Animal breeders use scientific methods to raise animals with certain traits. Read on to learn more about employment options and outlook, earnings and educational programs for this specialized field of study.
Animal breeding involves the use of genetics and related sciences to select and raise domestic animals or livestock for one or more litters. For example, you might breed pigs to produce a certain type of meat, or domestic dogs for their pedigrees. To obtain a position, you'll most likely need experience working with animals, as well as a certificate or degree in animal science.
As an animal breeder, you could work for farms, ranches and poultry operations, or you could choose to breed animals for yourself. You could also serve as a consultant, advising others on the proper way to breed specific types of animals. Depending on your interests and qualifications, you might find a management position with a field service or processing facility, or oversee a hatchery, flock or herd. Opportunities in farm management or livestock management may also be available; related careers can include a job as a veterinary technician or veterinarian .
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for animal breeders working in the agricultural field are expected to decline by 23% between 2012 and 2022. In May 2013, animal breeders earned a mean annual salary of $40,310 (www.bls.gov).
To start your training in animal breeding, you could enroll in an animal science technology or animal science program. These programs are typically offered through community colleges and universities at the undergraduate and graduate levels and can lead to a certificate, diploma or degree.
Certificate and diploma programs may cover topics in animal diet and nourishment, production or health care. Similar training might also be found in an associate degree program in animal science, through which you'll also take classes in agrarian finance, breeding, genetics and waste control. Master's and doctoral degree programs in animal science may include more advanced studies of the aforementioned topics, as well as additional instruction in biology and physiology. Some colleges or universities offer postgraduate certificate programs with class and lab work in animal nourishment and husbandry, heredity and reproduction. Graduate degree requirements can include a thesis or a dissertation.