Animal Behavior


Welcome to the Animal Behavior Section
Welcome to the Animal Behavior Section




Careers in Animal Behavior

So, you love animals and you've decided you might like to pursue a career in animal behavior. One of the first things you should be aware of is that different levels of education are required for specific jobs. In this section on CAREERS, you'll find:

List of Careers

Careers that Do Not Require a College Degree

Careers that Require A College Degree

Careers that Require A Graduate Degree (MS, PhD, or DVM)

Training and Preparation

Technical Training/Special Certification

Community College Programs for Animal Behavior

Graduate Training (MS, PhD) at Accredited Universities

Certification Programs (do not require college)

 

Careers that Do Not Require a College Degree

  • Dog trainer (although some programs for dog trainers require a degree or certification)
  • Pet shop employee
  • Groomer
  • Professional handler (show dogs)
  • Kennel worker, shelter kennel staff
  • Worker at a stable (horses)
  • Horse trainer (although some programs require a degree or certification)
  • Zoo employee (trainers require degrees or specialized training, see below)

For a listing of jobs in zoos and Aquariums see: www.aza.org/joblistings

 

Careers that Require a College Degree

  • Director of Training (at some dog training schools, zoos, other animal programs)
  • Animal related business management (pet super stores, pet food industry)
  • Curators, Docents (most require a BS degree) at a zoo, aquarium, museums

 

Careers that Require a Graduate Degree (MS, PhD)

  • University professor, college teaching (PhD or DVM)
  • Researcher (PhD or DVM)
  • Research assistant (usually MS or above)
  • Community College/Junior College teaching (MS or above; some require PhD)
  • Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist

 

Technical Training/ Special Certification (may also require college)

  • Animal Assisted Therapy
  • Animal Control Officer
  • Dog Trainer
  • Horse Trainer
  • Marine Mammal Training
  • Police K9 Training
  • Search & Rescue Dogs
  • Service Dog Training
  • Zoo and Exotic Animal Training

 

Community College Programs Offering Associate Degree (2 years of college)

  • Moorpark College (CA) Exotic Animal Training + Management

 

Careers in Animal Behavior University Programs

Graduate Training (Master's and PhD)

There are hundreds of graduate programs that provide academic training related to animals. Many of these programs focus on basic research that is done in a lab setting. Examples of areas of study include: animal communication, applied ethology, behavioral ecology, ethology, natural history, social behavior, experimental psychology and zoology.

Within these categories, a graduate student can work on projects such as the vision of insects, reproductive habits of birds, choice of habitats for fish, sexual behavior in different species, aggression in specific species, sensory mechanisms, etc. If, in addition to the department's curriculum, a faculty is willing to allow a student to gain experience and participate in projects related to applied animal behavior, these degree programs may be well-suited for preparing students who desire a career in animal behavior. For a list of these programs, see the Animal Behavior Society web page at www.animalbehavior.org

Applied Animal Behavior Programs

The programs below have provided students with the opportunity to do applied (real-world, non-lab) work in animal behavior. Because faculty members move and retire and research projects may change over time, when deciding on a graduate school it is important to interview faculty and visit the school.

These are at accredited universities; these are not online programs.

Auburn University
Auburn, Alabama
Cynthia A. McCall, PhD
334-844-1556
cmccall@acesag.auburn.edu
Applied ethology, Learning and Social behavior.
Secondary reinforcement in horse training, learning ability in horses.

University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ
Irene M. Pepperberg, PhD
520-621-8883
impepper@u.arizona.edu
Learning/cognition, development of communication in birds, African Grey Parrot.

University of California - Davis
Davis, CA
Lynette A. Hart, PhD
530-752-7722
lahart@ucdavis.edu
Applied ethology – companion animals and wildlife, human-animal interactions.

Bucknell University
Lewisburg, PA
Graduate Studies in Animal Behavior
570-577-1200
www.bucknell.edu/AnimalBehavior
This program in animal behavior is administered by the departments of biology and psychology. The program is intended primarily for those who hope to earn a Ph.D. or wish to amplify their expertise in an animal-related career, such as laboratory research, field research, or conservation biology. Although much of the coursework is lab-based, some of the students who have completed this program are working in applied areas.

University of California- San Diego
La Jolla, CA
Edmund Fantino, PhD
619-452-3927
efantino@ucsd.edu
Operant Conditioning, learning, reinforcement (pigeons)

Georgia Institute of Technology
Atlanta, GA
M. Jackson Marr, PhD
404-894-2635
mm27@prism.gatech.edu
Operant conditioning, schedules of reinforcement, applications of
behavior analysis at Zoo Atlanta

University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign)

Degree program in applied animal behavior.
The Master of Science in Biology degree offers a specialization in Applied Animal Behavior. This is an interdisciplinary, interdepartmental program administered through the Masters in Biology Program, with adjunct support from the ASPCA (www.aspca.org). It is designed to provide graduate training for careers in applied animal behavior, including academia; companion animal behavior consulting; shelter behavior; training and enrichment for animal shelters, zoo, laboratory and livestock animals; and commercial pet care industries.

Indiana University
Center for Integrative Study of Animal Behavior
Bloomington, IN
William Timberlake, Ph.D.
812-855-4042
timberla@indiana.edu
Animal behavior and learning theory, supervised animal behavior
projects in zoos.

Mount Holyoke College
South Hadley, MA
Karen L. Hollis, PhD
413-538-2296
khollis@mtholyoke.edu
Learning, conditioning, classical conditioning (fish)

City University of New York/City College (CUNY)
New York, New York
Joseph G. Griswold, PhD (retired faculty)
212-650-8461
jggris@comcast.net
Social behavior and communication in dogs, has worked with shelter dogs

Cornell University
Ithaca, NY
Katherine A. Houpt, DVM, PhD
607-253-3450
kah3@cornell.edu
Veterinary behaviorist, works with horses, dogs, other domestic animals

Duke University
Durham, NC
John (J.E.) Staddon, PhD
919-660-5725
staddon@psych.duke.edu
Operant conditioning, work is theoretical and experimental (lab based)

University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN
John C. New, DVM
615-546-5576
jnew@utk.edu
Therapeutic use of companion animals (animal-assisted therapy)

University of North Texas
Denton, TX
Jesus Rosales - Ruig, PhD
Jesus.rosales-ruig@unt.edu
http://irgs.unt.edu/orca

Texas A & M University
College Station, TX
Bonnie Beaver, DVM
409-845-2351
bbeaver@cvm.tamu.edu
Behavior problems in domestic animals, environmental enrichment

Arlington, TX
James Kopp, PhD
817-273-3237
kopp@uta.edu
Operant conditioning, learning, reinforcement, schedules of reinforcement

Washington State University
Pullman, WA
Frances K. McSweeney, PhD
509-335-3049
fkmcs@mail.wsu.edu
Learning-reinforcement, work is mostly experimental (lab); has been on the advisory board for the journal Animal Learning and Behavior.

West Virginia University
Morgantown, WV
Kennon A. Lattal, PhD
304-293-2001 x 608
klattal@wvu.edu
Behavioral theory, pet behavior, animal behavior problems, supervises research on animal behavior problems (dogs, cats)

Back To Careers In Animal Behavior

Careers in Animal Behavior


Technical Training and Certification Programs

Animal Assisted Therapy (sometimes called "pet therapy")

Delta Society-Pet Partners Program

www.deltasociety.org

Therapy Dogs International

www.tdi-dog.org

Animal Control Officer

National Animal Control Association

www.nacanet.org

Dog Trainers/Animal Behavior Consultants

Organizations for Professionals (certification, conferences, Continuing Education)

American Kennel Club (obedience and other clubs to teach training)

www.akc.org (Click on CLUBS)

Animal Behavior Society

www.animalbehaviorsociety.org

 Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT)

(certifies trainers, conferences)

www.apdt.com

International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)

(certifies trainers, conferences)

www.iaabc.org

International Association of Canine Professionals (IACP)

(certifies trainers, conferences)

www.dogpro.org 

Private, Non-Profit and for Profit Dog (and Behavior) Training Schools

Cynology College (online program)

www.cynologycollege.com

Animal Behavior College (online/at-home study)

www.animalbehaviorcollege.com

San Francisco SPCA Academy for Dog Trainers

www.sfspca.org/academy/index.shtml

Karen pryor Academy
www.karenpryoracademy.com

Horse Trainer

Horse Training Schools (academic, apprenticeship, career schools, etc)

www.infohorse.com/html/schools.asp

Marine Mammal Training

Dolphin Trainer website

www.dolphintrainer.com

International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA)

www.imata.org

Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA)

(Does not have individual members, open to facilities and organizations)

www.ammpa.org

The Society for Marine Mammology (SMM)

www.marinemammalogy.org/

European Association for Acquatic Mammals

www.eaam.org/

Police K9 Training

United States Police K9 Association

www.uspcak9.com/training/k9traininwhatwhenwhy.shtml

Search & Rescue Dogs

National Association for Search & Rescue

www.nasar.org/nasar/specialty_fields.php

Service Dog Training

http://www.wolfpacks.com/serviced.htm

Zoos and Exotic Animal Training

Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)

www.aza.org

 

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