Equine Specialist: Career and Salary Facts
Research what it takes to become an equine specialist. Learn about job duties, education requirements, employment outlook and average wages to find out if this is the career for you.
What Are Career Options for Equine Specialists?
Equine specialists use their knowledge of equine science, nutrition and communication to manage horses and to educate people about horse care. Some people who work with horses in related professions, such as animal science or veterinary medicine, may also call themselves equine specialists. As an animal scientist you would study various genetic factors that influenced the qualities of a horse and its offspring, conduct research on equine related diseases and expand your knowledge of the growth and development of horses. Veterinarians are also interested in the study of diseases, however they specialize in diagnosing and curing them. They may also work with injured horses, conduct physical examinations and in some cases euthanize horses when other options are not available. The following chart provides an overview of these two careers that relate to equine science.
|Equine Specialist - Animal Scientist||Equine Specialist - Veterinarian|
|Degree Required||Ph.D. or professional degree||Doctor of Veterinary Medicine|
|Education Field of Study||Equine science, animal science, nutrition, breeding||Veterinary medicine|
|Key Responsibilities||Conduct research, consult with farmers, observe agricultural production||Diagnose and treat animals, perform research|
|Job Growth (2018-2028)||7%*||18%*|
|Median Salary (2018)||$58,380*||$93,830*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
What Would I Do as an Equine Specialist?
As an equine specialist, you use your expert knowledge of horses to teach or mentor others in equine programs at colleges or professional equine organizations. In this capacity you would pass on your knowledge of horse behavior, nutrition, health and training to novices who have no experience with horses. Your work may include developing equine science curricula, consulting for a 4-H horse club or serving as a guest speaker for a professional organization. Other job duties may include leading discussion groups, developing educational programs, evaluating students' or members' familiarity with horses and training future instructors.
An equine specialty might also encompass other, related careers, such as a veterinarian or animal scientist. As an equine specialist veterinarian, you will examine, diagnose and treat health issues in horses, and promote healthy horse maintenance. An equine specialty in animal sciences will encompass a broader range of studies related to horses in agricultural contexts, including horse reproduction and breeding, horse diets, and healthy environments for horses.
How Do I Prepare For This Career?
A good foundation for your career can be established through completing a degree program in animal or equine science. These programs are offered for undergraduates and graduates.
Programs may cover diverse topics, including disease management, equine therapy, nutrition, behavior, breeding and training. Your classroom work may be supplemented with hands-on practice. In graduate programs, you may have the opportunity to specialize in a specific area of equine studies, such as nutrition, reproduction, management or education.
You'll need to have first-hand experience with horses. Owning horses, volunteering in horse programs, working with horses or participating in 4-H equine programs can provide you with opportunities to hone your skills.
What Related Occupations Could I Consider?
As an equine specialist, you have various career options beyond being an educator. With an undergraduate degree, you can work in the entertainment industry as a judge for horse shows or as a horse racing commissioner. You could also work as a ranch manager or horse breeder and trainer.
An advanced degree in a specialty area can lead to even more positions, including:
- Pedigree analyst
- Rehabilitation specialist
- Equine nutritionist
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
A few more jobs related to equine specialist include animal care and service workers, veterinary technologists and technicians, zoologists and wildlife biologists. Needing only a high school diploma or less, animal care and service workers are professionals who perform basic care for animals, including feeding, grooming and in some cases training. Veterinary technologists and technicians aid veterinarians by conducting diagnostic test on injured or ill animals. Most of these professionals have an associate's or bachelor's degree in veterinary technology. With a bachelor's degree in zoology or wildlife biology you could also become a zoologist or wildlife biologist. As a wildlife biologist you would be responsible for studying animals in their natural environment.