An animal behaviorist is also known as an Ethologist. If you want to opt for a career in animal behavior, you can always find yourself a job in fields like animal training, research about animal behavior, teaching other potential students, publishing your own work, and advertising. You could also advise your clients on when they can subscribe to certain prescription medicines for their clients, like joint supplements for dogs.
What does an animal behaviorist do?
The primary task of an animal behaviourist is to use the principles of animal behavior to determine how animals interact with each other. The topics of research may include the behavioral responses of these animals, the methods in which they learn, their psychology, and how they behave in their groups. For an applied animal behaviorist, the job is to determine exactly when the problematic behavior of an animal begins. To solve the problem of bad behavior, the behaviorist may suggest alternative forms of treatment that would condition the dog.
An animal behaviorist may also join the academic circle to provide lectures, conduct lab experiments, and further research in this field. In short, their task is to train the next generation of animal behaviorists.
What are the degrees you may require?
To pursue a career in animal behavior, you need to have a degree in either biology, zoology, and other topics related to wildlife, reproductive, and the activities which people conduct in the wild to survive. Related degrees to the topic include a Master of Arts or Science in Animal Behaviour or Ethology. A bachelor’s degree in a similar field will be enough for you to join the field.
Career prospects for an animal behaviorist
In college and research
As an animal behaviorist, you can conduct your own research at a reputed university or college. There are some colleges that have positions for academic study in their zoology or biology department. You may also be appointed in anthropology, entomology, wildlife biology, neuroscience, and sociology in veterinarian colleges. If you wish to conduct research, you will be required to have a Ph.D. and some more postdoctoral training. The more qualifications you have, the better are your chances of being hired by reputed academic colleges.
In primary schools and secondary schools
With a degree in animal behavior, you will be able to accomplish a mammoth task when you join a primary or secondary school. You will be able to influence the attitudes of the upcoming generation towards animals and the natural world. Some high schools also provide biology and social science classes, where you can find the opportunity to teach animal behavior. A job like this allows for a lot of free time and freedom from the obligation to publish material and get grants. The pay is generally moderate, but enough to afford a decent living. You will be required to have a far less amount of academic training than what would be expected of you as a college teacher.
In government and private research places
You can also find work in government-run or private based research institutes. A lot of these jobs require you to obtain more knowledge about the health of these animals. Institutions that are involved with natural resources often require animal behaviorists in their wildlife programs. For this job too, you will be required to have some higher qualifications. Also, while the pay is higher than that of a college professor, you will have lesser autonomy.
In zoos and aquariums
You will be favored for a job in a zoo or an aquarium if you have a degree in animal behavior. This is because people with this degree are expected to have some knowledge about how certain animals move and behave, thus making them more sensitive to the needs of the fauna. The pay for this type of job depends on the type of institution that you may be working at. However, in general, you can expect it to be on the lower side.
In broadcasting and writing
If you want to share your knowledge about animal behavior with others, you can always turn to publish your own book or broadcasting your own television show. While publishing a book sounds easy, you will have to be patient with the publication process. The income for this is quite uncertain as well, for it will depend on how your book performs in the public sphere. On the other hand, if you want to create your own show, you will have to prepare for the expenses of equipment. Instead, you can look for a job as a consultant on a wildlife show. The pay for this is decent, and you will also be able to share your knowledge with the general public.
Advertising is not normally a field that you would associate with animal behavior. Advertisers are constantly monitoring the behavior of animals closely. This type of job calls for an immense amount of intellectual stimulation and creativity. It can be demanding sometimes, but the pay is higher than in academia. You will also create quite the name for yourself if you can do a good job of appealing to the masses. You will also not be required to have high academic training, so animal behaviorists pursuing this career can start earning from white early in their life.
In clinical settings
This is another field in which animal behaviorists can pursue their careers. If you choose this career path, one benefit you may enjoy is making the lives of animals better and well-adjusted. That should provide you with a tremendous amount of satisfaction. You will have to go through a rigorous process of training and an MD degree, but your prospects for getting hired after the training are significantly higher than the other fields since there is far less competition. The pay for this is also quite handsome in this field.
For those who genuinely wish to do something for the environment by tending to animals, a career in animal behavior is sure to bring much rewards and fulfillment all life long.