How To Become An Animal Nutritionist
An animal nutritionist combines their knowledge of animal behavior, food processing, economics, chemistry, biochemistry and physics to come up with nutritious feed formulations for animals of all ages and types. Thus, you can expect to come up with feeds for birds, fish and mammals depending on your work setting.
As an animal nutritionist, you are expected to be very knowledgeable about the nutritional needs of different animals based on their age, size, breed and type, among other considerations. You also consider the purpose for which the animal will be used in coming up with the nutrient content of the feeds you will formulate. If you are working for a company that raises agricultural animals like hogs which will be butchered for human consumption, you need to consider the formulation that will make them grow with less fat since pork eaters typically prefer lean meat.
For animals in zoos, you will have to consider the vital nutrients that they are able to ingest in their natural environment that they cannot anymore eat in their new environment and substitute those with supplements in their feed formulations.
In this profession, you will also find yourself working with other animal professionals in a variety of settings. You could be asked to become a consultant in agricultural farms or for a veterinarian who wants to know the nutrient formulations for pets who are suffering from a particular kind of illness. You may also work with scientists in the laboratory setting if you’re connected with a company that manufactures animal feeds, striving to find ways to come up with better animal feeds. No matter who you work with, this job will have you working with animals and observing how they react to the fed formulations you have developed.
To succeed as an animal nutritionist, you need to be dedicated to the welfare and nutrition of animals. You also need to be comfortable with the sciences and math of measuring feed formulations. You must also be very observant and possess critical thinking skills so you will be able to solve puzzling questions related to this field. Moreover, you need to be able to communicate your ideas well with clients and your colleagues in order to facilitate understanding.
Why Become An Animal Nutritionist
A career as an animal nutritionist is well-suited for those who are committed to ensuring that animals are fed the proper nutritional formulation in the food they eat. This is also for those who are keenly interested in fusing the realms of animal behavior, nutrition and science in one career. On the practical side, two good reasons to become an animal nutritionist is that they receive good pay and employment opportunities for these professionals are bound to be good in the next few years.
Animal Nutritionist Work Environment
Animal nutritionists may work with government agencies like the United States Department of Agriculture. They may also be hired by colleges and universities as well as companies that do research on the life sciences, engineering and physical sciences. They are also hired by feed companies. The work schedule is often full-time and done during regular business hours. They may need to work outdoors and do farm visits.
Animal Nutritionist Salary
The Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the mean annual wage of animal scientists, the broader occupational category where animal nutritionists can be categorized in, is $72,930. However, they can earn six figure salaries if they are employed by certain industries. Those who work for support activities for animal production are paid $105,460 while those working for the federal executive branch receive $100,660 a year.
Animal Nutritionist Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has revealed a positive career outlook for animal scientists, which include animal nutritionists, in the decade covering 2012 to 2022. The agency projected that the employment rate for animal scientists is pegged at 9 percent, a rate that is about as fast as the national average for all job types. The demand will come from current efforts done in the field of animal science and food safety.
Animal Nutritionist Degree
Aspiring animal nutritionists need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in animal science, animal nutrition or related fields. However, a bachelor’s degree is only enough for entry-level positions. Postgraduate degrees are recommended to prepare one to advance in their careers and teach in colleges and universities.