3 Animal Behavior Careers

There are many different animal behavior careers, ranging from animal control officer to animal trainer. Here are 3 animal behavior careers to consider.

1. Animal Control Officers

Animal control officers work for non-profit associations and for government and law enforcement agencies. An animal control officer will be responsible for investigating complaints about animal neglect and cruelty toward domestic animals, as well as animals in zoos and research facilities. As a law enforcement officer, an animal control officer will conduct investigations and searches, and possibly make arrests if warranted. If the animal control officer works in a facility where animals are kept, they may also be responsible for the care of animals and sometimes for euthanizing animals. Animal control officers usually have at least a high school diploma or GED, as well as training in law enforcement, and, if required, a state certificate that will allow them to euthanize animals.

2. Researchers

As a researcher in animal behavior, you will need a graduate degree, usually a PhD, in agricultural studies, animal behavior or zoology. There is employment available in these fields working with zoos and in academic settings, as well as with non-profit organizations. As a a researcher, you will be responsible for conducting research on the animals, monitoring and testing their behavior, seeing to the animals' human care and feeding, and attempting to reduce their anxiety while in captivity. If you are a professor as well as a researcher, you will be responsible for teaching students, supervising graduate students and their research and writing articles and books for publication.

3. Animal Trainers

Animal trainers can work with large and small domesticated animals, as well as wild animals in captivity. As an animal trainer for a small animal, such as dogs and cats, you will consult with owners on behavior issues such as aggression and improper training, and come up with a plan to correct the behavior, if possible. Some trainers will consult in the owner's home, or they will train the animal in their own facility.

There are a few careers for small animal trainers who prepare animals for work in film and television. Breaking into this industry will usually depend on the number of animals that you have available for work, and it will require that you live in an area with a strong film and television industry, such as Los Angeles.

If you train larger domestic animals, namely horses, you will have a background as a horse rider, usually in a particular field such as show or dressage or working horses (such as cutting horses) and will train the horse for show, work or pleasure riding. You will usually train the horse on your own facility or at a stable that offers training.

Some larger facilities will use animal trainers to work with their large animals, such as zoos and aquatic centers. Animal trainers in these facilities will work with larger animals to lessen their anxiety by performing complex tasks, either for their own benefit, or for the amusement of patrons of the facility. Most animal trainers who work in these facilities will have at least an undergraduate degree in animal behavior, zoology or marine studies.