Animal Husbandry: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for animal husbandry (breeding). Get the facts about job duties, job outlook, salary and training to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Animal Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Information at a Glance

Animal husbandry is a career devoted to breeding animals in order to improve desirable traits while mitigating less desirable ones. Learn more about this career in the following chart.

Degree Required Some employers require an associate's or higher
Education Field of Study Animal husbandry
Key Skills Animal monitoring, analysis and selection; artificial insemination
Job Growth (2012-22) -23% (decline from 1,300 jobs to 1,000 projected)*
Average Salary (May 2014) $43,470*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What Will My Career in Animal Husbandry Entail?

It will be your responsibility to choose animals for breeding that will ultimately display the traits desired by your clients. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), desirable traits might include sheep that produce thicker wool or cows that produce more milk (www.bls.gov). You may work with a wide range of animals, including chickens, goats, cattle and other farm animals. You may also work with domestic animals, including cats, dogs and pet birds.

To increase your chances for successful breeding, you must understand the physiology of the animals you are attempting to breed; this requires careful monitoring and analysis of the animals. You may breed animals using artificial insemination; this is most common with very expensive or large animals, including horses. Your work in animal husbandry may involve a mix of outdoor and laboratory-based work; you might need to travel to clients' farms.

How Much Could I Earn?

According to the BLS, the mean annual salary for animal breeders in 2014 was $43,470. The highest concentration of animal breeders was in Kentucky, where approximately 110 individuals were employed in this field. The annual mean salary for breeders in Kentucky was $36,900. The highest paying state for this occupation in 2014 was Washington, with an average salary of $70,630. Breeders in New York had the second highest average annual salary among all states at $52,180 in 2014, as reported by the BLS.

What Types of Degree Programs are Available?

You can begin your career in animal husbandry without formal education, though earning a degree may be required by some employers. You can study animal husbandry at the associate's, bachelor's or master's degree level. Both animal science and agriculture business programs may include coursework in animal breeding, with some programs offering concentrations in this field.

The study of animal husbandry involves learning about various animals with regards to physiology and behaviors. You'll also study genetics in order to better understand how to achieve the best results when breeding. Related to genetics is the study of statistics; the potential expenses and complications associated with animal husbandry make a keen knowledge of statistical analysis useful.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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