Career Opportunities

Overview

The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture reported in "Employment Opportunities for College Graduates in Food, Agriculture, Renewable Natural Resources, and the Environment  United States, 2015-2020" that the agricultural, food, environment and renewable natural resources sectors of the U.S. economy will generate an estimated 57,900 annual openings for individuals with baccalaureate or higher degrees in food, renewable energy, and environmental specialties between 2015 and 2020. The livestock industry and related fields are a major component of the United States economy and career opportunities are excellent for both men and women trained in animal science. Animal agriculture is a huge component in the American economy. It not only involves livestock production, but also encompasses marketing, public affairs, transportation, processing, research, companion animal management and a myriad of allied specialties. Animal science is a challenging field with many employment opportunities.

Animal Production & Management

Livestock producers are concerned with production of cattle, sheep, goats, horses, swine and poultry. These individuals and the people they employ are the cornerstone of the animal industry. They must be superb business people and be knowledgeable in meats, nutrition, genetics, behavior and physiology. In addition, they must know how to manage livestock and have marketing expertise. Salaries are expected to range from $25,000 - $65,000, and additional benefits including health and life insurance, retirement investments, housing, utilities, vehicle, and meat or milk allowance.

Representative careers in animal production systems management:

  • Animal Shelter Manager
  • Animal Waste Management
  • Breeding/Farrowing Manager
  • Broiler Manager
  • Broodmare Assistant Manager
  • Broodmare Manager
  • Cattle Feedlot Processor
  • Companion Animal Dept. Manager
  • Dairy Plant Manager
  • Dairy Young Stock Manager
  • Diagnostic Laboratory Manager
  • Dog Bakery Manager
  • Doggy Day Care Manager
  • Elephant Program Manager
  • Equine Boarding Stable Manager
  • Farm General Manager
  • Herdsperson/Artificial Insemination/Embryo Transfer
  • Individual Proprietor
  • Laboratory Animal Management
  • Livestock Ranch Manager
  • Mammal Conservation Manager
  • Manage Livestock Sales/Distribution/Marketing Systems
  • Manage Ranches/Farms/Feedlots
  • Manage Research Farms and Facilities
  • Manage Training/Boarding Facilities
  • Managers of Stud Farms/Livestock/Poultry Operations
  • Parlor Manager
  • Pet Store Assistant Manager
  • Poultry Hatchery Manager
  • Ranch Foreman
  • Ranch Manager
  • Safety Manager
  • Stallion Assistant Manager
  • Stallion Manager
  • Supply Chain Manager
  • Swine Section Manager
  • Thoroughbred Barn Foreman
  • Veterinary Practice Manager
  • Wean-Market Operations Director
  • Yearling Assistant Manager
  • Yearling Manager
  • Zoo Animal Care Manager
  • Zoo Assistant Manager

Food Processing

The food processing industry is a major employer of animal science graduates. This segment of the industry not only is concerned with marketing meat, milk and eggs in the usual sense. It is also involved in fabrication of new products, production of specialty food items and development of products that will appeal to a health-conscious public. This progressive component of animal agriculture hires animal science graduates as livestock buyers, quality control specialists, plant managers and sales personnel. Salaries are expected to range from $35,000 - $105,000, and additional benefits including health and life insurance, and retirement investments.

Representative careers in food processing:

  • Analytical Microbiology Testing
  • Consumer Safety Inspector
  • Corporate Chef
  • Culinary Support Specialist
  • Distribution/Warehouse Manager
  • Food Compliance Officer
  • Food Pathogen Detector
  • Instrumentation Specialist
  • Meat Process Operation Manager
  • Meats District Sales Manager
  • Meats Project Specialist
  • Meats Team Leader
  • Operations Manager
  • Packaging Supervisor
  • Plant Maintenance Supervisor
  • Plant Quality Manager
  • Plant Safety Supervisor
  • Processing Plant Supervisor
  • Product Development Manager
  • Product Development Specialist
  • Product Terminal Manager
  • Production Supervisor
  • Quality Assurance Assistant Director
  • Quality Assurance Chemist
  • Quality Assurance Director
  • Quality Assurance Inspector
  • Quality Assurance Supervisor
  • Raw Material Coordinator
  • Research & Design Chemist
  • Safety/Processing Manager
  • Sensory Testing Specialist
  • Tech. Meat Application Specialist
  • Technical Service Manager
  • Value-Added Specialist

Animal Feed / Environmental / Health Industries

Pharmaceutical organizations, livestock product companies and feed companies are constantly seeking bright, energetic young people to enter sales/marketing forces and consulting/technical services dealing with both commercial livestock production and companion animals. Animal science students may also go into animal or human medicine and be involved in health care. Salaries are expected to range from $25,000 - $150,000, and additional benefits may include health and life insurance, retirement investments, vehicle and communication. Self-employment is possible.

Representative careers in animal feed/health/environment industries:

  • Consultants - Nutritionists, Geneticists, Biotechnologist, Housing, Environment, Management
  • Quality Control/Processing/Packing of Foods
  • Milk/Feed/Food Testing Services
  • Dairy, Meat and Seafood Technical Assistants
  • Livestock Equipment Representative
  • Assistant Product Marketing Manager
  • Beef Improvement Sales Representative
  • Beef Nutrition Sales Representative
  • Breed Association Marketing & Sales Representative
  • Cattle Buyer
  • Cattle Marketing Specialist
  • Commodity Merchant
  • Director of Marketing
  • Dairy Technical Sales Manager
  • Equine Feed Sales Representative
  • Equine Insurance Agent
  • Equine Products Sales Representative
  • Large Animal Pharm. Sales Representative
  • Meats Marketing Manager
  • Pet Care Brand Manager
  • Pet Insurance Agent
  • Poultry Equipment Sales Manager
  • Pharm. Regional Sales Representative
  • Sales Account Representative
  • Show Supply Sales Associate
  • Swine Equipment Sales Representative
  • Pet Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
  • Zoo Development Director
  • Veterinary Zoologist
  • Clinical Pharmacologist
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Dentist
  • Laboratory Animal Medicine
  • Medical Dietetics
  • Medical Doctor
  • Optometrist
  • Pharmacist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Physicians Associate
  • Respiratory Therapy
  • Veterinary Anesthesiologist
  • Veterinary Behaviorist
  • Veterinary Dermatologist
  • Veterinary Emergency Care
  • Veterinary Epidemiologist
  • Veterinary Geneticist
  • Veterinary Internal Medicine
  • Veterinary Medical Officer
  • Veterinary Microbiologist
  • Veterinary Nutritionist
  • Veterinary Ophthalmologist
  • Veterinary Pathologist
  • Veterinary Practitioner
  • Veterinary Public Heat Inspector
  • Veterinary Radiologist
  • Veterinary Technologist
  • Veterinary Toxicologist

Communications and Service Organizations

Breed associations, livestock commodity groups, artificial insemination services and government agencies employ animal science students as representatives of their organizations. Likewise, livestock publications, newspapers, television stations, advertising agencies and public relations firms need talented people who can communicated about agriculture. Communication skills are a necessity in all fields, and animal science students can turn these skills into satisfying careers. Other service organizations such as banks, insurance companies, real estate agencies and power companies employ agricultural representatives in positions that require a background in animal agriculture. Salaries are expected to range from $25,000 – $80,000, and additional benefits including health and life insurance, and retirement investments.

Representative careers in communication and service organizations:

  • Assoc. Public Relations Manager
  • Assoc. Outreach Programs Director
  • Breed Assoc. Advertising Manager
  • Breed Assoc. Advertising Sales
  • Breed Assoc. Accounts Manager
  • Breed Assoc. Events Director
  • Breed Assoc. Executive Director
  • Breed Assoc. Industry Relations
  • Breed Assoc. Foundation Director
  • Breed Assoc. Operations Director
  • Breed Assoc. Web Editor
  • Breed Magazine Assistant Editor
  • Breed Magazine Consultant
  • Breed Magazine Designer
  • Breed Magazine Editor
  • Breed Magazine Production Manager
  • Breed Magazine Writer
  • Director, Membership Services
  • Equine Photographer
  • Livestock Auctioneer
  • Livestock Photographer
  • Livestock Web Designer
  • Pet Photographer
  • Poultry Association Media Manager
  • Zoo Public Relations Manager
  • Science Writer/Illustrator
  • Livestock Management Services
  • Humane Animal Care Services
  • Livestock Investment Firms
  • Product Application - Sales and Services
  • Government Regulatory Agencies
  • Agriculture Journalist

Research

Research designed to improve efficiency and quality of domestic animals and to solve livestock-related problems is conducted by a number of agencies including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), universities and private companies. Therefore, individuals with bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees in animal science have an opportunity for rewarding careers in research. With recent advances in computer science and biotechnology, persons trained in these areas will become even more competitive. Salaries are expected to range from $35,000 - $145,000, and additional benefits including health and life insurance, and retirement investments.

Representative careers in research:

  • Administrative/Industry/Leadership Positions
  • Animal Care Technician
  • Animal Modeling Lab Head
  • Animal Research Associate
  • Animal Research Attendant
  • Animal Research Operations Manager
  • Animal Research Technician
  • Animal Surgery Technician
  • Biotechnology or Pharmaceutical industry
  • Cell Culture Specialist
  • College/University Teaching and Research
  • Commercial Research/Product Development
  • Embryologist or in vitro fertilization (IVF) specialist
  • Equine Orthopedic Researcher
  • Food Quality Control/Product Development Scientist
  • Genetic Manipulation Specialist
  • Governmental Research (USDA and NIH)
  • Lab Animal Technician
  • Microbiologist
  • Molecular Biotechnologist
  • Nutritional R&D Associate
  • Poultry Center Research Asst.
  • Practicing Veterinarian/Research Veterinarian
  • Private Development of Animal Products/Services
  • Reproductive Biologist
  • Research Geneticist
  • Research Scientist, Research Associate, Senior Scientist
  • Risk Assessment Scientist
  • USDA Research Centers Faculty

Education and Public Service

A student majoring in animal science may qualify to teach vocational agriculture in high school under a program of study cooperatively developed by the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education. Animal science majors may also find employment with Extension working as an educator or specialist. People with advanced degrees in animal science are needed to teach in colleges and universities. All of these teaching fields will require animal science graduates to meet the needs of the future. Salaries are expected to range from $28,000 - $120,000, and additional benefits including health and life insurance, and retirement investments.

Representative careers in education and public service:

  • 4-H Youth Development Educator or Specialist
  • Ag Lawyer
  • Animal Science Professor
  • Beef Extension Educator or Specialist
  • Breed Assoc. Jr. Activities Coordinator
  • Breed Assoc. Jr. Activities Director
  • Companion Animal Extension Educator or Specialist
  • Cow-Calf Extension Specialist
  • Dairy Cattle Extension Educator or Specialist
  • Equine Extension Educator or Specialist
  • Equine Youth Camp Instructor
  • Politician
  • Poultry Extension Educator or Specialist
  • Sheep Extension Educator or Specialist
  • Swine Extension Educator or Specialist
  • Vocational Agricultural/Post-Secondary Educators
  • Zoo Bilingual Education Director
  • Zoo Camp Programs Supervisor
  • Zoo Education Curator
  • Zoo Education Director
  • Zoo Education Specialist
  • Zoo Presenter-Performer

Additional Resources

The American Society of Animal Science (ASAS) provides some specific information about careers in animal science. The society’s website provides a summary career opportunities and job titles as well as job search resources.

 

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