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Pet Nutritionist: Job Description, Duties, Salary and Outlook

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a pet nutritionist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs and job duties to find out if this is the career for you.

If you're a person who loves pets and wants to ensure they're getting the proper nutrition, then a pet nutritionist career may be for you. Pet nutritionists work in various industries, where they garner experience and apply their knowledge of food sciences to animals. An undergraduate degree is essential to getting a job, as well as a concern for animal diet and health.

Essential Information

Pet nutritionists develop better food products for pets and educate pet owners about the nutritional needs of their pets. An educational background in science and an interest in animal health are key components for this career.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in food sciences or agricultural sciences
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 7% for animal scientists.
Median Annual Salary (2015)* $60,390 for animal scientists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pet Nutritionist Job Description

Pet nutritionists have a variety of career options, including working for pet food or feed companies, veterinarians, or colleges and universities. As employees of pet food companies, they might work in research and development to formulate new pet foods that meet special dietary needs or provide higher quality nutrition. Nutritionists for pet food companies also may travel from store to store to educate customers about their products.

In veterinary offices and hospitals, pet nutritionists may teach pet owners to properly feed their pets to maintain optimal health and assist in formulating diet plans. Nutritionists who choose not to work directly in the field may teach animal nutrition at colleges and universities.

Pet Nutritionist Duties

In research roles with colleges and universities or private companies, pet nutritionists may conduct laboratory tests on nutritional requirements for different types of animals and breeds. Their findings may be published in scientific journals or used to develop animal food products or dietary supplements. In a veterinary setting or pet store, pet nutritionists may meet with pet owners to discuss their pets' health and create individualized diet plans.

Pet Nutritionist Salary

Based on figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), animal scientists earned a median annual wage of $60,390 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). Animal production companies, the federal government, and research and development facilities were among the highest paying industries for animal scientists.

Pet Nutritionist Job Outlook

According to BLS data, job opportunities for animal scientists were expected to grow by 7% between 2014 and 2024, which was the same as the average national growth rate for all occupations. Colleges and universities were among the top employers for animal scientists as of May 2014.

If this career seems suitable for you, earning a degree in food science or a related field is first on the list. With education and a love for animals, you'll be set in finding employment at veterinary clinics, research facilities, or pet food stores. Job growth is moving at an average rate, but there is always a need for specialist jobs, like the pet nutritionist.

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