Animal behavior courses provide active learning experiences in on-campus labs or in the field at zoos and/or protected habitats. Many programs have study-abroad opportunities that allow students to learn about animals in their natural habitats. A high school diploma or equivalent is required for admission into a bachelor's degree program. Students may be required to do a research project and present a final paper in order to graduate.
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Bachelor of Science in Animal Behavior
The Bachelor of Science in Animal Behavior program takes four years to explore the interconnectivity of evolution, social structure and biology in animals. Some schools have an added emphasis in neuroscience. The intersection of the physical sciences and psychology creates the need for an assortment of topics of study, such as math, physics, languages and cultures. Some examples of classes usually offered are listed below:
- Bio-and Neurochemistry
- Human and Animal Sociology
- Physiological Development
- Genetic Issues and Evolution
- Studying Ecosystems
- Research and Documentation Methods
Job opportunities for graduates of this bachelor's degree program depend on a candidate's specific interest within the field of animal behavior. If students studied mainly aquatic life, they may choose to become marine biologists; others who focused on evolution might choose to work at a natural history museum. Some possible jobs titles are as follows:
- Marine ecology researcher
- Animal trainer
- Wildlife rehabilitation assistant
- Natural history museum exhibit caretaker
Career Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for animal trainers and non-farm animal caretakers were expected to grow 11% from 2014-2024. The BLS also reports that animal trainers earned a median salary of $26,610 as of May 2015, while non-farm animal caretakers made $21,010.
Continuing Education Information
A few schools offer a master's degree in animal behavior so students can continue on in the field, but many students choose to branch off into other studies in natural science, zoology, psychology and environmental science. Some may even choose to go to medical or law school, with the goal of becoming veterinarians, animal rights advocates or environmental lawyers.
Bachelor of Science in Animal Behavior degree programs prepare students to work in various related fields, including animal training, ecology research, zoo-keeping and wildlife rehabilitation. Courses cover genetics and development, among other topics.