Agricultural and domestic animal services focus on the care and management of cattle or pets. Keep reading to learn more about educational requirements, employment outlook and earnings potential for animal breeders and trainers, animal care workers or farm workers.
Agricultural and domestic animal service professionals care for farm animals and pets, except in emergency medical situations. Professional duties might include animal breeding and handling, obedience training and pet grooming facility. If you choose to specialize in agricultural animal services, you may find work managing a farm or ranch. A passion for animals and a willingness to work outside is necessary for this kind of work.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of animal services workers was expected to grow by 15% nationwide, or faster that average in comparison to all other occupations. An increased interest in luxury services for pets, like grooming and training, will have a positive impact on job growth. As of May 2013, animal breeders and trainers earned median annual salaries of $37,950 and $25,320 respectively. In the same month, non-farm animal caretakers were paid a median annual wage of $19,910, while individuals who worked with farm and ranch animals earned $22,650 (www.bls.gov).
Animal care specialist programs are available at the certificate and associate degree levels. Through an animal care specialist program, you'll learn how to groom or train domesticated animals or work with them in a breeding or general care facility. Core coursework typically includes topics in canine and feline nutrition, animal behavior and training, grooming and kennel hygiene. Short-term certificate programs in pet grooming and shop management can be completed in as little as one year and can be especially beneficial if you're thinking of opening your own business or grooming service.
Undergraduate majors in animal science usually focus on the breeding, care and selection of agricultural animals. If you'd like to gain a deeper understanding of agricultural animals and conduct research, you might also consider a master's and doctoral degree program in the same field of study.
Equine and marine animal programs are offered at the certificate, associate and bachelor's degree levels. Farrier science programs in particular can provide you with instruction in horseshoeing and horsemanship. If you're especially interested in horses, you may consider an associate degree program in equine science. Associate degree programs in beef science are also available and can train you to work with cattle.