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2021 Animal Science Degree Guide

If you see yourself breeding, training, or raising animals, then a degree in animal science is for you.

Animal Science majors working with animals and envision a program to learn more about the creatures and how to properly work with them. Classes in Animal Science include animal biology and physiology, biochemistry, biology, and life sciences to learn the principles surrounding animal husbandry, livestock operations, and the business of agriculture.

Although schools offer the option to major in general Animal Science, there is also the option to specialize in areas such as Agricultural Animal Breeding, Animal Health, Animal Nutrition, Dairy Science, Livestock Management and Poultry Science.

A Recent Jump in Animal Science Degrees

#96 Most Popular Major
7.8k Degrees Awarded
3.4% Increase in Graduates

Animal Science was the 96th most popular major in the 2018-2019 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 7,814 degrees in this year alone. This represents a 3.4% increase in animal science degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 7,549.

There are 113 schools offering degrees in animal science in the United States. Our 2021 Best Colleges for Animal Science ranking analyzes 66 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for animal science students. Explore this or one of our many other custom animal science rankings further below.

What Are The Requirements For a Degree in Animal Science

Working with animals takes patience, compassion, and an interest in their well-being. The job requires strong problem solving skills and close attention to detail to assess any issues that come up during animal training, and to ensure animals are maintaining a proper diet and show no abnormal changes in behavior. Animal Scientists work closely with farmers and animal owners, so it is necessary to possess strong interpersonal and communication skills to ensure information about animals is properly and clearly shared with all necessary individuals.

Depending on the type of job pursued, the typical workweek of an Animal Science major varies. Animals require care around the clock, so hours may be irregular and require work at nights and on the weekends. Depending on where you work however, you may have a more typical office job that sticks to a 40-hour a week schedule.

When pursuing a career in Animal Science, experience working with animals is important. Try interning or working with an animal scientist, trainer or even a veterinarian to gain experience. Volunteering at a local animal shelter will also give you the opportunity to work with domestic animals. Employers look for and prefer previous experience working with animals while hiring job prospects.

Prior Education for an Animal Science Program

New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. Once you obtain your degree, additional animal science certifications required to pursue a career in this field.

Types of Animal Science Degrees

Animal Science degree levels vary. You can spend many years getting as high as a research / scholarship based doctorate's in animal science to something that takes less time like a associate's. The type of animal science degree you choose will determine how long it takes to get your diploma.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to animal science, with approximately 23.5% of workers getting one. Find out other typical degree levels for animal science workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 22.7%
Doctoral Degree 20.1%
Master’s Degree 19.0%
High School Diploma 11.5%
Post-Secondary Certificate 10.1%

68.0% of animal science workers have at least a bachelor's. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in animal science have obtained.


The education level required is different depending on the animal science career you are seeking.

Animal Science Careers

Below Average Number of Jobs
$28.8k Average Starting Salary
-0% Decline Job Outlook 2016-26

There are many career options available to Animal Science majors. Many people immediately think of a career on a ranch or farm, but a degree in this field opens up opportunities in scientific research, management, or even sales. Animal Science majors also hold jobs as breeders, trainers, and animal nutritionists.

A degree in Animal Science makes you very appealing to employers.

Steady Demand Projected for Animal Science Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your animal science degree?

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to animal science.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Farmers, Ranchers, and Agricultural Managers 1,020,700 -0.8%
Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Worker Supervisors 49,700 2.1%
Agricultural Sciences Professors 13,600 7.9%
Farm and Home Management Advisors 11,200 7.7%
Animal Scientists 6,400 4.9%

How Much Money Do Animal Science Grads Make?

Recently graduated animal science students earned an average of $28,818 in 2017-2018. Earnings can range from as low as $13,700 to as high as $39,700. As you might expect, salaries for animal science graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Animal Science Majors

Salaries for animal science graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers animal science grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Agricultural Sciences Professors $90,890
Farmers, Ranchers, and Agricultural Managers $79,940
Animal Scientists $67,690
Farm and Home Management Advisors $52,700
Farming, Fishing, and Forestry Worker Supervisors $50,790

Getting Your Animal Science Degree

With over 345 different animal science degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased animal science school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Animal Science

Animal Science is one of 13 different types of Agriculture & Agriculture Operations programs to choose from.

Majors Similar to Animal Science

Related Major Annual Graduates
Agricultural Economics & Business 8,910
Horticulture 4,451
General Agriculture 3,551
Agricultural Production 3,536
Plant Sciences 3,278

View All Animal Science Related Majors >


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