Becoming an Animal Behaviorist

Animal Behaviorist study the way animals behave with each other as well as their relationship with physical environment. They observe different characteristics and activities of many types of animals, such as fish, birds, reptiles, large animals, wild animals, livestock, household pets etc.  They explore certain aspects of animal behavior, including how they mate, parent their offspring, arrange their food, communicate with others and defend themselves against predators, manage resources needed to survive so on and so forth. They analyze various factors that can prompt behavioral change of animals. They may also help to cure the behavioral problems of animals through different techniques of treatment such as conditioning, behavior modification and training. In addition, they address the ways to conserve the species and natural habitats.

Work Environment

Animal Behaviorists work in a variety of settings such as animal training facilities, zoos, natural habitats, laboratories, research facilities, educational institutions and other organizations that promote animal welfare. They may be involved in private practice, helping pet and livestock owners better understand and care for their animals. They may also work in different areas of media field such as working in broadcasting, film, writing, and advertising.

Educational Requirement

To become an Animal Behaviorist, the aspiring candidates must hold at least a Bachelor’s degree in biology, psychology, zoology, behavioral science or animal science. The candidates can pursue advanced degree such as Master’s or Ph.D. in related field for better job opportunities in this profession. The major course work includes evolution, wildlife biology, ecology, neurobiology, animal behavior, animal husbandry, genetics etc.

The candidates with Masters or Ph.D. in the behavioral sciences or related field can obtain an exam based certification from The Animal Behavior Society (ABS) or The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).

Job Outlook and Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for Animal Behaviorist varies by specialty. For instance, the employment of zoologists is projected to grow by 5% from 2012-2022 while veterinarian employment is expected to increase at 12% in same time frame. The median salary in this profession was $58,270 in May 2014.