Animal Care and Animal Science Career Field

Animal Care and Animal Science Careers Outlook

Animal CareersThe animal care industry in general is expected to grow over the next several years. Those occupations related to pets have an especially promising outlook because pet ownership is on the rise and many owners are willing to invest substantial amounts of money in the care and grooming of their pets. The outlook for occupations related to the care of wild animals is less certain. Popular concern for wildlife is high, but public funding for park rangers and other wildlife caretakers is limited. Furthermore, competition for such jobs is very high and turnover is low, resulting in comparatively low salaries and few job openings. As in all fields, animal care jobs can always be found by people with the right combination of education, experience, determination, and concern for animals; unlike many other fields, animal lovers can often create their own jobs.

According to the American Horse Council Foundation, 1.4 million people work full time in the horse industry. There is not expected to be much change in horse-related employment in the next few years, particularly as the economy is uncertain.

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that animal care and service workers held a total of 172,000 jobs in 2004. Almost 75 percent of this number worked as non–farm animal caretakers in boarding kennels, animal shelters, stables, grooming shops, animal hospitals, and veterinary offices. A significant number also worked for animal humane societies, racing stables, dog and horse racetrack operators, zoos, theme parks, circuses, and other amusement and recreations services. The department predicts that employment in this sector of animal care will grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2014.

Employment for medical scientists is expected to grow much faster than the average through 2014. Employment for veterinarians, biological scientists, and agricultural scientists is expected to grow about as fast as the average through this same time period. The outlook is not as favorable for agricultural scientists, for whom employment will have slower than average growth.

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