Animal science students learn about the fundamental principles behind livestock husbandry and mass animal production, including processing methods and animal breeding techniques. They also learn to provide medical care and humane treatment to animals meant for production facilities and become familiar with federal rules and regulations associated with animal science.
A bachelor's degree program in animal science is typically a 4-year program. Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED.
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Bachelor of Science in Animal Science
The curriculum in an animal science bachelor's degree program covers several areas of the food production industry, including animal studies, management principles and basic biology. A bachelor's degree program in animal science also provides students with a basic understanding of business principles. They learn to oversee crews of employees, run ranches and farms, manage packing houses, and market and sell products. Additionally, animal science students explore technologies used in the food production industry, especially those designed to protect sustainable grazing systems and wildlife areas. Examples of core courses include the following:
- Animal nutrition
- Research methods and statistics
- Elements of livestock production
- Animal genetics
- Animal physiology and diseases
- Equine production
- Agribusiness principles
- Beef cattle management
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
There are many entry-level careers in the food production industry that might be available to graduates of undergraduate animal science degree programs. Some of these jobs include:
- Meat scientist
- Meat sales manager
- Livestock operations manager
- Ranch manager
- Meat marketing consultant
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that farmers, ranchers and other agricultural managers were expected to see employment opportunities decrease by 2% between 2014 and 2024. As of 2015, these professionals earned an average of $69,880 per year, per the BLS.
Continuing Education Options
Students who wish to continue their education in animal science might elect to enroll in a Master of Science in Animal Science program, which focuses on research and emerging technologies in the animal science and food production industries. Many graduate students choose to focus on a particular topic in the field, such as animal welfare, toxicology, or microbiology. Individuals interested in becoming professors of agribusiness or meat science also might consider enrolling in a Ph.D. program in animal science.
A bachelor's degree in animal science gives students the tools they will need to work in the agriculture or food production industry. Students will be trained to care for and manage animals, as well as be prepared to continue their education at the graduate level if they so choose.