Animal Care Colleges and Schools in the U.S.

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

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.

10 Schools with Animal Care Programs

The following schools have 2-year or 4-year programs dealing with animal care in a wide range of fields.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*
North Shore Community College Danvers, MA 2-year, Public Associate $4,536 (In-state) $10,104 (Out-of-state)
Alamance Community College Graham, NC 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $2,190 (In-state) $7,950 (Out-of-state)
Purdue University West Lafayette, IN 4-year, Public Associate $10,002 (In-state) $28,804 (Out-of-state)
Eastern Iowa Community Colleges Davenport, IA 2-year, Public Associate $4,480 (In-state) $6,624 (Out-of-state)
Yavapai College Prescott, AZ 2-year, Public Certificate $2,064 (In-state) $8,688 (Out-of-state)
University of New Hampshire Durham, NH 4-year, Public Associate $16,986 (In-state) $30,256 (Out-of-state)
University of Massachusetts-Amherst Amherst, MA 4-year, Public Bachelor's $14,171 (In-state) $30,504 (Out-of-state)
University of Maryland College Park, MD 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $9,996 (In-state) $31,144 (Out-of-state)
Bronx Community College Bronx, NY 2-year, Public Certificate $5,206 (In-state) $8,086 (Out-of-state)
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Lincoln, NE 4-year, Public Bachelor's $8,367 (In-state) $22,534 (Out-of-state)

*Source: National Center for Education Statistics

College Selection Criteria

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.
  • Look for a hands-on internship or other opportunities to practice techniques in the program, which 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.

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.

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.

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.

Animal care degree programs are available at the certificate, associate and bachelor's degree levels at 2-year and 4-year institutions. Students may want to consider their desired career path to select the program and school that's right for them.

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