There are several opportunities in the job market for graduates of a master's program in animal behavior. Check out the duties and salary for each job.
Jobs and Salaries Attainable with a Master's Degree in Animal Behavior
|Job Title||Median Salary (2018)*||Job Growth (2016 - 2026)*|
|Teacher||$60,320 (high school teachers)||8% (high school teachers)|
|Research Assistant||$44,987 (assistant research scientist; 2019)**||10% (biological technicians)|
|Science Writer||$62,170 (writers and authors)||8% (writers and authors)|
Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **Payscale.com
Duties and Training for Careers in Animal Behavior
A teacher educates students in college, secondary school, or primary school. Teachers educate an entire class of students, a small group of students, or they could teach privately as a tutor. Animal behavior is often taught in areas such as biology, zoology, or psychology. To gain expertise in these fields, master-level courses are needed, such as topics in animal behavior, behavioral ecology, and neuroethology.
Research assistants are employed in college departments, government laboratories, and private companies. They often conduct research that is related to animal behavior, such as studying the effects of altering habits on foraging patterns. Another area of research involves studying the effects of new drugs on behavior and studying the relationship between behavior and disease. One type of course in the master's program that helps to prepare researchers for this job is training in graduate research.
An animal scientist experiments on domesticated farm animals, usually to improve milk production and wool production. They give advice to farmers regarding optimal housing conditions and proper feeding/diet plans. The goal is to reduce disease among the animal population and improve animal genetics via effective breeding programs. One course in the master's program that could prepare scientists for this job is advanced topics in animal behavior.
A science writer informs the public about animal behavior. This can be done with articles, books, and documentaries. Also, the movie industry hires science writers who specialized in animal behavior, usually to write fictional stories that are based on factual information. Science writers can train for the future through their thesis guidance courses.
An animal trainer applies the knowledge of animal behavior to train animals for different industries. They can train animals to be pets, livestock, zoo exhibits, sport breeds, or laboratory research models. Many organizations, such as wildlife management agencies and pet stores, hire animal trainers to properly train animals for various functions. Students interested in being trainers might take a comparative cognition course in a master's program in animal behavior.
Several organizations hire curators with knowledge of animal behavior, including zoos, museums, and aquariums. Curators acquire animals for collections and display them in safe, humane enclosures. Also, curators are responsible for maintaining the collections. One course in the master's program that might help to prepare curators for the job is ornithology.
To summarize, there are at least six careers available to students who complete a master's degree in animal behavior. The workplace includes schools, laboratories, and zoos. The demand for these jobs is expected to rise in the next decade, and the median salaries they offer vary widely.