Do you have a favorite animal? Does it fly, crawl, slither, hop or swim? Want to swim with dolphins or play with baby lions? If you are passionate about animals, you should consider studying animal science. Some of the coolest professions (like working with animals) can come from education in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Check out what you can do if you love animals and want to work with them every day!
How you can work with the animals you love
If you love animals, there may be more than just one path for you. There are general veterinarians that work with all types of household pets. There are also specialists who work with smaller subsets of animals or one particular animal including:
- Equine veterinarians work with horses.
- Wildlife biologists help to study and protect animals in many different wildlife habitats. One such habitat is the ocean, which marine biologists spend their time studying.
- Zookeepers may oversee an entire collection of animals or focus on one specific animal.
- Animal psychologists study how animals interact and why they behave the way they do.
Where STEM comes in
If you love animals, you’re already interested in many aspects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, especially Biology, the study of life and living organisms. Other branches of science that are involved in the study of animals include Chemistry and Psychology.
If you want to better understand animals, these three fields of study are essential. Biology helps us determine how animals look, grow, and behave around each other. Chemistry helps us understand which medicines can help animals when they are sick or hurt. In addition to many scientific fields, veterinarians and others who work with animals must keep up with the latest medicine and technology and determine how it can help animals survive and thrive.
Ways you can learn about animals now!
In addition to exploring your science and technology classes for ways you can learn more about animals, there are several activities you can do right now to continue your animal studies. First, get outside! Explore the zoo in your backyard. You might be surprised with the animals you can find.
Second, find friends that aren’t so furry. Biology clubs at school can help put you in touch with kids with the same interests in caring for animals. In addition, programs like 4-H have local clubs that focus on getting kids like you involved in animal care. You can find a club near you online.
If you can’t make it to a zoo or find a local program to work with your favorite animal, explore an online zoo or aquarium instead. The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute is a great resource. You can find information on all animals A-to-Z, watch your favorites on webcams and learn about how zookeepers, veterinarians, and marine biologists care for all of the animals in the zoo.
If animals with fins are more your thing, check out the website for the National Aquarium in Baltimore or check out the NOAA website for games featuring your favorite fish friends and aquatic mammals. SwitchZoo also has games that allow you to better understand animals and how they interact with their environments.
Still curious about STEM topics and what kind of cool jobs you could have? Check out STEM-works for more information.