An Animal Behavior degree can be a definite asset for someone who has an interest in animals and wishes to pursue a career in animal science. Animal behavior is the study of interactions between the physical environments( both external and internal) and animal response, specifically in relation to development, growth and evolution.
This area of knowledge feeds into several disciplines such as comparative psychology, behavioral ecology and anthropology. A degree in Animal Behavior can also be highly specialized. Students begin with a Bachelor of Arts ( B.A.) or Science ( B.Sc.), then move to a Master of Arts ( M.A,) or Science ( M.Sc.) or advanced degrees like a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine ( D.V.M).
Teaching and Research at Colleges and University
Colleges and universities employing animal behavior specialists for teaching and research usually require a PhD degree. Competition for academic positions is high because of the strong interest academia has in research that is relevant to the needs of industries.
For example, universities are hiring animal behaviorists to study the relationship between behavior and production, conservation and care of animals. Much research is directed at specific industry goals – improving livestock production, enhancing conservation of endangered species, developing policies for the well-being of wild and domestic animals or controlling agricultural and urban pests.
Research in Government and Private Institutions
Graduates with an Animal Behavior degree are also in demand in government sponsored laboratories or private industries. Drug companies, for example, require the knowledge of animal behaviorists to conduct research on the effect of drugs on behavior, the connection between behavior and disease, the relationship between genes, brain and behavior disorders and the manipulation of genetic material to produce animals and organisms with a high level of immunity to disease.
Animal Behavior Expertise Needed by Conservation Groups, Zoos and Museums
Behavior research is needed to enhance the health and reproduction of animals in captivity and animals in wildlife habitats. Graduates with an Animal Behavior degree are in demand in zoos and museums where they work in close collaboration with field biologists and various specialists to monitor the well-being of animals.
Conservation groups use animal behavior consultants to design and maintain habitat requirements for wildlife reserves. They may also require animal behaviorists to prepare animals for re-entry into native habitats.
Current interest in preserving the environment has also increased the image and popularity of wildlife habitats, many of which are heavily dependent on sponsorships, grants and income through public education. To this end, conservation groups need animal behaviorists to communicate specific knowledge to the general public in the form of programs, lectures, presentations, newsletters, books and educational camps.
Writing and Broadcasting Widen Career Options
Public interest in animal behavior also means that there are increased opportunities for graduates who are interested in broadcasting, films, science writing and journalism. The proliferation of science journals both in print and online also means increased opportunities for those who have a particular affinity with the written word or media.
Pet Management and Training
Currently, the fastest growing field for an Animal Behavior consultant is pet management. A PhD is not required here, although strong communications skills and rapport building skills will be very helpful indeed.
This work entails working with animals and their owners to manage behavior problems in pets. The business of pet management can also expand to include several services: seminars and classes for owners, training sessions with pets, home visits and even pet day care.
If one has a love for animals and an interest in behavior and psychology, getting an Animal Behavior degree promises to be both exciting and rewarding.
More information on animal behavior can be found below.