Animal Care Colleges and Schools in the U.S.

The field of animal care commonly concerns the nutritional and other needs of domestic small animals. Certificates, associate degrees and bachelor's degrees are available in the field. Read on to learn about what to consider when selecting a school and discover the typical curriculum of certificate and degree programs in the field.

How to Select an Animal Care School

Students interested in studying animal care can find programs at community colleges and 4-year colleges and universities. Veterinary technology and animal science programs may also be of interest to these students.

Students should consider the following before choosing an animal care program:

  • Consider whether the school's facilities and the types and quantities of animals treated at the facility match your planned career path.
  • Some animal care programs offer concentrations that prepare students to work with small animals, in an animal control career, kennel management, as a veterinary technician, or in a pre-veterinary associate or bachelor's degree program.
  • A hands-on internship or other opportunities to practice techniques learned in the program may better prepare graduates to work in the field or make them more attractive to employers.
  • Students may prefer schools accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) because attending those schools will make students eligible to sit for the veterinary technologist credentialing exam and is a prerequisite to attending some veterinary schools.

Animal Care Program Overviews

Certificate in Animal Care

Certificate programs, which typically require one year of study, cover the basic care and handling of domestic animals. Some programs include an internship or practicum. Courses cover:

  • Animal nutrition
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • Medical terminology
  • Animal behavior

Associate in Applied Science in Animal Care

In an associate degree program, generally, lab training, clinical practicums and work experiences comprise much of the second year of study. Some programs allow students to specialize in caring for a specific type of animal. The curriculum may cover:

  • Small animal breeds
  • Animal grooming
  • Small animal management
  • Animal health fundamentals
  • Animal nutrition

Bachelor of Science Programs

Bachelor's degree programs related to animal care may be titled 'Veterinary and Animal Sciences', 'Animal Sciences' or 'Humane Leadership' programs. The last type of program focuses on leading animal care facilities or organizations. In addition to preparing students for a career as an animal care technician, these programs also can lead to a career in research or to attending veterinary school. Many programs include lab courses and internships. Classes in these programs include:

  • Animal welfare
  • Animal physiology
  • Animal nutrition
  • Chemistry
  • Genetics

10 Schools with Animal Care Programs

College/University Institution Type
North Shore Community College 2-year, Public
Alamance Community College 2-year, Public
Purdue University 4-year, Public
Eastern Iowa Community Colleges 2-year, Public
Yavapai College 2-year, Public
University of New Hampshire 4-year, Public
University of Massachusetts-Amherst 4-year, Public
University of Maryland 4-year, Public
Bronx Community College 2-year, Public
University of Nebraska-Lincoln 4-year, Public

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