Interestng Jobs in Animal Science?
June 16, 2008 6:02 PM   Subscribe

What sort of jobs are there that involve working with animals, aside from the non-obvious (zoo, vet, dog walker).

My friend has a degree in Animal Science, and is wondering what sort o jobs are available to her. What sort of career paths wouldn't a recent grad be thinking of? Thanks in advance!!
posted by potch to Work & Money (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Two that come to mind:

An agent for animal actors

Pet psychologist
posted by amyms at 6:07 PM on June 16, 2008

posted by box at 6:12 PM on June 16, 2008

work at a ranch or farm if that isn't obvious i don't know. I would tell them to contact someone in the department they graduated from and/or their career center, if they are any good they should be able to tell about what things previous grads have done.
posted by humanawho at 6:16 PM on June 16, 2008

Don't most Animal Science bachelor degrees have a lot more to do with the management of livestock for food vs. say, training Flipper for Marineworld?

If so, agriculture is a massive industry. The American Society of Animal Science has these career suggestions.
posted by jamaro at 6:18 PM on June 16, 2008

Depends on her background. If it's mostly commercial ag, as the average Ani Sci grad, then she could go into that field right now. Feed companies, fencing companies, trailer companies etc all need everything from R&D to sales. If she has a strong chemistry or engineering background she could go into water quality, manure management, water distribution or env engineering right away but most people are going to get a MS to pursue those kinds of things.

If she wants to avoid commercial conventional ag then being a vet tech, barn manager at a horse or other hobby livestock barn, working on an organic operation, rangeland management (need an MS probably), soil conservation, NRCS, USDA inspector are all options.

Ani Sci is a pretty darn huge field. She should be able to find something she enjoys but may have to get additional training.
posted by fshgrl at 6:26 PM on June 16, 2008

There is also policy/ regulation which badly needs some sanity. If your friend is sane you should try to talk her into it.
posted by fshgrl at 6:26 PM on June 16, 2008

service animal trainer/ program administrator.
posted by buka at 6:26 PM on June 16, 2008

posted by loiseau at 6:57 PM on June 16, 2008

She could work at an animal facility at a biomedical research center (think any university with a medical school) or a biotech or pharma company.
posted by emd3737 at 7:06 PM on June 16, 2008

Pet sitting

Laboratory research (depends on what you have to do in the lab/what this person is willin g to do when working with animals)

Work in an animal care and use committee or animal facility at a university/research center
(involves making sure labs take care of animals according to protocol, etc.)

Working at a kennel

Working as a vet assistant

Work at the Humane Society, ASPCA, etc

Also, think of your friend's other skills. For instance, combine a talent for photography, for example, and do freelance pet photography.
posted by NikitaNikita at 8:23 PM on June 16, 2008

Yeah, research - animal unit technicians (they take care of research animals; diagnostics, breeding, genotyping, &c) get paid reasonable amounts. Not for everyone, though. "Taking care" of animals also involve lots of sacrificing of animals. Lots of regulatory work, though - lots of ethics and safety paperwork and surveillance.

Being an animal tech in a lab can be a lot more rewarding as there's opportunity to do research outside of just taking care of the animals. Might be a harder job to find and get, though.*

If your friend has experience with primates, the pay is very good, if she doesn't mind working in a primate lab and all that entails (protesters, paperwork, having to potentially perform surgery on and the possibility of having to sacrifice the subjects).

*Our lab is actually looking for a part-time one right now who's primary responsibilities would be breeding about a half dozen+ different transgenic lines - genotyping and recording offspring (ear notch, isolate DNA, run PCR, analyze results) as well as dissecting out of the womb and genotyping E18 pups, dissecting out different parts of the brain, and set up and do maintenance work on those cultured neurons in support of post-graduate and graduate students.

Secondary responsibilities would be available if interested with the scope ranging from fluorescent and/or confocal microscopy, protein purification , (automated, high-throughput) library screening, or maybe even some cloning (manipulating DNA, not making a clone of a whole organism) either in support of other projects or as the main manipulation for their own project.

posted by porpoise at 9:00 PM on June 16, 2008

Guide Dogs associations (well those in Australia) are always looking for gentle people to train guide dogs. It's volunteer and you must like puppies.
posted by mattoxic at 9:41 PM on June 16, 2008

Make a career around a species that needs a human liaison. Become a world-class expert on the species, live with the species, get funding from groups that support the species, work on or open a reserve to support the species, etc. The number of species that need such a person, unfortunately, is growing. There may not be much money in it, but there must be a great deal of satisfaction (and frustration and so on, but knowing you're doing something good). For a couple of famous models, think of chimps (Goodall) or gorillas (Fossey).

Or if a single species isn't right, find a single place that needs someone and settle in there for the long haul to protect it and every living thing in it. Become the hermit of the place, but someone who, when needed, could dress up and go out to very intelligently represent the place to government and private interests. A scientist with patience, persistence, and PR and fund-raising skills might be good.

Your friend could get a typical animal job (cleaning cages, etc.) while working out how she's going to do something like this.
posted by pracowity at 12:16 AM on June 17, 2008

posted by magikker at 1:17 AM on June 17, 2008

Pet behaviorist. Help owners deal with pets that have separation anxiety, other issues. According to my vet, there's not that many out there (at least that she'd recommend in the DC area) and hence they're booked solid for a while.

Also, like loiseau said, grooming. Maybe a combo pet-sitting / grooming business.
posted by inigo2 at 6:36 AM on June 17, 2008

Lots of agriculture jobs - research, feed, breeding. Cows, pigs, horses, sheep. Any large farm or farm coop.
posted by zia at 7:41 AM on June 17, 2008

K9 cop. It may not appeal to her, but it's work that involves animals.
posted by workerant at 9:31 AM on June 17, 2008

Butcher? (just kidding)

Just to elaborate on the guide dog idea: There's an outfit in Boston called Helping Hands that trains monkeys to aid the handicapped.
posted by schrodycat at 7:50 PM on June 17, 2008

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