College Majors for Animal Lovers

Find a major and a career you’ll love working with animals.

Find a major and a career you’ll love working with animals.

Are you an animal lover? Always wished you could work with animals and get paid for it? Maybe you can consider a major in animal science, animal services, zoology or veterinary biomedical and clinical services. In this article, we’ll discuss the necessary education including majors and level of education for popular animal related careers along with data from the Occupational Information Network – commonly referred to as O*Net Online.

Animal Science

A degree in animal science can lead to a number of careers working with animals. You may think of common agricultural careers which include those in ranching, breeding and trainers. However, a degree in animal science can also lead to careers in animal nutrition and research. Some students also use it as a launch point for their post-secondary degree in veterinary medicine.

While a general degree in animal science is available at the undergraduate level, you can specialize in breeding, health, nutrition, dairy science, livestock management and poultry. Careers performing research will typically require graduate degrees while more hands-on jobs will require associates or bachelor’s degrees. According to O*Net Online, careers related to animal science will see a modest to faster than average growth from 2016-2026. Early career salaries will be in the low $30k range with a low $50k range mid-career.

Top colleges in animal science include Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, Texas A&M in College Station, Texas and Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. All three offer both undergraduate and graduate level programs in animal science.

Animal Services

While a degree in animal science focuses on agricultural use of animals, a degree in animal services will lead you into careers providing consumer level services related to animals. For example, careers in pet training, animal breeding, grooming, monitoring and managing animals are included. Because these careers are focused on hands-on time with animals, experience will be a must in addition to your schooling.

According to O*Net Online, several careers related to animal services have a promising outlook showing significant growth in the next eight to ten years. This includes careers as animal caretakers, animal trainers, hunters \trappers and veterinary and lab assistants. Most of these careers will require an associates or bachelor’s degree.

The most popular schools for animal services include Colorado State University – Fort Collins, Morrisville State College and the University of Findlay in Ohio.


While a degree in zoology is oftentimes required to work in a zoo, this isn’t the only career option that opens up with this degree. Zoology is the study of animals and includes areas of study in animal physiology, anatomy, behavior and biology. Many careers will require graduate level degrees such as careers as a zookeeper, wildlife biologist or a biological sciences teacher.

Top ranked schools for zoology majors include the University of California – Davis, University of Wisconsin – Madison and Miami University in Oxford Ohio. According to O*Net Online, careers requiring a zoology degree are in demand with biological sciences teachers seeing a 10-15% growth from 2016-2026 and curators seeing faster than average growth over the next eight years.

Veterinary Biomedical and Clinical Services

A major in veterinary biomedical and clinical services will teach you how to treat various species of animals in order to keep them healthy or heal them in times of need. According to O*Net Online, a career as a vet or veterinary technician has a bright outlook with anticipated growth over 10% in the next eight to ten years.

In order to be a veterinarian, you will be required to get a graduate degree while veterinary assistants and technicians can usually find employment with an associates or bachelor’s degree. When looking at becoming a vet and working in a clinical setting make sure you have a strong desire to work with and look after animals. People skills and compassion are a must as many times dealing with animals can be very emotional and stressful.

Top schools for those seeking a degree in veterinary biomedical and clinical services should look at Pennsylvania State University, the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities and Morehead State University in Kentucky.

Aren’t sold on any of these majors? Try Majors Matcher to find the major that is perfectly suited to you. Just create a profile and answer some questions about your interests and College Factual will give you a list of top majors and colleges that fit you best.

Career growth estimates provided by O*Net Online