Animal Breeders and Technicians


Education and Training Requirements

High School

High school students seeking to enter this field will find that the more agriculture and science courses they take in high school, the better prepared they will be. In addition, courses in mathematics, business, communications, chemistry, and mechanics are valuable.

Postsecondary Training

Nine months to two years at a technical school or a college diploma are the usual minimum credentials for animal breeders and technicians. Many colleges now offer two- and four-year programs in animal science or animal husbandry where additional knowledge, skills, and specialized training may be acquired. Besides learning the scientific side of animal breeding, including instruction in genetics, animal physiology, and some veterinary science, students also take business classes that help them see the field from an economic point of view. With the increasing use of technology for breeding livestock and domesticated nonfarm animals, a bachelor's degree becomes more important for succeeding in the field. Master's and doctoral degrees are useful for the most specialized fields and the careers that require the most sophisticated genetic planning. Higher degrees are required for potential teachers in the field, and the current work being done in cloning is done exclusively by people with doctorates.

Whether trained by experience, at an academic institution, or both, all new hires at major breeding companies are usually put through some type of training program.

Other Education or Training

Continuing education opportunities are provided by the American Society of Animal Science, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and the National Association of Animal Breeders. Contact these organizations for more information.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Certification is not required, but nearly all major companies have certification programs that can enhance earnings and opportunities.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

You can obtain experience in the field by working with animals in volunteer or internship positions or by participating in "learn-and-earn" programs in college, in which you receive training, both in the classroom and through on-the-job work.

Animal breeders and technicians should have great love, empathy, and respect for animals. You must be patient and compassionate in addition to being very knowledgeable about the needs and habits of all the animals in your care. You must also have interest in reproductive science, genetics and animal physiology. It is important to be able to communicate easily with agricultural scientists, farmers, and other animal owners and caretakers.