Reasons why a career in Animal Science could be for you
Interested in a career in animal science? Animal science jobs (categorised in Job Mail’s Medical category), extend into a wide variety of fields of specialisation. So whether you are interested in agriculture, animal health, reproduction or nutrition, finding employment within this scientific field is for you.
So, what is Animal Science?
Animal Science is a really interesting field of study as it covers most of the aspects involved in the production of animals as well as the production of animal products.
This field of science ranges to include all husbandry facets of livestock (including goats, ostriches, cattle, horses, sheep and poultry) as well as the products they produce (like wool, eggs, dairy, meat and leather). Animal Sciences also range to include various aspects of wild and aquatic life.
These sciences are divided into three main disciplines – physiology, breeding and nutrition. Do note however that animal science jobs also deal with the sciences of animal products like dairy and meat.
Benefits of pursuing Animal Science jobs
With the right education, you can go into a wide variety of sectors that involve animals and agriculture – this varies to include a wide selection of animal science jobs including animal health jobs with job titles like Animal Health Technician.
Depending on your education as well as your specialisation, you can find work in various fields. Going into the field of animal science you will have the opportunity to work in a range of different environments. If you are more of an indoor person, you can go into the Education and Research fields. If you love the outdoors and the sun on your skin, you can go into the field of nature conservation.
If you go into the field of Legislation, you will have the opportunity to bring about changes in the industry. Working at institutions like the Department of Agriculture, you have the ability to make meaningful changes that will benefit both nature and the people consuming its natural resources.
By going into the field of research, you will have the opportunity to make changes within the industry that benefit both humans and the natural resources of our planet. With solid research you can make educational decisions and actionable plans.
Within the field of animal breeding you will have the opportunity to specialise in the breeding of various species, enabling you to genetically improve animals or even have the opportunity to dip your toes into conservation and help to protect an animal population.
If you have a passion for development, growth and the reproduction of animals (domesticated, wild and aquatic life), a specialisation in animal breeding is for you. Within this field you will have the opportunity to explore how nutrition, the environment and the genetics of animals have an effect on an animal’s homeostasis as well as these animal’s abilities to reproduce.
Interested in nutrition? Animal science jobs give you the opportunity to specialise in the field of animal nutrition – a field of scientific study that has become more and more important over the years as the need for foodstuffs for animals and humans are increasing. Within animal nutrition, you will not only focus on maintaining livestock without affecting human foodstuffs, but also giving livestock sufficient nutrition. You will study how nutrition influences animal tissue and organs as well as the production of quality animal products (such as milk and meat).
Love animals and want to make a hands-on difference in conservation? Animal science jobs are for you. Within the field of wildlife management you will have the opportunity to go into conservation, studying physiology, nutrition and production management.
Making an important contribution to South African agriculture, Grassland Sciences is another great field within Animal Sciences. You will explore soil conservation, environment conservation, food supply for the farming industry as well as intensive pasture production.
One of the great benefits of pursuing animal science jobs is the huge amount of fields you can specialise in. Some of the career opportunities available within animal science include development agencies, research institutions, breed societies, government institutions, feed manufacturers, farmer cooperatives and pharmaceutical companies.
Study towards a qualification in Animal Science
If you have an interest in animal health and the sciences behind it, you can study towards a degree at numerous educational institutions in South Africa.
The University of Pretoria (TUKS)
The University of Pretoria’s Animal and Wildlife Sciences faculty offers both undergraduate and postgraduate training. The undergraduate programme on offer from TUKS spans over four years and entails scientific knowledge, animal nutrition, nutrition and animal physiology, to name but a few examples.
You can choose between two degrees – a BSc(Ahric) Animal Science / Pasture Science and a BSc(Agric) Animal Science. Within the postgraduate training programme, you can go further into animal sciences with an MSc(Agric) followed by a PhD.
Another postgraduate degree programme on offer includes Wildlife Management allowing students to obtain a degree within four main research areas such as animal nutrition, animal physiology, production management and animal breeding.
University of Stellenbosch
The University of Stellenbosch also offers a four year bachelor’s degree (BScAgric) in the field of Animal Science. At Stellenbosch the programme is divided into four study fields, including Animal Science, Animal Science with Aquaculture, Animal Science with Agronomy, and Agricultural Economics with Animal Science (note that this degree entails a major in Agricultural Economics).
You first year of studies will include Chemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics. After graduating with a BScAgric you will be able to pursue opportunities that range to include various animal science jobs including a position as an animal health technician as well as a variety of other animal health jobs.
University of the Free State
At the University of the Free State, the Animal, Wildlife and Grassland Sciences faculty focusses on three main disciplines. These disciplines range to include Animal Breeding, Animal Nutrition and Animal Physiology, and Grassland Sciences.
Animal Breeding involves the genetic evaluation of livestock. Within this field of Animal Science you will mainly focus on genetics (in both livestock as well as several wildlife species) and have the opportunity to work with some of the most advanced mixed model methodology and genomic information so that you can identify the most superior animals for selection.
Animal Nutrition involves various aspects of nutrition (like the characteristics and material types and the nutrition needed by different species). Collecting and assessing this information, you will then be able to create and integrate a system that is both economical and practical, ensuring that the best genetic production potential of animals is achieved.
Within Animal Physiology you will work with the physiological processes of animals or livestock under various, specific conditions. You will also have the opportunity to investigate sciences within this field ranging to include the manipulation of reproduction, helping to create more efficient poultry and livestock production.
Grassland Science is yet another fascinating field within Animal Science and involves the various aspects of conservation, utilisation and the improvement of cultivated pastures and rangeland.
Some of the other universities where you can complete your studies include the University of Venda, the University of Fort Hare, North-West University and the University of Limpopo.
Ready to start finding animal science jobs categorised in our Medical category? Register your CV on Job Mail today and start applying for jobs in your field of specialisation – from a position in conservation to an animal health technician job, you will find it on Job Mail.