Those interested in animal and plant sciences can start by earning a bachelor's degree in a related field. While an undergraduate degree is usually all that is needed to enter into this career field, graduate studies can lead to more advanced, focused careers depending on their interests.
The animal and plant sciences differ greatly, but they do share some commonalities. While plant sciences focus on topics such as how to make plants grow and protect them from insects, animal sciences focus on animals such as livestock, as well as managing their bodies and systems. Entering into most careers related to animal and plant sciences usually requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree. Pursuing advanced education can lead to a myriad of career options. As the education level increases, the courses tend to become more focused and specialized within the respective science as well. Therefore, there are different routes that one can take to enter the bevy of career opportunities that exist in these fields.
|Career||Animal Scientist||Soil or Plant Scientist|
|Education Requirements||Bachelor's degree||Bachelor's degree|
|Job Growth* (2018-2028)||7%||8%|
|Median Salary* (2018)||$58,380||$63,950|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
A variety of opportunities exist for those interested in careers related to animal and plant sciences. Those who hold degrees in either subject can work as farm managers who are responsible for an entire farm's production, including harvesting both livestock and crops. Keep reading for more information on careers in animal and soil science.
Animal scientists generally study farm animals to learn about food production. They conduct research in order to determine the best farming practices. Animal scientists also find the most efficient means of preparing milk, meat, poultry, and eggs for consumption or sale. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2018 animal scientists earned a median annual income of $58,380. The BLS predicts that the number of animal scientists will increase by 7% between 2018 and 2028, and the majority of positions available will be in private industry.
Soil scientists generally study the relationship between soil composition and plant life. These scientists may work with farmers to increase crop production, and they may make land usage suggestions. Soil scientists may also suggest soil treatments to eradicate weeds and deter pests. The BLS reports that soil and plant scientists earned a median annual wage of $63,950 in 2018. The BLS also predicted a 8% growth in employment for soil and plant scientists between 2018 and 2028.
Animal scientists usually focus their work on farming practices of domesticated animals used for food and for animal products. Plant and soil scientists use their knowledge to help make crop harvests more successful, giving advice on how to increase crop production and what kind of fertilizers and pesticides to use. Both of these career choices begin with a bachelor's degree in animal or plant sciences.