Be an Animal Study Coordinator: Education and Career Roadmap

Mar 12, 2020

Animal study coordinators are responsible for the institutional side of animal research. From ordering research animals to preparing final reports, they act as liaisons for entire teams of researchers. As such, they must be familiar with both animal care and research procedures.

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Animal Study Coordinator

So, you think you might like to become an animal study coordinator. Animal study coordinators act as liaisons for research teams. Job duties include ordering, transporting, and caring for animals as well as assisting with animal testing. Coordinators also ensure that scientists and lab facilities comply with the requirements of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Each research institution has its own IACUC, which is responsible for the proper treatment of animals used in research labs, from mice to cows.

Career Requirements

So what are the career requirements?

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Field Biology or a related natural science field
Key Skills Animal handling, research techniques, communication skills, data management
Salary 2018 $58,380 (Median salary for animal scientists)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Animal study coordinator candidates may need a bachelor's degree in biology or a related natural science field. These 4-year degree programs introduce the theoretical and procedural concepts that are relevant to the role of an animal study coordinator. Coursework in biology, zoology, and wildlife biology will be helpful.

Step 2: Practice Animal Handling

Applicants for these positions need experience working directly with animals. Prior to pursuing employment, interested individuals may want to seek work or internship experience in a lab environment that utilizes live animals. Working as an animal handling technician, for instance, might provide them with an opportunity to enhance their skills and familiarize themselves with research procedures. Another route for gaining these skills might be to pursue training in veterinary technology.

Step 3: Policies and Procedures

Coordinators must be familiar with IACUC procedures, research techniques and reporting requirements. They must handle animals in accordance with these procedures while properly documenting and reporting each step. Animal study professionals should pursue on-the-job training or seek formal lessons through a national organization.

Step 4: Seek Further Education

As a liaison for the research team, communication skills are important. Similarly, writing skills may be necessary because coordinators take part in reporting various aspects of research. Familiarity with data management systems may also be beneficial. For animal study coordinators with a bachelor's degree, these research skills might be developed in a graduate program in one of the natural sciences.

Earning a bachelor's degree, learning to work with animals, learning animal care policies and procedures, and seeking additional education are great steps to follow to make the most of a career as an animal study coordinator.

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