Becoming an Animal Nutritionist
Animal Nutritionists play a key role to provide proper nutrition to the animals of all ages and types. They ensure that all dietary needs are met to the agricultural, domestic or zoo animals based on individual factors, such as age and breed as well as different environmental circumstances. These professionals are specialized to formulate diets for specific types of animals by examining animal genetics, health conditions and other required factors. For instance, they evaluate environmental factors such as water temperature for fish, population for poultry, or space constraints for a tiger at the zoo so on and so forth.
Animal Nutritionists evaluate the chemical and nutritional value of various animal feeds, feed supplements, grass and forage for livestock etc. to develop a balanced diet for the animals. They conduct research on animal nutrition, assessing what animals are consuming and how food intake affects their own and the health of the consumers. They provide key inputs to develop efficient ways to produce and process meat, poultry, eggs, and milk. They also educate people on how to upgrade housing for animals, lower animal death rates, increase growth rates, or otherwise increase the quality and efficiency of livestock.
Animal nutritionists work in various environments such as animal hospitals, veterinary offices, Zoos, animal welfare organizations, pharmaceuticals manufacturers, pet foods and feed companies etc. They may serve as consultants to farmers. They may be involved in research or teaching activities. They often work in conjunction with veterinarians and veterinary technicians, wildlife rehabilitators, zoo keepers and other animal professionals.
A Bachelor of Science degree in the area of animal science, biology or biochemistry is usually required for entry level positions in the field of animal nutrition. However, Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in related areas are generally required for research and teaching positions. During the course of their education, Animal Nutritionists are taught both computerized methods of creating and balancing rations as well as how to accomplish the same results by hand.
Job Outlook and Salary
The job outlook for an Animal Nutritionist remains outstanding across the USA. Jobs for Animal Nutritionists are expected to increase 9% during the 2012-22 period. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) puts the median salary for these professionals at $64,260 in a year.