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Animal Care Program Overviews

Majors Overview March 22, 2013

The field of animal care usually deals with nutrition and other needs of domestic small animals. Bachelor, associate, and certificate degree programs are available in this field. In this article, we will discuss what students should consider when choosing a college or university, along with the standard curriculum of certificate and degree programs in the field.

Choosing an Animal Care College or University

Aspiring students who are interested in pursuing a degree program in animal care should consider the college or university’s facilities along with quantities and types of animals treated at the facility. Colleges or universities with an animal care facility can offer hands-on internship or additional opportunities to practice techniques learned in the program. With this knowledge and experience, students will become an attractive candidate for employers along with being prepared to work in the field.

While selecting a suitable school, a student must also consider what career path he or she wishes to follow. For instance, some schools offer concentration areas of study devised to prepare enrolled students to treat small animals in a kennel management set up or an animal control career. Additionally, several programs prepare students to continue their studies in pre-veterinary or veterinary technician bachelor or associate degree programs. Students should also seek a program that trains them to work in or pursue continuing education in an area of their interest.

Schools that carry accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) are best suited for those who aspire to work as a veterinarian or veterinary technician. Students will be eligible to take the veterinary-technology credentialing examination once they have completed the program from an American Veterinary Medical Association accredited school. Additionally, it may be a requirement to earn a degree from an AVMA-accredited school in order to attend a veterinary school.

Overview of Animal Care Programs

Animal Care Certificate Program

Certificate program usually covers handling and basic care of domestic animals, and generally takes one year to complete the program. The program typically includes these courses: animal behavior, medical terminology, physiology and anatomy, general biology, and zoology. Several programs include an internship.

Associate in Applied Science in Animal Care

Coursework in an associate degree program focuses on clinical lab procedures, animal health fundamentals, clinical animal nursing, animal breeding, and animal management. The majority of the second year study typically focuses on veterinary clinical duties and course work. Students are allowed to specialize in caring for a certain type of animal in several programs. A majority of programs include internships and lab training.

Bachelor of Science Programs

Undergraduate degree programs related to animal care can be titled ‘human leadership’, ‘animal sciences’, or ‘animal and veterinary sciences’. The human leadership program concentrates on leading animal care organizations or facilities. These programs may lead individuals to attend veterinarian medical school or a career in research; in addition to preparing individuals for a career as an animal care technician. Classes in these programs include animal nutrition, animal physiology, animal behavior and health, and human resource management, as well as science courses such as genetics, biology, and chemistry. A majority of programs include internships and lab courses.

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