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Animal Scientist Job Description, Career as an Animal Scientist, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: College

Salary: Median—$49,920 per year

Employment Outlook: Fair

Definition and Nature of the Work

Animal scientists conduct research in the genetics, nutrition, reproduction, and development of domestic farm animals in order to formulate more efficient ways of producing and processing meat, poultry, eggs, and milk. To that end, animal scientists consult with agricultural producers on how to provide healthy and safe housing for their animals; lower mortality rates and improve parasite and disease control; dispose of waste matter; and increase the production of animal products.

Some animal scientists are involved in the selection and breeding of animals to create new strains of animals with desirable characteristics. Others investigate and analyze different management practices, processing methods, feeding techniques, and environmental conditions to determine their effect on the quality and quantity of animal products.

Education and Training Requirements

An agricultural science degree, which is offered by land-grant colleges, is necessary for a career as an animal scientist. For students concentrating in the animal sciences, courses should include animal breeding, reproductive physiology, nutrition, and meats and muscle biology.

Graduate study is recommended for those who specialize in the field. Graduate level programs includes course work in animal breeding and genetics, crop science, or horticulture science.

Getting the Job

To find a job as an animal scientist, check college job placement offices and college job fairs. Browse newspaper want ads and Internet job sites as well.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Animal scientists can advance to work independently and on more ambitious projects. They may eventually supervise other scientists and technicians.

The job outlook for animal scientists is fair, with employment opportunities for those working in the agricultural sciences expected to grow at an average rate through 2014.

Working Conditions

Most animal scientists spend a great deal of their time at dairy farms, feedlots, farrowing houses, or livestock ranches. Therefore, they work outside, exposed to the elements; but they also work inside, in comfortable offices or laboratories. Scientists usually work a forty-hour week, unless they are involved with a large research project that requires their attention.

Where to Go for More Information

American Dairy Science Association
1111 N. Dunlap Ave.
Savoy, IL 61874
(217) 356-5146

American Meat Science Association
1111 N. Dunlap Ave.
Savoy, IL 61874
(217) 356-5368

Earnings and Benefits

Animal scientists earn a median salary of $49,920 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. College graduates with a bachelor's degree in animal sciences earned an average starting salary in 2005 of $30,614 per year. Benefits for this position include health and dental insurance, paid vacation days, and 401K.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesAgribusiness, Environment, and Natural Resources