or part-time work

Quality Control

  • Livestock feed inspection
  • Harvest operation inspection
  • Meat and dairy inspection

Employers

  • Government agencies including Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Inspection services
  • Farm and ranch operations

Information & Strategies

  • Develop physical stamina, outdoor skills, and comfort being in close proximity with large and small animals.
  • Become familiar with federal job application procedure for government work.
  • Gain work experience in area of interest through internships, summer jobs, or part-time work.
  • Join student organizations and seek leadership roles.
  • Participate in competition teams.
  • Practice strong interpersonal skills.
  • Exercise close attention to detail.

General Information

  • As an undergraduate, seek laboratory experiences such as research projects, volunteering with professors, summer jobs, or internships.
  • Participate in research programs and internships sponsored by government organizations and private corporations.
  • Consider a certificate program or specialized master’s program to qualify for research technician positions.
  • Earn master’s degree for greater variety and autonomy on the job. Earn a Ph.D. to work on high-level research projects, to direct research programs, to enter high levels of administration, and to teach at four-year post-secondary institutions. Postdoctoral fellowships may also be required.
  • Learn to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Combine an undergraduate degree with a degree in law, business, education, communication and information science, or other discipline to expand career opportunities.
  • Consider earning an MBA after gaining work experience to reach the highest levels of agribusiness management.
  • The animal sciences are good preparation for a career in healthcare such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacology, and veterinary science, but professional degrees and licenses are also necessary to practice in these fields. Become familiar with the specific entrance exam for graduate or professional schools in your area of interest.
  • Join professional associations and community organizations and read related journals to stay abreast of current issues in the field and to develop networking contacts.
  • Actively participate in student organizations, competition teams, research laboratories, and other related activities.
  • Secure strong relationships and personal recommendations from professors and/or employers.
  • Learn federal, state, and local government job application process. The federal government is the largest employer of scientists.
  • Gain experience with grant writing and fundraising techniques. Often research must be funded in this manner.
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