Schools with Animal Husbandry Programs: How to Choose

Animal husbandry is the practice of caring for and breeding agricultural livestock, such as cattle, swine or horses. Certificate, associate and bachelor's degree programs exist in animal science and management, preparing graduates for entry into the field or advanced agricultural or veterinary studies.

How to Select an Animal Husbandry School

Students interested in studying animal husbandry can find programs at community colleges and 4-year colleges and universities.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • School location
  • Practical training
  • Focus areas

School Location

Several colleges, universities and agricultural institutes offer animal husbandry programs, more frequently referred to as animal science. Most programs provide hands-on experience in farm, crop and animal maintenance, necessitating country and rural settings where students have access to rangeland and livestock. Applicants may consider school location an important factor in school selection, since urban schools may limit the extent of practical, experiential education.

Practical Training

Regardless of location, those interested in a career in animal husbandry may wish to ensure that a school includes sufficient practical training specific to their chosen career goal. Hands-on courses in livestock grading and evaluation, animal management or artificial reproduction offer beneficial skills for breeding animals. In addition, academic courses in animal nutrition and physiology also provide useful knowledge for the care of livestock.

Focus Areas

Many schools offer animal science programs with a specialized focus, such as a certificate program in cattle, dairy or swine management. Those looking for a more general introduction to the industry of animal production may want to select a program in agricultural science with a concentration in animal or livestock management.

Animal Husbandry Program Overviews

Certificate in Animal Management

Commonly designed for those looking for immediate job placement on farms, vocational certificate programs can take 6-18 months of full- or part-time study to complete. Some programs offer cooperative work experience opportunities. Curricula in these programs is typically focused on hands-on skills instruction in:

  • Animal health
  • Animal nutrition
  • Animal science

Associate's Degree in Animal Science

Associate degree programs involve two years of skills courses, fieldwork and academic instruction in industry-specific areas. Some associate degree programs may also offer sponsored internships. In addition to the production and care of livestock, curricula may include:

  • Animal science
  • Introduction to agriculture
  • Livestock diseases

Bachelor of Science in Animal Science

Baccalaureate degree programs in animal science may focus on all areas of the livestock production industry, including business models and marketing. Some animal science programs take a more academic approach, requiring additional advanced courses in the natural sciences and preparing the student for graduate veterinary study. Several schools offer extracurricular clubs, intern or study abroad opportunities, teaching assistantships or research projects. Bachelor's degree students can expect to take courses such as:

  • Livestock evaluation
  • Animal nutrition
  • Animal management

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