Bachelor's programs in animal science feature a highly scientific curriculum that prepares students for admission to a 4-year veterinary school. Animal science majors study the behavior, physiology and health of animals, including companion animals, zoo animals and livestock such as cattle, pigs and chickens. They learn about disease prevention and treatment, and how to improve the quality of life for animals.
Students also receive the strong science and math background they'll need to enter veterinary school. Science courses can include biology, chemistry, physiology, microbiology and biochemistry, and time spent doing lab work is significant. Students will also find that internships are often required for gaining hands-on experience working with animals.
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Bachelor's Degree in Animal Science
Coursework in a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science program will vary from school to school. A GED or high school diploma is required for admission. Some typical courses in this degree program include:
- Animal genetics
- Animal disease
- Molecular biology
- Organic chemistry
Graduates of this degree program enjoy careers in a variety of settings, though several job options require additional education beyond the bachelor's degree. Popular career choices for graduates include:
- Food technologist
- Laboratory animal technician
- Animal nutrition specialist
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Graduates of this bachelor's degree program can go on to veterinary school and pursue a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree. Job openings for veterinarians were expected to increase by 9% from 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). As of May 2015, veterinarians earned a median salary of $88,490, per the BLS.
Graduates can receive professional certification through the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS) or the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS). The ARPAS certifies animal scientists in four areas, including Professional Animal Scientist, Registered Animal Specialist and Professional Animal Product Specialist. Board Certification requires a master's degree in a related field. The AALAS offers Assistant Laboratory Technician (ALAT), Laboratory Animal Technician (LAT), Laboratory Animal Technologist (LATG) and Certified Manager Animal Resources (CMAR) certification.
Whilst a pre-veterinary major isn't commonly available to students, prospective vets can study towards a bachelor's degree in animal science. These kinds of programs may include many of the prerequisites necessary for admission to veterinary school. Aside from applying directly to a veterinary program directly after graduation, students may consider careers in food technology, animal nutrition and similar fields.