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What You Need to Know to Become an Animal Scientist

Animal Scientist

Animals have been domesticated for centuries. Poultry birds, cows, goats, dogs, sheep, buffaloes, etc. are common domesticated animals. Thus, it becomes very important to take care of them as they are of quite economic value. Thus, if you are interested to know more about a career that takes care of domestic animals, then you should explore the career of Animal Scientist.

Animals Scientist is an expert who studies animals under human control. They play an important role in ensuring high agricultural productivity and food safety. As an animal scientist, you will be working to ensure that you help your nation is food supply. You will research on animals, their productivity, their health, their diseases, etc. With the focus on food production, you will work on the nutrition, reproduction, diseases, genes, growth, and development of animals. Your work will be vital in the production of meat, eggs, milk, poultry products, dairy products, etc. You will find new ways in which farmers, dairy owners, poultry owners can upgrade standards of animals, decreases death rate, increase production and manage waste.

Why become an Animal Scientist?

Animal Scientists are the biologists who study animals that are under human control or domesticated. As an animal scientist, you will be working to improve the life of animals and thus contribute to the production and management of animal farms. You could be a specialist who studies domestic pets or dairy animals or poultry animals, or fishes or birds, etc. Animal scientists also do research on different ways of preventing diseases from spreading from animals to humans, food, and other animals. The animal scientist also works towards animal rearing and breeding.

Below are some of the specializations you may choose from –

  1. Animal Nutritionist: Animal nutritionist specializes in animal nutrition which means that they research on the optimum dietary needs of domestic animals, pets, livestock, poultry animals, animals in rehabilitation facilities, zoo animals and wild animals.
  2. Animal Physiologist: Animal physiologist specializes in the study and research of physiological functions and processes of animals and animal parts from the cellular level to organism level.  The discipline covers key homeostatic processes, such as the regulation of temperature, blood flow, and hormones.
  3. Animal Biochemist: Animal Biochemists specialize in the study of different chemical reactions going in the animal bodies for life. They understand the metabolism and functions of animals so that they can find different health issues, cures, diseases, etc. in animals.
  4. Animal Biotechnologist: Animal biotechnologists specialize in the study and development of animals’ genome through molecular biology techniques to improve their suitability for pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial application. They research on how can genes of animals can be modified for improved growth rates and more resistant to diseases.
  5. Animal Genetics & Breeding Scientist: Animal Genetics & Breeding Scientists specialize in breeding research on animals so that animals or livestock with improved growth rate, egg, meat, milk, or wool production, or with other desirable traits are bred.
  6. Aquaculturist: Aquaculturist specializes in farming of aquatic organism including freshwater and marine fish, shellfish and aquatic plants. They also operate, monitor and maintain aquatic farms. They rear fish in a natural environment and controlled environments like ponds, tanks or net cages.
  7. Avian Scientist (Ornithologist): Ornithologists specialize in the study of birds and avian. They study evolution, behaviour, ecology of birds. They also define species of birds, understand their instincts, learning, island biogeography, phylogeography, and conservation.
  8. Dairy Scientist: Dairy Scientist specializes in the study of dairy animals and also research on them to improve dairy production and health of animals.
  9. Fishery Scientist: Fisheries scientists specialize in the management and understand of fisheries. They study and cover disciplines of limnology, oceanography, freshwater biology, marine biology, conservation, ecology, population dynamics, economics, and management to attempt to provide an integrated picture of fisheries.
  10. Poultry Scientist: Poultry scientists specialize in the study of all kinds of birds that are raised for poultry business for food, eggs, feathers, etc. These birds include chicken, geese, turkeys, ducks, etc. They work to improve the health of birds, improve the production of food and ensure the safety of food.
  11. Veterinary Scientist: Veterinary scientists specialize in the study of disease in animals. They study and research hot to diagnose animals, treat them and prevent them from diseases. They also work to prevent diseases spreading from animals to animal products and then to human or other animals.

What does Animal Scientist do?

As an Animal Scientist, depending on your field of specialization, you would have the following roles and responsibilities:

  1. You will study the nutritional requirements of animals and nutritive values of animal feed materials.
  2. You will advise producers about improved products and techniques that could enhance their animal production efforts.
  3. You will develop improved practices in feeding, housing, sanitation, or parasite and disease control of animals.
  4. You will write up or orally communicate research findings to the scientific community, producers, and the public.
  5. You will Study the effects of management practices, processing methods, feed, or environmental conditions on quality and quantity of animal products, such as eggs and milk.

How to become an Animal Scientist – Eligibility criteria

Becoming a Animal Scientist typically requires a combination of education and experience. Here are the typical educational requirements:

Undergraduate studies after school:

To become an Animal Scientist, you should complete your schooling with Biology, Chemistry, and Physics and join for an undergraduate course of Bachelor of Science in Animal Science/ Zoology/ Dairy Technology/ Animal Husbandry & Dairying/ Fisheries / Poultry Science/ related field (Honours or specialization is an advantage).

Alternatively, you can study Veterinary Science & Animal Husbandry for 5.5 years.

If you have completed 12th with Mathematics, then you can apply for Dairy Technology course.

Post Graduate studies:

After finishing science graduation, you can take the M.Sc. course in the various field of Animal Science. At this level you will study any of the following specializations like Animal Biochemistry, Animal Biotechnology, Animal Ecology & Conservation Biology, Animal Ethology (Animal Behaviour), Animal Genetics & Breeding, Animal Husbandry, Animal Husbandry Economics, Animal Nutrition, Animal Physiology, Animal Reproduction, Animal Sciences, Animal Welfare, Aquaculture, Aquatic Animal Health, Aquatic Environment Management, Avian Science & Medicine, Dairy Science, Equine Husbandry, Medicine and Surgery, Equine Science & Medicine, Fish Processing Technology, Fish Product Technology, Fisheries Extension & Education, Fisheries Resource Management, Fishery Economics, Fishery Engineering, Fishery Microbiology, Fishery Sciences, Fodder and Feed Technology, Human-Animal Interactions & Ethics, Inland Fisheries, Laboratory Animal Science, Livestock Economics, Livestock Farm Complex Management, Livestock Production Management, Livestock Products Technology, Meat and Meat Products Technology, Other Animal Sciences, Poultry Husbandry, Poultry Science, Veterinary Biological Products, Veterinary Science, Zoo and Wild Animal Health Cure and Management.

Doctoral Studies:

The Animal Scientist is a specialized scientist, and thus research becomes an important part of the pathway. Thus, after completing Post Graduate Studies, you can choose to take a Ph.D. in Veterinary Science, Poultry Science, Dairy Technology, Fisheries, etc.

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Educational Fees

The educational fees for becoming an Animal Scientist in India vary depending on the university and the course. However, the fees range from INR 50,000 to INR 1.5 lakhs per year. Apart from tuition fees, students also need to bear additional expenses such as hostel fees, food, transportation, and study materials. Some universities also offer scholarships and financial aid to meritorious students.

Job Opportunities

  • Most of the universities and college will hire you as a professor at the position of Junior Professor or Assistant Professor. If you are into research, then you will be hired at the position of research associate. Ph.D. research fellows will be hired as a Junior Research Fellow.
  • Research laboratories and Research Institutes will hire you as a scientist/scientist officer with the lowest grade (Grade C).
  • Dairy farms are the biggest recruiters of Dairy Technologist. At the entry-level, you may join a dairy at the role of Dairy Plant Supervisor.
  • Veterinary Doctor at Veterinary Hospitals and Clinics.
  • Farm Manager at Poultry farms.
  • As a scientific advisor with PETA and other animal care

You can find job opportunities at the following facilities:

  • Animal Science Research Institute like National Institute of Animal Biotechnology, etc.
  • Biotechnology Organizations
  • Food Institutes
  • Zoos, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries
  • Medical Research Institutes like Institute for Stem Cell Science and Regenerative Medicine.
  • Research institutes like Wildlife Institute of India,
  • Veterinary Hospitals
  • Dairy companies like Amul, Mother Dairy, etc.
  • Poultry farms

Salary of Animal Scientist

At the entry level, you can join as a research associate with a basic salary of Rs. 25,000 INR to 30,000. As a doctoral research fellow (junior research fellow) you would be earning around Rs. 35,000 to 38,000 per month. At the entry level, as a Scientist (grade C) you would be earning around Rs. 80,000 to 100,000 per month. As an assistant professor, you would be earning anything between Rs. 65,000 INR to 70,000 per month. At the entry level, you can join as a dairy plant supervisor and earn around Rs. 10,000 INR to 20,000 per month. As a Veterinary doctor, you will earn anything between Rs. 30,000 to 50,000.

At the junior level with a work experience of 2-6 years, you would be earning anything between Rs. 1,20,000 INR to 1,40,000 per month.

At the middle level with an experience of 10-12 years, you would be earning anything between Rs. 1,40,000 to 1,90,000 per month as a scientist and Rs. 1,20,000 INR to 1,60,000 as a professor.

At the senior level of over 15 years of work experience, you would be earning anything between Rs. 1,60,000 to 2,00,000 per month as a professor and Rs. 2,10,000 to 2,50,000 per month as a Scientist.

Career progression in Animal Scientist

Research laboratories will hire you as a scientist/scientist officer with the lowest grade and the grade changes from low to high. In India, grades are “Scientist “C” as the joining level and then D, E, F, G, H and finally DS. A senior-level scientist can also get into administrative positions like Principal Scientist, Assistant Director, Deputy Director, Director, etc.

The career growth in university and college states from Assistant Professor and then Associate Professor, Professor and Professor Emeritus. Professors can also get administrative positions such as Director/Dean/Vice Chancellor, etc.

If you are hired as a research associate (JRF and SRF), then you will go on to become a Doctoral Research Fellow, then Post-Doctoral Research Fellow and then Scientist in Progressive Grades.  

If you join a private organization, pharmaceutical companies as a research scientist, then you will move to senior research scientist and principal scientist with work experience.

If you join a dairy plant, then you join as a dairy plant supervisor, later become assistant manager or Dairy plant manager. With a few years of work experience, you become a purchasing officer and then Logistics Manager and finally Quality control officer.

If you join the food industry, FMCG, etc., then you will start your career as a Trainee Microbiologist or Trainee Food Technologist. With experience, you will become Quality Assurance Executive, Assistant Manager, Senior Manager, Deputy Manager (Quality) and Production Manager.

India is the largest producer and consumer of dairy products. In 2016, according to BusinessWire, the Indian dairy industry was worth 5,000 billion INR. Presently the organized sector constitutes only 20% of this market, 46 percent is still unorganized, and 34% is consumed locally. These data show that there is immense potential for the organized dairy industry in India. If the market doesn’t grow, the organized sector can still increase by four times. This potential means there is a high prospect for a career in this field. Ice cream market is growing at a rate of 15-20% per year, and the cheese industry is growing at a rate of over 31% per year.

In 2016-17, fishing employed over 14 million people in India. India exported around US$ 5.78 billion worth of fish in 2017. The production of fish has doubled between 1990 to 2010. Overall, Indian focus on the fishing farm will give a new dimension to the industry that was more depending on inland and ocean fishing. Thus, opening new opportunities for animal scientists.

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