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Animal Science Degree

Animal science is an academic field that incorporates basic life sciences and the study of animal biology.  Over the years, animal science has gained a lot of attention due to the expanding pet and animal industries in the US. Did you know that according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), the total pet expenditure in 2014 amounted to $58.04 billion, and is expected to reach $60.59 billion in 2015?
Animal science majors can look forward to a variety of careers.  From livestock production to pet grooming, and from animal product inspection to journalism, there are many career-paths that can be pursued with an animal science degree. Needless to say, this field of study is suitable for individuals who enjoy working with animals.

Animal Science Programs

Animal science courses are offered by many accredited schools and colleges. Students can pursue associate, bachelor, and master degrees in this field of study. It is also possible to get an animal science degree online. The main purpose of animal science programs is to prepare students for a career in the pet or livestock industry. Students interested in joining a veterinary school can also opt for animal science programs.

Associate Degree in Animal Science

An associate level degree in animal science is designed to help students qualify for entry-level jobs in the industry. The program takes around 2 years to complete. Students enrolled in this program will gain fundamental understanding of animal care and management, animal science, and the different components of the animal industry.
The program will focus on skill development, hands on training, and help students understand the fundamental theoretical concepts of animal science. The first semester will typically cover basics of the field which includes a thorough study of subjects such as animal anatomy and physiology, animal breeding, nutrition, and animal health. Other important courses that are covered in an associate’s degree in animal science are:

  • Small animal grooming

This course highlights the various techniques and styles used for grooming animals. Students will learn how to brush, groom, clip, trim, and bath a variety of dogs and cats.

  • Applications and ethics in veterinary and animal business

This course is designed to equip students with knowledge regarding small animal business procedures. Students will develop communication skills and learn about the legal and ethical aspects of the animal industry.

  • Canine learning theory and application

Students enrolled in this course will cover different learning theories and training techniques used for dogs. The course will cover important topics such as canine ethology, canine behavior, basic obedience, and ethics of dog training.

  • Clinical animal nursing techniques

This course will cover the essential skills needed to provide basic care to animals. Students will learn how to conduct physical examinations of animals, provide medication, apply bandages, and follow wellness protocols.
By the end of the program, students will be able to demonstrate in-depth knowledge of animal care and management, practically apply skills in the animal care field, and demonstrate strong written and communication skills.

Bachelor of Science in Animal Science

This program is designed to equip students with knowledge and skills needed to begin a career in the animal industry. The program will focus on all facets of animal management, grooming, livestock, and nutrition.
The curriculum entails theoretical and practical courses. During the start of the program, students will be introduced to fundamental concepts and principles of animal science, agribusiness, and general courses. Later in the program, more advance level subjects are taught. Here are a few courses that are typically covered in bachelors in animal science:

  • Domestic animal physiology

Students will learn about the muscular, renal, mammary, cardiovascular, respiratory, and immune systems of animals.

  • Issues facing animal science

This course will introduce students to the ethical and scientifically based issues faced by the animal industry. Important topics such as life skill development and animal agriculture are covered.

  • Poultry science

Students will learn about the practices and principles of raising poultry, their production cycle, and industry.

  • Companion animal science

This course is designed to provide students with the knowledge of contemporary concepts and basic practices used for the caring of companion animals.
Students who complete a bachelor in animal science will be able to evaluate production and management systems of animal industries, apply information of animal science in real life settings, conduct research, and more.

Masters Degree in Animal Science

An animal science master’s degree is a two year graduate program offered by many renowned universities. The program aims to equip students with advanced research skills, scholarly knowledge, and an in-depth understanding of animal science.
Alongside theoretical learning, students will also take part in research projects and gain hands on experience. Some of the courses covered in the program are:

  • Advanced canine nutrition and management

In this course, students will learn how to apply biological principles and manage nutritional issues found in canines.

  • Transgenic biology

In this course, students will gain a thorough understanding of the principles and concepts of animal genetics and engineering. Topics such as cloning methods and biotechnology applications are covered.

  • Applied animal welfare

In this course, students will assess management principles and practices that affect animal welfare.

  • Animal nutrition and feed technology

Students will learn about the life cycle feeding of livestock and animals such as cattle, sheep, and poultry.

Students can also specialize in different fields in the masters in animal science degree. Some commonly pursued specializations are:

  • Molecular biology
  • Breeding and genetics
  • Animal nutrition
  • Animal and dairy management
  • Reproductive biology

Online Animal Science Courses

Animal science graduate programs and undergraduate programs are available online as well. Students will need a computer and an internet connection to study online. The coursework is covered through videos and lectures, allowing students to study in their free time. Here are some benefits of an online animal science degree:

  • Low cost
  • Flexibility
  • Self-paced coursework
  • Individualized attention
  • Convenient for professionals

Prospective students must contact the online schools to find out what the coursework is like. Some schools only offer hybrid programs which are not 100% online.

Enrollment Animal Science Degree

For undergraduate admissions, a high school diploma or GED will be required. For graduate admissions,  applicants must provide the official transcript of their bachelor’s degree. Having a good academic record and GPA can improve chances of being accepted by a college. Please remember that the admission requirements will vary from college to college.

Employment Opportunities

There are a variety of careers to choose from in the animal industry. You can choose to work in animal food processing plants, wildlife ranches, pet grooming salons, animal shelters, or even join an animal research center. The exact job you may qualify for will depend on your area of specialization, degree, and interest. Some animal science majors are self employed, opening up their grooming centers and shelters. The career opportunities are dynamic, challenging, and exciting.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, animal care workers made a median annual income of $19,970 in 2012 and veterinary assistants made a median annual income of $23,130 in 2012.



Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:What can you do with a bachelor in animal science?

A:With a bachelor's in animal science, you would be qualified for a vast number of jobs. You can find employment in academic teaching and research, in industrial research in the food and feed industries, laboratory research initiatives, government and international agencies, private corporations, industrial or institutional management positions that require a high level of scientific training. As part of government agencies, graduates can help draft out regulations that govern the agriculture industry or work directly in research. Besides these, traditional employment can be found with feed manufacturers, meat packers, consulting firms and animal breeding organizations.

Q:What topics are taught in an associates degree in animal science?

A:An associate degree in animal science teaches you about animal behavior, reproduction processes, animal management concepts and the business side of agriculture. Students are also exposed to topics related to management sciences and are even given the opportunity to practically interact with animals. The typical courses taught at this level include animal nutrition and anatomy, training and caring for animals, animal breeding strategies and animal microbiology.

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