Students entering college with a love of animals and a desire to work with them as a career often believe that their goals should involve either becoming a veterinarian, a veterinary technician, or a farmer. What they don’t realize is that the field of animal science/animal agriculture is full of potential when it comes to a fulfilling career.
While it is true that many students have the dream of becoming a veterinarian, the reality is that very few get a chance to attend vet school and even fewer finish. For those interested in the veterinary field, whether through vet school or becoming a veterinary technician, there will be another article to follow. For now, let’s focus on students who want to have a career in animal agriculture without going back to the family farm.
Students who come from a farm background often have a passion for animal agriculture. There are many career opportunities involving dairy and meat animals for a student with a bachelor’s degree. Animal nutrition consultants, animal health inspectors, geneticists, and breed promoters are some great areas of animal agriculture that allow students to be involved in the field of animal agriculture without needing to live on the farm or struggle with income.
Animal nutrition consultants need to know about the nutrients in feedstuffs that are available in their area of the state/world, the nutrient requirements of their particular species, and how to combine nutrients from many feeds to balance an optimum ration for animals in many phases of their lives.
Animal health inspectors learn about all facets of food science from microbiology to proper product handling and processing. Their job is to go to places that process foods, transport foods, and otherwise package and sell food products and ensure both the safety to the consumer and fairness to the processor.
Geneticists work in many different areas to improve the productive ability of all of our species. People who are trained in the genetics industry can work as technicians for artificial insemination and embryo transfer. They can work in the laboratory to sort out the best DNA and which genes code for the best traits. There are also specialists who work to put together all of the data that is collected about the various matings and distribute the information to interested parties.
Breed promoters work with individual breed associations to help producers learn more about different breeds within a species or find out more about the best genetic lines within each breed. This can include working at shows and industry conventions to maintaining websites and giving presentations.
These are just a few possible careers in animal science and animal agriculture. More information can be found at websites such as Animal Science Career Information from Oklahoma State University and Animal Science Jobs. There are also a plethora of job opportunities that require advanced degrees. More information will follow with regard to those careers and how to attend graduate school.