Animal breeders are required to have a high school diploma and to complete on-the-job training. Experience working with animals is an asset. With a doctoral degree individuals can pursue a career as an animal scientist.
Individuals with a variety of experience levels can find jobs in animal husbandry. Common positions in this sector include animal breeder, animal technician and animal behaviorist. Animal breeders typically only need a high school diploma and animal scientists typically possess a doctoral degree.
|Animal Breeder||Animal Scientist|
|Required Education||High school diploma or equivalent||Doctoral degree in animal or veterinary sciences|
|Other Requirements||On-the-job training||Aptitude for research and research application|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||-2%||7%|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$39,380||$60,390|
Find schools that offer these popular programs
Often working with farm livestock, such as cows, chickens, pigs, horses and sheep, animal breeders ensure that these animals reproduce in a healthy and controlled manner. Much of their interaction with these animals includes the use of artificial insemination equipment and practices. They may also perform research to improve animal breeding efficiency and standards. These professionals often work with farms, ranches or animal facilities that breed livestock. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job positions for animal breeders are expected to decrease by 2% between 2014 and 2024. The BLS also reports that the median yearly salary for animal breeders, as of May 2015, was $39,380.
Animal breeding, a rather broad field, has many career levels. Entry-level animal breeder positions may require a high school diploma and on-the-job training. Individuals who have completed a college degree, such as an associate's degree program in animal science, may be more desirable candidates for prospective employers. Students may take coursework in animal health, genetics, meat science, animal production and livestock management.
Animal breeders who perform research as animal scientists might need an advanced degree, like a Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree, in the animal sciences. Students in these programs will take coursework in animal, breeding, molecular biology, nutrition, statistics and physiology, as well as complete a research thesis.
Animal scientists who specialize in animal reproduction focus on the process and variables involved in the mating habits of certain animals. Scientists will document, record and study multiple aspects of reproductive biology and often specialize in a particular species. In addition to working with farm animal facilities, animal scientists may work with universities, zoos, aquariums and wildlife organizations. According to the BLS, animal science workers, such as animal behaviorists, earned a median salary of $60,390 as of May 2015. The BLS projects a 7% percent job growth for animal scientists from 2014-2024.
Animal scientists working in the research or behavioral fields of animal reproduction typically possess a graduate degree in animal sciences or a DVM. A Ph.D. program takes about five years to complete while a master's degree program will take approximately two years. These programs have similar coursework and research requirements to those of graduate programs pursued by animal breeders, but there will be more of an emphasis in applied animal behavior. Students may pursue such topics as zoology, biology or psychology to qualify as an animal scientist.
Animal breeders maintain a safe, clean environment for animals to reproduce in. Animal scientists may be involved in research related to reproductive habits or issues with certain animals. While it's possible to pursue a career as an animal breeder with a high school diploma and on-the-job training, animal scientists are required to have a graduate degree in their field.