The 14 Best College Degrees for Animal Lovers in 2021

“Do what you love, and you will never work another day in your life.” People who are animal lovers and work with animals sum up what they do for a living in this sentiment, and all the right reasons! Studies show that animals have a positive effect on people. There is evidence that was interacting with pets, and all other animals, for that matter, are beneficial to our mental health. Working around them is no different!

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Interestingly, college degrees that lead to jobs around animals do not have as many takers as others, leading to popular career paths like Accounting, IT, or Education. Because of their low enrollment rate, careers relating to animal care and service are consequently projected to grow at a much faster rate in terms of worker demand. Also, there is an expected rise in disposable income opportunities, especially for millennials, such as eco-tourism and bee-keeping. Due to the lack of skilled workers, some of such jobs’ median pay rates are higher than the national average.

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If you’re an animal lover, chances are you have thought about earning a college degree that lets you put your passion into practice. A word of caution: not all such degrees lead to experiences with cute puppy paws; some lead to jobs that can be quite risky—especially when dealing with angry cows or lethal animals. But just the same, real animal lovers would attest to the fact that there is nothing quite like the fulfillment that being around them brings.

That said, animal-related college degrees are sure fun and practical. Here are fourteen options for you:

Animal Biology
Animal Science
Ecology
Marine Biology
Fisheries and Aquatic Science
Wildlife Conservation
Animal Behavior
Zoology
Environmental Science
Veterinary Biomedical and Clinical Services
Pre-Veterinary Medicine
Veterinary Medicine
Equine Science
Aquatic Biology

Animal Biology

For those looking to be veterinarians working on farms, Animal Biology is an excellent pre-veterinary course. It deals with the biological processes of animal classes in a general manner during the first year and then gets more specialized as your level of education progresses. As an Animal Biology student, you will be familiarizing animal body parts and learn about their nutrition.

Animal biology tends to focus more on hands-on activities, like real fieldwork at a conservation park. Its more popular relative, Animal Science, has a lot more chemistry and lab work and lesser fieldwork. If you want to work out in the open fields or plan to work in an environmental capacity, Animal Biology will open doors of opportunities for you.


Animal Science

If working in an animal hospital or becoming an urban veterinarian is something you are deeply interested in, Animal Science is the way to go. Think of this degree as the usual pre-med course—but for animals. Students learn about the most recent animal diseases and the latest technologies for diagnosing and treating animals. This degree can lead to a veterinary technician path immediately after graduation or with some certifications, depending on your state. Think of a veterinarian technician as a nurse, while the veterinarian is the doctor.

Also, this course is a great preparatory course for a Master’s in Veterinary Science. With an emphasis on technology and scientific principles, a degree in Animal Science is intellectually stimulating and financially rewarding. There will also be lectures on inorganic chemistry and a little bit of physics and engineering, as this degree primarily deals with expertise and innovation.


Ecology

An ecologist deals with fauna and flora, so a student who loves plants and animals will enjoy both their course and post-graduation career. As an Ecology student, you need to be prepared for a lot of Biology lessons and discussions relating to animal behavior and environmental laws and regulations.

Ecology essentially deals with how living organisms interact with the environment, so expect a lot of fieldwork. Travel for research is also pretty common, which can be a plus for those who enjoy occasionally leaving the office or the laboratory.

Generally, Ecology graduates work for non-profit organizations or conservation agencies, but businesses that hire ecologists also offer the biggest job opportunities. Ecologists also find their place in the business community pretty easily. They can be researchers for food and beverage companies, sourcing ingredients for them. They also take on natural resources surveying and exploration jobs. When mining corporations and similar businesses require environmental reports, ecologists are hired to ensure that the company strikes a balance between complying with environmental rules and profiting.


Marine Biology

Water encompasses at least 70% of the Earth’s surface. Many businesses operate in the oceans not only for food and tourism but also for oil and mineral explorations—all of them requiring the expertise of marine biologists. Eco-tourism has seen tremendous growth in the past five years. Governments and businesses have seen how the abundant water ecosystem translates to a healthier community and a profitable business. Job prospects include business consultants, operation managers for fisheries, local tourist guides, and work in academia.

Marine Biology, as a degree, also includes Biology, Chemistry, and Physics in its academic curriculum. The study material largely focuses on aquatic ecosystems. Today, students are educated from a more holistic perspective as they gain insight into how flora and fauna on land affect the sea. Interestingly, more than 80% underwater “remains unmapped, unobserved, and unexplored.” What lies beneath our oceans is the great unknown and, driven by the search for knowledge and resources comes more jobs for a marine biologist.


Fisheries and Aquatic Science

A big part of the modern human diet consists of fish, oysters, lobsters, and other seafood. However, fishing in the ocean can deplete the natural wildlife ecosystem. Also, fishing is like hunting; the harvest is never predictable. To minimize ecological effects, fisheries operate like a sea farm: they focus on providing more than just seafood and pearls for jewelry and seaweed for manufacturing purposes as an alternative to plastic and as fertilizer for crops.

The role of Aquatic Science, on the other hand, deals with living organisms both in water and on land. This field of study ensures that water for marine life is at its proper nutrition and sanitation levels.

Fisheries and Aquatic Science students are exposed to the principles of Marine Biology while also tackling the business side. Lessons will include determining the chemical composition and regulating food temperature while also gaining knowledge on operational logistics and business regulations. Economics, especially sustainable practices, is an important part of the curriculum as well.


Wildlife Conservation

Wildlife Conservation has driven immense interest lately from both the public and private sectors. Various organizations worldwide work hand in hand to ensure that endangered and at-risk species have a chance at survival. Protected areas and nature conservation parks play a key role in ensuring the preservation of what remains of certain animal species.

With the rise in awareness of animal and wildlife protection, the number of jobs requiring specialists in this field has also climbed. Wildlife conservation projects include habitat restoration, endangered species protection, and hatcheries and reproduction centers for species that are at risk. There are also efforts focusing on dams, fisheries, Antarctic and Arctic expeditions, and forest and mountainous ecosystems.

Wildlife Conservation students not only learn about the biology of specific animals but also gain insight into ecosystems. Most importantly, they are taught to hone their administrative skills as Conservation Management has become immensely instrumental in ensuring the operational stability of conservation efforts. Geography, Economics, and Logistics all play a key role in protecting wildlife; the curriculum also includes Biology, Chemistry, and Ethics.

Wildlife conservation also allows graduates to gain in-depth expertise in their field of specialization, which is why those who pursue Graduate Studies have better chances of promotion to a higher management rank.


Animal Behavior

Ever wanted to be an animal trainer? How about a journalist or researcher with a genuine interest in the animal species and the methods and factors affecting their movement to different areas? If observing, documenting, and researching how animals behave sounds like a great way for you to spend time, a degree in Animal Behavior get will lead you to jobs that offer a sense of fulfillment.

Animal Behavior graduates can become pet psychiatrists if they want to remain mostly in the city. If you’re an outdoor lover, you can opt for a career as a wildlife journalist or researcher who is always on the move. You can also choose to be in the equine industry to pacify, train, and care for the welfare of horses and work for related non-profit organizations. There are also a lot of opportunities to be on fieldwork.

A big part of studying Animal Behavior deals with biology and psychology and Neural Sciences, and even Organic Chemistry. Also, many Zoology and Ecology principles come to mind if your field of expertise is animal habitat and their impact on the behavior of living organisms.

Animal Behavior students also dig deeper into local and international laws and treaties on animal conservation and evaluate how they are applied on the organizational front. Animal breeding, reproduction, as well as evolution are also routinely studied. Lastly, Anthropology and Sociology are a big part of the curriculum because it is a proven fact that humans impact their ecosystems most profoundly, affecting all the other species.


Zoology

Biotechnology has started to gain traction in the last few decades, both as a field of study and a business endeavor. Biotechnology takes into account the principles of Zoology, which, in turn, creates a high demand for zoologists.

Zoology, a degree, deals with the physical characteristics of animals and treatment and control of the animal population. Animal sanctuaries, government agencies, and non-profit organizations are the usual employers. However, industries that do not involve animals in their operations or objectives, such as chemical, pharmaceutical, logging, mining, and petroleum businesses, also hire zoologists for ecological reports.

Zoology students will have their analytical skills tested as they tackle the dwindling population of animals and study resource extraction with minimal impact. They also focus heavily on Biology, Ecology, and Psychology. Botany, Anatomy, and Chemistry are also fundamental areas of study. All in all, Zoology as a field of study requires quite a lot of paperwork and readings than Animal Behavior.

Problem-solving skills prove to be extremely important for zoology students. In their line of work, they deal with case studies while also overseeing the execution of strategies and ensuring that they are neither costly nor impractical. Zoology graduates are also tasked to familiarize the management side of things. When studying zoology, students also learn about key management concepts. This is because, in the workplace, they are tasked to manage both people and spearhead projects. They also hold key positions that require them to deal with both authority and subordinates while complying with regulations at all times.


Environmental Science

Does your heart that bleeds for every injustice done not just to animals but also to Mother Earth? A degree in environmental science can open the doors to a financially stable and life-fulfilling career. Primarily known as an interdisciplinary course, Environmental Science provides graduates with the necessary skills and credentials to work in many fields. That this degree covers almost all STEM subjects course is also a plus. Students study Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Economics, Management, and Sociology.

Environmental Science graduates often become sustainability consultants, environmental engineers, and scientists and researchers. If you like a more business-related career path, you can become an environmental consultant who also functions as a compliance officer. Also, a lot of environmental science graduates become town planners for the government. Some work closely with pharmaceutical companies and manufacturing factories as toxicologists. A few become landscape architects for resorts and hotels.

Environmental Science graduates become environmental education officers, water quality scientists, and nature conservation officers in government agencies. Waste management systems also have a big demand for environmental scientists, and so do other organizations that deal with conservation.


Veterinary Biomedical and Clinical Services

In Veterinary Biomedical and Clinical Services, you will learn how to treat different animal species so correctly how to heal them if the need arises or keep them healthy. O*Net Online said careers in veterinary medicine or veterinary technicians have a very bright outlook, with a growth of about 10% in the coming decade. 

To become a veterinarian, you must have a graduate degree, while veterinary technicians and assistants can easily secure a career with a bachelor’s or associate’s degree. If you have plans of becoming a veterinarian, and you love the idea of working in a clinical setting, your desire to look after and work with animals has to be strong. Compassion and people’s skills are critical in this line of work because you will be dealing with animals, which can both be emotional and stressful. 

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Pre-Veterinary Medicine

This is the course of study that prepares you for admission to a veterinary med school. The program is not a major, per se. It is rather a guiding principle in education to further increase your chances to get admitted to veterinary schools. To apply to a vet school, it’s best to meet with your pre-vet advisor during your freshman year, considering that getting into veterinary medical schools is very competitive. It’s best to start planning your pre-vet curriculum with this in mind. 

Pre-veterinary medicine programs generally vary from colleges and universities. There are institutions where you can earn your bachelor’s degree in pre-vet medicine, while certain schools require their student to obtain a degree in veterinary science or veterinary technology with a specialization in pre-veterinary medicine. 


Veterinary Medicine

Also called veterinary science, veterinary medicine is a medical specialty that deals with the control, prevention, diagnosis, disease treatments for domestic and wild animals, and prevention of transmission of diseases coming from animals. Veterinarians are there to ensure there is a safe and stable food supply for people, and they do this by closely maintaining and monitoring the health of food-producing animals. 


Equine Science

If you are passionate about horses, you can transform that passion into a career with a program called Equine Science. This degree focuses on improving the performance, management, and welfare of horses across the global equine industry. When you enroll in the Equine Science program, you will develop a solid understanding of a horse’s structure, biology, and function. You also get to specialize in other programs like microbiology, agricultural biochemistry and their relevance to health and disease, horse physiology, behavior, biomechanics, nutritional physiology, breeding, and diet. 


Aquatic Biology

This is somehow the same as Marine Biology, where you study the behavior and ecology of animals, plants, or microbes that live in water. But instead of focusing on saltwater, majors in aquatic biology study freshwater such as ponds, inland lakes, creeks, rivers, or wetlands. You will also learn all the aspects of freshwater life: from algae to plankton to salmon. 

Graduates of aquatic biology majors can pursue ecology-related careers. For instance, you can conduct biological surveys, work on preserving and conservation of natural resources, writing environmental impact statements, and conducting water quality control studies.

There are certainly ways to land a job that keeps you close to animals and work for their welfare. Choose the best college degree that best aligns with your skills while also satisfying the animal lover in you.

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