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Top 10 Majors for Animal Lovers

Pursuing your passions and hobbies doesn’t have to stop in college! If your favorite pastime is hanging out with animals, there are a wide variety of animal majors you can choose from when you decide to continue your education. Take some time to look through this list and get inspiration for your new collegiate adventure!

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Why we chose these majors

While the majors below aren’t your only options to nurture your love for animals, our list features some of the more commonly seen fields of study. We’ve included a variety of possibilities for animal lovers, from veterinarian to conservationist so that you can start getting ideas for your upcoming career. It makes sense that many of the careers we included are geared for STEM majors. All stats cited are from the latest information found on the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Keep reading below to find out more!

See also: Top ten pet friendly colleges and universities

List of careers for animal lovers

1. Zoology

One of the more straightforward ways to interact with animals of all different species is to pursue a major in zoology. It’s a form of science that studies animals. In this field of study, you’ll be examining domesticated and wild animals, and you can use this degree to start a path toward being a veterinarian. However, there are multiple options for a career in zoology, so do your research and find out what’s best for you. 

2. Animal Science

If you decide to pursue a major in animal science, it’s likely that you’ll get a chance to study animals in all sorts of different habitats. As a science degree path, you’ll also be expected to take biology courses on top of classes like animal nutrition and behavior. 

Since it’s an overall animal degree, don’t be shy when it comes to exploring job opportunities. You could work on a farm or become a breeding manager, whatever interests you the most.

3. Pre-Veterinary Medicine  

Pre-veterinary medicine is a straightforward path right toward becoming a veterinarian. However, you will still have to go to vet school after receiving your bachelor’s degree to officially become a vet. Fortunately, this major is aimed at helping you become a desirable vet school applicant. 

This degree of study will include information on genetics as well as animal diseases and prevention. Try to pair this with an internship to make yourself stand out in your vet school application. 

  • Possible career: Veterinarian
    • 2021 Median Pay: $100,370 annually
    • Level of Education: Doctoral or professional degree
    • Growth Rate (2021-2031): 19%

4. Oceanography 

This major deals entirely with the largest bodies of water on Earth, the oceans and seas! While uncovering the depths of the ocean, you’ll likely learn about the countless animals that reside in it. 

Oceanography has a little bit of everything for everyone since it includes climate change, marine life, meteorology, and much more. There will likely be an emphasis on technology since it’s one of the necessary parts of oceanic exploration.  

  • Possible career: Hydrologist
    • 2021 Median Pay: $84,030 annually
    • Level of Education: Bachelor’s degree
    • Growth rate (2021-2031): 0%

5. Marine Biology 

Though marine biology and oceanographers are similar, marine biology doesn’t include underwater volcanoes and tectonic plates. Marine biologists focus exclusively on underwater species with some background in oceanography concepts. There’s no shortage of marine life to study in this field, so you should be able to stay interested and get a feel for your options. 

6. Wildlife Conservation

If you’re passionate about saving the environment and the wildlife within it, then this field of study is for you. It’s likely that you’ll learn about different endangered species as well as repopulation tactics. 

Hopefully, your work will take you into different places to observe and manage wildlife habitats. Wherever you go, you’re sure to make an impact and leave your mark!

7. Ecology

Ecology is the study of organisms and their relationships with one another and the world around them. In this major, you’ll be able to get a mix of everything from biology to social sciences. 

It’s a more general way to study animals, but there are varying group sizes that you can focus on such as an individual species or a population. Be sure to look into the curriculum offered for this major at your school of choice to know the specifics. 

  • Possible Career: Geographer
    • 2021 Median Pay: $85,220
    • Level of Education: Bachelor’s degree
    • Growth Rate (2021-2031): 0%

8. Biology

In STEM majors, biology is one of the more known options. As a result of its broad nature, you have different concentrations and professions available to you. 

However, if you specifically want to work with animals, you might want to focus in areas such as evolution and microbiology. Biology also provides opportunities to conduct experiments and dissections to understand animals and their biological makeup. 

  • Possible Career: Microbiologist
    • 2021 Median Pay: $79,260 annually
    • Level of Education: Bachelor’s degree
    • Growth Rate (2021-2031): 9%

9. Equine Science 

If you love horses, then this is the major for you! Equine science involves the anatomy, nutrition and management of horses. The concentrations vary depending on your school, but you’ll likely have to get comfortable in a farm setting with this degree field. 

Fortunately, you might get a chance to eventually see a foal’s first steps or even help deliver one yourself! You’ll also get to combine your love of horses with your career, which can lead to fulfillment and success. 

  • Possible Career: Agricultural Worker
    • 2021 Median Pay: $29,680
    • Level of Education: High school diploma
    • Growth Rate (2021-2031): 1%

10.  Environmental Science

This major is the intersection between caring for the environment and loving animals in their natural habitats. You’ll likely have a chance to research different animal food chains and their effects on the environment around them!

In your studies, you’ll also examine the impact humans have on the world and possibly theorize ways to cut our carbon footprint. There are many places this field of study can take you, so be sure to do your research. 

Growth Rate (2021-2031): 5%

Next Steps

Next Steps

  • Once you’ve picked your desired major, try to research schools that specialize in that field for a well-regarded degree amongst your future colleagues
  • Research the job options to figure out the best concentration for your major to get your desired career 
  • Take your study habits seriously since STEM majors are academically rigorous. Get into a groove of what works best for you on exams as soon as possible
  • Try to apply for work study or assistantships on campus to gain hands-on experience with your major
  • Form study groups to get closer to your peers and to stay on top of your coursework
Next Steps

Frequently asked questions about college majors for animal lovers

What’s the difference between zoology and animal science?

Zoology majors study the behaviors, distribution, and evolution of animals. Meanwhile, animal science majors study animals that live amongst humans, such as farm animals and pets.

What is the highest paying job working with animals?

  Working as a veterinarian is one of the highest-paying animal careers for animal lovers. Veterinarians can work in many different settings, including their own private practice as well as farms and zoos.