Some of us are people people. Then there are dog people, and of course cat people. And some of us are just plain Animal Lovers. You know who you are. Up all night watching YouTube videos of animals doing silly things? Okay, maybe not just cuddly koalas and kittens; maybe you’re just into the science and nature side of it all. You probably spent your Saturdays collecting bugs and looking in ponds for turtles as a kid. Now you’re all grown up trying to figure out your life’s path. Why not pursue what you love?
Animal related majors
First you need to get educated, find a major out the many offered that fit you! These majors can be found at many institutions and at varying levels of study; Associate, Bachelor or Master.
Associate’s Degree Only
Veterinary Technician – A Vet Tech is like a nurse for a veterinary hospital, working alongside a veterinarian and doing the same kind of tasks a nurse for humans would do: giving shots and medication, cleaning injuries, and so on. You can become a vet tech with only an associate’s degree and passing a state certification exam, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
Pet Groomer – If you have pets, you know what an Animal Groomer does – you bring your pet (usually dogs and cats) in, and the groomer makes them clean, trimmed, and pretty. What you may not realize is how important the groomer is for animal health; the groomer is often the first one to notice serious health issues such as decayed teeth, ear and eye infections, or skin problems. You can learn on the job, but an associate’s degree will be helpful if you want to start your own business or look especially hirable. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate 15% growth for animal care workers in the next ten years.
Bachelor’s Degree Acceptable
Livestock Management – Livestock Management is an agribusiness degree, sometimes called Animal Husbandry. Much of your work will be managerial, keeping records and accounts, supervising workers, and ensuring that animals are properly cared for. This is not a job that requires post-graduate education – 86% of livestock managers have a bachelor’s degree, according to the US Department of Labor.
Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology – With a major in Conservation, you will work to protect the environment. You may work for government agencies, non-profit groups, or as a university or independent researcher, studying extinction, hunting/poaching, pollution, climate change, and other factors that endanger wildlife. You can work in conservation with a bachelor’s degree, though many jobs will prefer a graduate degree.
Master’s or Doctorate Required
Marine Biology – As a Marine Biologist, you study all kinds of underwater life, working in the wild, in aquariums, or university or private laboratories. Some Marine Biologists for for the oil industry, cleaning up and protecting wildlife after oil spills. Marine Biology is another field where a graduate degree is preferred, and a Ph.D. may be necessary for some jobs, such as university teaching.
Learn more about what degree you need to become a marine biologist.
Zoology – Zoologists study how animals live and interact within habitats, real and man-made, often researching and writing scientific reports. With a Zoology degree, you can work in zoos, state and federal agriculture departments, or animal welfare organizations. To work as a Zoologist, you will need a master’s or doctorate degree.