It’s a well-known fact that not all med students become doctors, right? So, why do people still think that studying an animal science degree corners you into a career as a vet? This versatile degree is anything but a one-trick pony, so we’ve come up with 10 awesome (and unexpected) animal science careers to prove it.
The University of Sydney for example offers a wide range of animal science degree options. These come with the opportunity to work with experts from the Taronga Conservation Society, state-of-the-art veterinary facilities and a semi-rural campus option for hands-on experience with real-life livestock.
RELATED VIDEO: 5 awesome jobs working with animals
1. Agricultural scientist
Becoming an agricultural scientist could mean working with drought-stricken farmers to improve their livestock and crop conditions through analysing soil, feed or breeding practices, for example. Or, you might be exploring our bushlands to predict and combat threats to Aussie wildlife, like bushfires and floods or pest invasions. You might not be working with animals everyday, but you’ll be doing your bit to protect them.
Environmental scientists earn an average salary of $67,180 per year*.
2. Animal health and welfare professional
Animal health and welfare professionals are looking out for the health of our human population just as much as the wellbeing of our furry friends. Critical concerns in this career include management of animal to human diseases, like swine or bird flu. Or, you could be looking to ensure the health and safety of animals used in meat, dairy and fibre production industries.
Hot tip: Not sure how to become an animal health and welfare professional? The University of Sydney offers an Animal Health, Disease and Welfare major for their Bachelor of Science degree students.
3. Animal ethicist
How do we ensure that scientific testing on animals is ethical and humane? That’s the job of animal ethicists. They work within research teams to ensure the Australian animal ethics code is upheld. If they’re not on the front lines, they’re working in government to construct legislation that ensures safe treatment for animals in all industries.
Ethics officers receive an average annual salary of $65,096*.
4. Animal nutritionist
Animal nutritionists work with vets, farmers and zookeepers to formulate diet plans for animals in all stages of life; whether that means ensuring an orphaned chimpanzee receives an adequate substitution for mother’s milk, or giving a racehorse its optimal energy intake for performance and endurance.
Animal nutritionists earn an average salary of $68,406*.
5. Biosecurity researcher
Australia takes biosecurity very seriously – meaning there’s a whole lot of job opportunities in this area for you and your animal science degree. Biosecurity researchers ensure the preservation of our unique flora and fauna and the safety of the Australian population by investigating potential threats (like bioterrorism or illegal imports). Then they develop solutions in the form of vaccines or enforcing security measures.
The average salary for a research scientist in Australia is $79,710*.
With our global ecosystems threatened by climate change, it’s more important than ever to have qualified ecologists working to preserve our environmental future. Ecologists examine the relationships between animals and their environment, to understand things like extinction risk or the impact of commercial industries on local wildlife.
An ecologist can expect an average salary of $68,831*.
The University of Sydney offers a major in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology with its Bachelor of Science course.
7. Environmental policymaker
When politicians need to know how to shape their environmental policy, they turn to (you guessed it!) environmental policymakers who have all the answers. These guys research the ins and outs of problems we’re facing, and come up with strategies for how best to solve those problems. They’re also considering things like financial budgets in their decision making, or whether current approaches and policies are doing an effective job.
Policy officers earn an average of $84,921* per year.
Cane toads are such a big threat to Australian wildlife partly due to their ability to rapidly evolve. In the 83 years since the toad’s fateful introduction, it’s quickly adapted to thrive in Australia’s harshest climates. Australian researchers are currently developing a bioweapon to combat the rogue amphibian, by sequencing its genome to develop a deadly virus that is unique to the cane toad. Reckon you can think outside the box to protect our Aussie wildlife? Then this one’s for you.
On average, geneticists earn a salary of $68,784*.
9. Animal conservationist
What can animals do to protect themselves if their waterholes dry up or disease starts rapidly spreading in their ecosystems? That’s where you come in with a career in animal conservation. Conservationists are working to maintain the delicate balance of environmental conditions and animal wellbeing in the wild. They’ll do that through bushfire prevention or testing water supplies for contaminants, for example.
The University of Sydney have joined forces with Taronga Conservation Society for the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Taronga Wildlife Conservation).
If you’re keen to care for a bevy of cuddly creatures, then becoming a veterinarian might just be the job for you. You could work for a private veterinary practice; vaccinating, neutering and infection-fighting to your heart’s desire. Or, you could choose to work with animals of the exotic or commercial varieties. Snakes, crocs, birds, monkeys, cattle, pigs and horses all need veterinary care… just be careful when choosing which ones to cuddle.
A veterinarian’s average salary is $74,754* per year.
The University of Sydney offers an accredited Bachelor of Veterinary Biology and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine course for students committed to becoming a registered vet.
Finding an animal science career that’s right for you doesn’t have to be a wild goose chase. Check out the University of Sydney’s extensive animal science study options and you’ll get hands-on experience in your dream animal science career.
*Salary information according to Payscale.com
Author: Eliza Brockwell
Eliza is the Digital Producer for Careers with STEM. Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.