Careers that involve animals

With the proper training and
Approximate Salary Range

$30, 000 to $100, 000/year

Minimum Education

Bachelor’s Degree (B.A. or B.S.)

Related Links

The Animal Behavior Society is a nonprofit, scientific society founded in 1964 to encourage and promote the study of animal behavior. Its website contains information on careers in animal behavior and the colleges and universities offering programs in animal behavior.

The Indiana University Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior offers a wealth of information related to animal science and behavior. The site provides numerous links and resources related to education and careers in the animal behavior field.

Animal behaviorism is the scientific study of animal behavior and involves investigating everything animals do. Animals studied include single-celled organisms, invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Animal behaviorists investigate the relationship of animals to their physical environment as well as to other organisms. Studied topics include how animals find and defend resources, avoid predators, choose mates and reproduce and care for their young.

People who study animal behavior are concerned with understanding the causes, functions, development and evolution of animal behavior. Animal behaviorists will study the behavior functions, including the behavior’s immediate effects on animals and its adaptive value in helping the animal to survive or reproduce successfully in a particular environment. Animal behaviorists also will study the development of behavior to see the ways in which behavior changes during the lifetime of an animal and how those changes are affected both by genes and by experience.

Government and Private Research Institutions

A growing number of animal behaviorists work in government laboratories or in private business and industry, and many of these jobs involve health-related research. For example, drug companies or government laboratories might hire animal behaviorists to conduct research on the behavioral effects of new drugs on animals, to examine the links between animal behavior and disease or to evaluate the well-being of animals under their care. State and federal government agencies responsible for natural resources management sometimes hire animal behaviorists to work in their wildlife programs. Increasingly, private environmental consulting firms are employing behaviorists to examine the effects of habitat alteration on foraging patterns, spatial dispersion and reproductive processes in animals.

For many of these jobs, a Ph.D. is desirable and training is essential. For health-related jobs, training in relevant fields such as physiology, biochemistry or pharmacology particularly is helpful.

It's Interesting

  • Stephen C. Sillett (born March 19, 1968) is a botanist specializing in old growth forest canopies. As the first scientist to enter the redwood forest canopy, he pioneered new methods for climbing, exploring, and studying tall trees. Sillett has climbed many of the world’s tallest trees to study the plant and animal life residing in their crowns...

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