Do you have an intense love for animals? Are you intrigued by what is going on in their heads when they behave the way that they do?
If you can relate to all of this, why not consider becoming an animal psychologist? Not only will a career in this field allow you to explore the minds of our furry and feathered friends, but it will provide you with a decent paycheck as well!
Just what does an animal psychologist do? The tasks that these professionals are responsible for vary depending on where they choose to work.
For example, the responsibilities of a pet psychologist will be very different from those of someone who chooses to work with zoo animals.
Nevertheless, some common responsibilities of animal psychologists can be found listed below.
- Diagnose Animal Disorders
- Observe Animal Behavior
- Create Plans to Solve Animal Disorders
- Conduct Behavior Modification and/or Training
- Study How Animals Interact
- Conduct Research Studies Pertaining to Animal Behavior
- Give Lectures on Animal Behavior
One of the best features of choosing to become an animal psychologist is that there are many different work environments you can choose to work within.
No matter whether you want to work with dogs and cats, zoo animals, marine animals, or birds of prey, there is a work environment that will suit you! Just a few of the most common work settings are as follows:
- Animal Clinics and Hospitals
- Large Animal Practices
- Animal Training Centers
- Colleges and Universities
- Research Facilities
- Zoological Parks
- Marine Life Centers/Aquariums
- Wild Life Centers
Training RequirementsThe amount of training you will need as an animal psychologist is highly dependent on your ambitions and goals.
For instance, to obtain employment in teaching or research, you will need more education than you would need if you choose to work in animal training or technology.
Nevertheless, the minimum requirement for this field is to earn a bachelor of science degree in animal behavior. Just some of the courses you will need to complete during your training include those listed here.
- General Chemistry
- Animal Biology
- Research Methods
- Statistics in Animal Psychology
- Advanced Animal Behavior
- Animal Behavior and Biology
- Animal Cognition
As stated above, some sectors of animal psychology require advanced education and training. In these cases, you will need to go on to earn a master of arts or science degree in animal behavior. Additionally, some sectors require such credentials as a graduate degree, PhD or DVM. These types of programs require much more advanced coursework such as the classes you will find listed below.
- Environmental Science
- Marine Biology
- Mathematical Statistics
- Experimental Psychology
- Comparative Psychology
- Animal Science
To increase your chances of obtaining employment as an animal psychologist, it is highly recommended that you obtain special certification through the Animal Behavior Society or the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. The ABS and the ACVB offer two levels of special certifications to persons who have graduated from approved animal behavior/psychology programs.
The first level of certification is known as the Associate Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist. This credential is for people who have earned a master degree in animal behavior/psychology. The second level of certification is known as the Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist. This credential is for those who have earned doctoral degrees or DVM degrees.
The salaries of animal psychologists vary widely depending on such factors as credentials, experience, location and employer. However, a typical salary range for this field is about $35,000 to as much as $90,000 per year. The middle-ground average salary is approximately $40,000 to $60,000 per year.
Additionally, depending on your employer, you may also enjoy such terrific employee benefits as paid vacations, health insurance and annual or earned salary increases.
Now, you may be wondering if there is a demand for persons in this occupation. In fact, there is a growing need for animal psychologists, especially in such work settings as research and teaching.
With excellent starting salaries and flexible work environments, animal psychology is a great career choice if you love animals! No matter whether you want to work with household pets, wildlife, zoo animals or marine life, there is a position as an animal psychologist waiting for you!