Animal Breeders and Technicians
There are approximately 9,000 animal breeders in the United States. Animal breeders and technicians used to work for themselves, but today most are employed by corporate breeders. A few may still own their own livestock ranches, and some do it only as a sideline or hobby.
Many junior colleges participate in "learn-and-earn" programs, in which the college and prospective employer jointly provide the student's training, both in the classroom and through on-the-job work with livestock and other animals. Most technical programs offer placement services for graduates, and the demand for qualified people often exceeds the supply.
Even when a good training or technical program is completed, the graduate often must begin work at a low level before advancing to positions with more responsibility. But the technical program graduate will advance much more rapidly to positions of major responsibility and greater financial reward than the untrained worker.
Those graduates willing to work hard and keep abreast of changes in their field may advance to livestock breeder, feedlot manager, supervisor, or artificial-breeding distributor. If they have the necessary capital, they can own their own livestock ranches. Some breeders work as consultants to farmers.
Tips for Entry
Read publications such as the Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Journal of Animal Science, and Animal Frontiers to learn more about the field and potential employers.
Visit the following Web sites for job listings:
Attend industry conferences held by the American Society of Animal Science and other associations to network and to interview for jobs.