Animal Shelter Management Degree Program Information

Animal shelter management degree programs are rare, but an associate's degree in animal management prepares students to care for, train and manage both wild and domestic animals. Learn more about this program, as well as careers and other degrees.

Essential Information

Animal management programs generally feature a practicum or internship, in which degree candidates work in an actual animal care facility, such as a zoo or shelter, for course credit. The curriculum also explores topics such as husbandry, animal restraint and administrative record keeping.

Applicants submit high school transcripts along with their applications. Standardized test scores, letters of recommendation and an admissions essay are also generally required. This degree program can be physically as well as emotionally demanding. The ideal candidate will be in good physical condition, have empathy to spare and be an excellent communicator.

Associate of Science in Animal Management

The coursework for these 2-year programs features a combination of classroom lectures along with hands-on laboratory instruction. Humanities and general education electives help round out the curriculum. Introductory business courses are often included for those interested in self-employment. Listed below are some sample core course topics.

  • Animal nutrition
  • Animal biology
  • Veterinary technology
  • Zoo evolution
  • History of domestic animals

Popular Career Options

This degree can provide an individual with the skills and knowledge needed for a host of rewarding careers working with and around animals. Below are several career options:

  • Veterinary assistant
  • Animal exhibit curator
  • Wildlife technician
  • Zookeeper

Career Outlook and Salary Information

Employment prospects for animal care and service workers should be positive in the coming years. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted an 11% increase in job opportunities for people working in this field for the 2014-2024 period, and a 9% increase for veterinary assistants. Expected increase in demand is due in part to a growing pet population; workers will be needed in shelters, veterinarian's offices, pet stores and other organizations. In 2015, the BLS found that animal care and service workers made an average salary of $24,260. Veterinary assistants earned an average salary of $25,940.

Continuing Education Information

One educational option for the ambitious animal lover is veterinary school. Veterinarians undergo an educational process similar to medical doctors. First, candidates earn a bachelor's degree in an animal-friendly field, followed by four years of vet school. Most potential vets follow that with a 1-4 year residency.

There are other animal educational programs that require fewer than 12 years of study. One is a bachelor's degree program in veterinary services management. This program is designed for people who want to enter management and administration of a zoo, shelter, research facility or other animal care facility.

Associate's degree programs in animal management train students in animal biology, nutrition and zoology through hands-on practical experience and traditional coursework. Graduates are eligible for careers in zoos, veterinary clinics and animal centers or may want to continue their education with a bachelor's or master's degree.

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