How to Become a Domestic Animal Endocrinologist

Learn how to become a domestic animal endocrinologist. Research the job description and the education and licensing requirements, and find out how to start a career in animal endocrinology. View article »

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Domestic Animal Endocrinologists

Endocrinologists specialize in treating and studying endocrine systems, which are networks of glands that secrete hormones that regulate internal organ functions and reactions to external stimulation. Domestic animal endocrinologists are either research-oriented scientists with advanced degrees in animal endocrinology, or veterinarians. Domestic animal endocrinologists who are veterinarians may provide healthcare to animals in medical offices or at facilities, such as farms. Those who specialize in research may need to write successful grants to fund their projects.

Domestic animal endocrinologists can be at risk of injuries or illnesses from the animals they care for. Wearing protective gear may be required, since domestic animal endocrinologists may be working with hazardous materials. People who work in this occupation generally spend their days in an office or lab. In some cases, overtime, holiday, or weekend work may be required.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Master's or doctoral degree required for research careers; Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.) needed for veterinarians
Degree Field Endocrinology, animal sciences, animal bioscience, or veterinary medicine
Training Training in the form of clinical rotations typically required
Licensure and Certification All states require licensing for veterinarians; optional certification available
Key Skills Compassion and manual dexterity, in addition to interpersonal, decision-making, problem-solving, analytical, and managerial skills
Salary $71,830 (2015 average annual salary for all animal scientists); $99,000 (2015 average annual salary for all veterinarians)

Sources: University Programs, Animal Hospital Clinics and Departments, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Steps for Animal Endocrinologists

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree

Bachelor's degrees in biological science or animal science are options for students planning to proceed to graduate studies in animal endocrinology. Bachelor's degree programs in animal science may offer concentrations in areas like research, companion animals, or horse science. Students may take courses, including endocrinology, domestic animal physiology, animal behavior, and domestic animal reproduction.

Aspiring veterinarians typically earn a bachelor's degree in fields like biological sciences, animal health, and animal science before starting veterinary school. Students must complete the courses required for admission to veterinary school, which generally include animal nutrition, biology, chemistry, physics and statistics.

You will want to get practical experience working with animals. Veterinary medicine schools prefer applicants who have completed volunteer work or internships at facilities like veterinary clinics and animal shelters. Working with various types of animal is desirable, since getting into a D.V.M. program can be highly competitive.

Step 2: Take the Graduate Record Examinations

Future domestic animal endocrinologists typically complete the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) before attending graduate school. Satisfactory GRE scores are among the factors that schools consider when deciding which students to admit. The GRE, which is administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS), includes sections on analytical writing as well as quantitative and verbal reasoning. Students typically take the GRE via computer, but paper-based tests are offered in some locations. Students can register for the GRE on the ETS website.

Step 3: Obtain an Advanced Degree

Individuals interested in domestic animal endocrinology for research-oriented careers should consider Master of Science (M.S.) or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in animal endocrinology. Programs typically combine research, courses, and seminars. Students usually explore topics in physiology, endocrinology, molecular biology, and biochemistry. Advanced courses may include reproductive physiology and neuroendocrinology. Students typically complete a research thesis in master's degree programs and a dissertation in doctoral programs.

Individuals planning on specializing in domestic animal endocrinology as veterinarians need to earn a D.V.M. degree. Veterinary medicine programs typically take four years to complete. Students spend the first three years learning in classrooms and labs as well as gaining clinical experience. The fourth year of vet school involves students serving clinical rotations at animal hospitals.

Step 4: Obtain a Veterinary License

Veterinarians must hold a license to practice in the United States. Although the licensure requirements vary among individual states, all jurisdictions mandate that candidates graduate from an accredited veterinary school and pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam. In addition to this national test, most states require candidates to pass exams designed to test knowledge of state rules and laws pertaining to veterinary medicine.

Step 5: Enter the Workforce

Graduates from advanced programs in animal endocrinology with a research focus may get hired by corporations, government agencies or academic institutions. Veterinarians typically work at clinics, although some travel to work on farms or ranches. Other veterinarians work in research labs.

You may want to complete advanced veterinary training. Many newly licensed vets choose to acquire additional training and experience through internships and residency programs. Furthermore, domestic animal endocrinologists who want to become eligible for optional certification from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) are required to complete a 1-year internship in internal medicine and surgery.

Step 6: Consider Board Certification to Help Your Career Advance

Licensed veterinarians can seek voluntary certification in large animal internal medicine or small animal internal medicine from the ACVIM. During the required residency, professionals participate in general clinical or surgical experiences. In addition to meeting education and training requirements, applicants must pass general and specialty tests to become board certified. Candidates who pass these tests are awarded the Board Certified Diplomate credential, which is regarded as an elite distinction in the field.

Domestic animal endocrinologists are research-oriented scientists or veterinarians who study and treat the gland networks that regulate internal organs and react to external stimulations. They have advanced college degrees, compassion, and high-level problem-solving skills, and they earn an average annual salary ranging from $71,830 to $99,000.

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