What is the minimum degree you should have to obtain a career with animals?

Diana L Guerrero discusses what the minimum degree requirements are to obtain a career with animals in this article at Animal Career Secrets.  All content copyrighted 2007 by Diana L Guerrero. Some rights reserved.

So, this question crossed my desk and I thought it might be worth taking a short look at: What is the minimum degree you should have to obtain a career with animals?

It really depends on the type of animal career you are seeking. In future posts on Animal Career Secrets readers will get assistance in narrowing their interests down and learning about animal careers that they might not ever have heard of. This will be helpful because there is a wide range of requirements between the many types of careers with animals.

For instance, if you are applying at a municipal zoo, the competition is tough and most are looking for the minimum of a Bachelor’s degree. If you want to move up through the ranks you either have to be around for a long time or work on a more advanced degree.

However, the degree or experience requirements at other types of jobs vary. In the animal behaviorist realm, which has only been a profession for the 15-20 years, there is a board certification for veterinary behavior but some jobs may accept a bachelor in arts or science while others may look for a master degree. It requires research on the seeker’s part—which I’ll explain how to do a little bit later because that is a whole topic in itself.

In other cases, aptitude wins out over a degree but these types of animal jobs tend to be in the private sector or in private non-traditional types of jobs. Sometimes facilities look for special certifications for the specific practice or job–so you don’t need a degree but you do need the specialized training or continuing education.

I’ve schedules a couple of interviews with industry leaders who are starting some institutes for specialized training in two specific fields where there historically hasn’t been much regulation or guidelines for operation. This is significant and will signal some big changes in the areas of animal training and animal communication.

Since the animal industry is growing at a rapid rate there will be more and more changes such as these. Each has a unique answer and not a blanket approach. So, if you are seeking a career with animals I would recommend the following:

List the types of animals you are interested in working with.

List the types of animal jobs you think would fit your interests and lifestyle.

List the activities that give you the most joy.

Find professional literature and organizations relevant to those jobs and interests and begin reading them.

Once you have taken the above actions, you can begin delve into the types of animal jobs that fit within your lists. You will become familiar with what actually goes on within the field and who the industry icons are. Then you can begin to find out what specifically is needed while you develop important contacts along the way.

I’ll provide more questions and resources for you to help you narrow down your selection but you really have to get into some soul searching and details first so you don’t waste your time in the quest for your dream animal job or animal career.

Diana L Guerrero is an animal career specialist and has extensive experience in many areas of the animal world. A well known animal expert, she has worked professionally with animals for over thirty years. Guerrero is the author of several books and writes for a variety of websites including Ark Animals.

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