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Animal Science Careers

Career Description

Animal Scientists conduct research in the genetics, nutrition, reproduction, growth, and development of domestic farm animals.

Common Work Tasks

  • Work to develop better, more efficient ways of producing and processing meat, poultry, eggs, and milk
  • Study the genetics, nutrition, reproduction, and growth of domestic farm animals
  • Inspect and grade livestock food products,  purchase livestock, or work in technical sales or marketing
  • Breed animals for the purpose of investigating nutrition
  • Advise agricultural producers on how to upgrade animal housing facilities properly, lower mortality rates, handle waste matter,  or increase production of animal products, such as milk or eggs
  • Develop improved practices in feeding, housing,  sanitation, or parasite and disease control of animals
  • Research and control animal selection and breeding practices to increase production efficiency and improve animal quality
  • Determine genetic composition of animal populations and heritability of traits, utilizing principles of genetics

Other Job Titles

Animal Scientists are also known by other titles, including:

  • Agricultural and Food Science Technicians
  • Biological Technicians
  • Food Scientists
  • Life Scientists

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
Training requirements for animal scientists depend on the type of work they perform. A bachelor’s degree in agricultural science is sufficient for some jobs in product development or assisting in applied research, but a master’s or doctoral degree is generally required for basic research or for jobs directing applied research. A Ph.D. in agricultural science usually is needed for college teaching and for advancement to senior research positions.  Degrees in related sciences such as biology, chemistry, or physics or in related engineering specialties also may qualify people for many animal science jobs.

Animal scientists should be able to work independently or as part of a team and be able to communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing. Most of these scientists also need an understanding of basic business principles, the ability to apply statistical techniques, and the ability to use computers to analyze data and to control biological and chemical processing.


The median annual salary of an Animal Scientist is $48,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $86,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $32,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of animal scientists are:

  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools - $49,970
  • Scientific Research and Development Services - $64,950
  • Support Activities for Animal Production - $52,690
  • Federal Executive Branch - $95,050
  • Animal Slaughtering and Processing - $48,780

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  10%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 500
  • Employment 2006 : 5,400
  • Employment 2016:  5,900
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