Animal Physiologist Job Facts

An animal physiologist studies how animals adjust to their environments, fight off diseases, reproduce, and grow. Learn about the education required along with career options and average salary. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is an Animal Physiologist?

An animal physiologist is a scientist who studies natural factors, such as dietary nutrition, stress, birthing methods, sanitation, exercise, and temperature, that affect the health and development of animals. As an animal physiologist, you'd conduct research on diseases and parasites that afflict animals and study how environmental conditions affect animal fertility, lactation, and muscle growth. You may also be in charge of administering medication to animals on farms or creating chemicals in laboratories to improve health. Your research could help animal breeders increase production and optimize the quality and safety of food products, such as meat and eggs. You might also choose to teach at the K-12 or college level. Pursuing any of these careers means you should have a love of animals and a vested interest in improving their general welfare. The table below includes important information about becoming an animal physiologist.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree at minimum; graduate degrees may be preferred
Education Field of Study Animal science or animal physiology
Key Duties Research animal disease and parasitic activity
Job Growth (2014-2024) 7%* (for all animal scientists)
Mean Salary (2015) $71,830* (for all animal scientists)

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

What Education Would I Need?

To become an animal physiologist, you can earn a degree in animal science or animal physiology. Bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees exist in these fields, and your educational choice largely depends on your ultimate career goal. You'll study topics in biological sciences, mammalian physiology, and genetics in both the classroom and the laboratory. Elective courses you could take include comparative physiology, embryology, neurobiology, and animal behavior. Graduate degree programs, especially those at the doctoral level, usually allow you to specialize your research and studies in areas like animal reproduction and development, animal behavior, or ecological adaptation.

What Jobs Could I Apply For?

With a bachelor's degree in animal physiology, you might qualify to become an elementary or high school science teacher. You'll need to acquire some formal training in education and a state teaching license. If your interests lie in research, you could work under the supervision of a biological scientist as an assistant or laboratory technician. In some cases, both of these occupations might require that you earn a master's degree.

If you want to conduct independent research or teach at the college level, you'll usually need to complete a doctoral program. With a Doctor of Philosophy degree, you could apply for research positions in several industries and government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Food and Drug Administration, as well as pharmaceutical companies or animal feed manufacturers.

What Salary Could I Earn?

Wage data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that animal scientists made an average of $71,830 per year in 2015 (www.bls.gov). That year, the BLS stated that the highest wage earners in animal science worked for the federal government, earning an average annual salary of $104,080. However, the majority worked at colleges and universities and earned an average of $56,100 per year, according to the BLS.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Plant scientists are grouped with animal scientists under the banner of 'agricultural and food scientists', having many similar duties and the same educational requirements. They observe the growth of different plants and study the conditions in which they are raised, hoping to improve crop yield and sustainability for food and discover new ways to control pests and weeds. Zoologists study animals in their natural habitats to understand how they interact with the ecosystem, as well as how human interaction has impacted their lives. Biological technicians work in laboratory settings assisting biologists in their experiments and procedures, analyzing, and recording data as necessary. All of these careers require a minimum of a bachelor's degree.

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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