What is an Animal Behaviorist? Explained

Animal behaviorists are professionals who study animal behavior and its patterns. They may work in universities, zoos, research facilities, or private practices.

Animal behaviorists typically have a degree in veterinary medicine or biology and may also have experience working with animals in captivity.

They may specialize in one area of animal behavior, such as animal training, animal husbandry, or wildlife conservation.

Animal Behaviorist Explained

What animal behaviorist do

An animal behaviorist is someone whose job it is to study animal behavior. This includes studying how animals interact with each other, what motivates them, and how they learn.

The term “animal behaviorist” is usually used to describe veterinarians working to improve animal welfare.

However, some people call themselves animal behaviorists without being vets. These people often work with pets, horses, farm animals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects, or other creatures.

Animal behaviorists typically use scientific methods to conduct research into animal behavior. Their findings help scientists understand animals better and sometimes lead to improvements in human health and conservation.

What is an animal behaviorist called?

An animal behaviorist is a professional who helps people understand why their pet is doing what it is doing. They help with training and diagnosing, and treating behavioral problems in animals.

Many people think that all animal behaviorists are veterinarians, but this is false.

A veterinarian is a doctor who specializes in the care and treatment of animals, while a behaviorist has expertise in studying animal behavior.

Some animal behaviorists work exclusively with one species of animal, such as dogs or cats, while others work with various animals.

Understanding what animal behaviorists do?

An animal behaviorist applies principles of animal behavior science to understand how animals interact with each another and their environment.

Moreover, Animal Behaviorists are professionals who conduct scientific research and study animals. They also train others to become experts in animal behavior.

They may research an animal’s communication, instincts, learning methods, psychology, and group interactions.

The applied animal behaviorist collects data about an animal’s behaviors and investigates whether those behaviors are normal at inappropriate times or abnormal from previous negative experiences.

To solve the problem, the behavior analyst may recommend different types of treatments such as conditioning, behavior modification, or training.

In academia, animal behaviorists teach classes, supervise laboratory activities, conduct and publish their own studies, and present their findings at conferences.

Animal behaviorists are employed in universities, zoos, aquariums, laboratories, and private practices. Their job duties may vary depending on the type of institution they work for. However, all animal behaviorists must complete a bachelor’s degree before becoming certified.

In addition to academic degrees, some animal behaviorists pursue additional training to advance their careers. For instance, Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists (CAAB) receive specialized education in areas like applied behavioral science, animal welfare, and conservation biology.

Some animal behaviorists focus on specific species. Others study multiple species. Regardless of specialization, all animal behaviorists are trained to observe and document animal behaviors.

They may also perform experiments to learn more about animal behavior. These experiments may involve testing different methods of treatment or observation. Animal behaviorists may also collect blood, hair, feces, urine, saliva, or tissue samples for analysis.

Finally, animal behaviorists may teach classes on topics related to animal behavior. They may also lead field trips to locations where animals live in the wild.

Career Opportunity as an Animal Behaviorist

Animal behaviorism is a field of study that focuses on how animals behave. It involves learning about animal behavior and applying what you’ve learned to help those animals live better lives.

Many people think of animal behaviorists as veterinarians because many veterinary schools offer degrees in animal behavior.

But some colleges and universities teach human behavioral science and psychology and use them to train animal behaviorists. These programs often teach students about human behavior and how we interact with each other and our environment.

Animal behaviorists study animals’ natural behaviors and learn how to train them to perform specific tasks. They may also teach others how to care for pets.

Here’s a quick look at the job duties and responsibilities of an animal behaviorist:

1. Conduct research and write reports

An animal behaviorist must conduct extensive research before writing a report. He or she needs to gather information about the studied species, including its size, diet, habitat, and breeding habits.

2. Teach classes

Behavioral training requires patience and understanding. The trainer must first explain the desired behavior to ensure that the pet learns quickly.

Next, he or she shows the animal how to perform the task correctly. Finally, the trainer rewards the pet when it performs the correct action.

3. Evaluate results

After teaching an animal a particular behavior, the trainer evaluates the outcome. For instance, he or she observes the pet to ensure it understands the lesson.

If the pet doesn’t seem to understand, the trainer repeats the lesson until the pet responds appropriately.

4. Write articles

Many veterinarians hire professional writers to produce content for their websites. These writers typically provide educational tips and advice related to pet health and nutrition.

5. Train trainers

Veterinarians sometimes hire animal behaviorists to train their staff members. Training involves showing employees how to handle different situations involving dogs, cats, horses, birds, reptiles, and other exotic creatures.

A step-by-step guide to becoming an Animal Behaviorist.

Animal behaviorists study animals’ behaviors and learn how to train them to perform specific tasks. They also teach others how to care for and manage pets and livestock.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to becoming an animal behaviorist:

1. Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Behavior Science

Bachelor’s degrees in animal science provide a solid foundation for future careers in animal behavior.

Students receive training in biology, zoology, physiology, anatomy, genetics, nutrition, psychology, ethology, and ecology. Many colleges offer bachelor’s degrees in animal behavior science, including Cornell University, Purdue University, Texas Tech University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute, and State University.

2. Complete Graduate School Training Programs

Graduate school programs in animal behavior science typically last between four and six years.

During this period, students complete courses in behavioral neuroscience, animal cognition, animal welfare, applied animal behavior, and professional ethics.

Graduates may choose to pursue advanced graduate degrees in veterinary medicine, human health, or public policy.

3. Apply for Jobs in Veterinary Medicine

Veterinary medicine is a highly competitive field. Graduates must demonstrate strong communication skills, critical thinking abilities, and professionalism to stand out among applicants.

Many veterinarians begin their careers as interns, spending several months learning basic medical procedures before being allowed to treat patients. Once qualified, vets spend the rest of their career treating sick and injured animals.

4. Earn Certification

To practice veterinary medicine, you’ll need certification. There are numerous certifications offered by the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the American Association of Zoo Veterinarians, and the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

5. Become Licensed

Licensure requirements vary depending on state law. Some states require only a license exam; others require both a licensing exam and an internship. Licensing exams range from a simple written test to a comprehensive examination that requires extensive preparation.

6. Join Professional Associations

Professional associations offer opportunities to network with like-minded professionals. These organizations’ membership usually comes with benefits, including discounts on continuing education classes, access to journals, and networking events.

7. Start a Business

So you want to start a business as an animal behaviorist? Here are some tips to help get you started:

1. Do your research. Before starting any business, it’s important to do your research and understand the market. What are the current trends in animal behavior? What services are most in demand? Who are your target customers?

2. Set up shop. Once you understand the industry well, it’s time to set up shop. This includes establishing a business name, creating a website and marketing materials, and finding the right location for your practice.

3. Build your team. As an animal behaviorist, you’ll likely work with clients one-on-one, but you may also need to hire assistants or interns to help you manage your caseload.

Education and Training for Animal Behaviorists

Animal behavior specialists are trained in many different ways. Some choose to earn a bachelor’s degree in biology, psychology, or zoology, while others obtain an advanced degree in one of those fields.

Many people go directly into practice after earning their undergraduate degrees. Others attend graduate school, studying animal behavior and learning about how animals think, feel, and act.

While some specialize in particular species, such as dogs or cats, most experts work with multiple types of animals.

To become certified, applicants must complete a two-year residency training program under the supervision of an ACVB-accredited veterinarian and pass a comprehensive board examination.

Certification requires completing an advanced degree (master’s or doctoral) in the behavioral sciences and proof of at least five years of professional experience working with animals.

The Animal Behavior Society (www.animalbehaviorsociety.org) offers certification as an associate certified applied animal behaviorist (CAAB), which requires completion of an advanced education degree (Master’s or Doctoral) in the behavioral sciences along with documentation of at least five years’ experience in the field.

Both organizations require successful completion of a rigorous application process and a thorough interview.

How long does it take to become an animal behaviorist?

No one answers how long it takes to become an animal behaviorist.

Different people will have different educational backgrounds and experiences, and there are many specialties within the field of animal behavior.

However, most professionals in the field have at least a bachelor’s degree in animal behavior, ecology, zoology, or a related field. Some may also have a graduate degree.

Working as an animal behaviorist often requires experience working with animals in a hands-on setting. This can include working as a veterinary technician, zookeeper, researcher, or trainer.

Many professionals also have certification from organizations such as the Animal Behavior Society or American Veterinary Medical Association.

It can take many years to become an expert in this complex field. However, hard work and dedication make it possible to make a career out of helping animals live better lives.

Salary Range for Animal Behaviorists

According to SimplyHired. com, the national average salary for an animal behaviorist (as of January 22nd, 2019) is $69,751.

This figure includes salaries earned in both full-time and part-time positions. Animal behaviorists typically work in zoos, aquariums, wildlife rehabilitation centers, pet stores, veterinary clinics, and laboratories.

They are responsible for teaching animals how to behave properly, developing programs to improve the welfare of animals, and training zoo personnel to care for animals.

Some animal behaviorists teach animal husbandry, zoology, psychology, and biology classes.

The highest paying states for animal behaviorists include California ($90,923), Washington ($81,895), New York ($79,746), Massachusetts ($78,633), and Texas ($77,532).

However, many people choose to live near where they work, which often leads to lower salaries.

For example, the lowest paying states for animal behaviorist jobs include Alabama ($51,039), Mississippi ($52,072), Louisiana ($53,054), Arkansas ($54,061), and Tennessee ($55,082).

Animal Behaviorist Job Outlook and Employment Prospects

Animal behaviorists study animals’ behaviors and how those behaviors affect each animal’s survival and well-being.

They work closely with zookeepers, veterinarians, and scientists to understand species’ natural history, including behavioral patterns, physical characteristics, and social interactions among individuals.

The job outlook for animal behaviorists is excellent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities are expected to increase 16% over the next decade.

Many large companies — including airlines, insurance companies, pet stores, zoos, aquariums, and circuses — hire animal behaviorists to evaluate and improve how their animals behave.

Others work directly for animal shelters, humane societies, and wildlife rehabilitation centers. Some even work for animal welfare organizations like PETA.

In addition, employment prospects are good because there is a growing demand for animal care professionals. For example, zoos, aquariums, wildlife parks, and circuses employ animal behaviorists.

A bachelor’s degree in animal science, biology, or related field is required for most entry-level positions.

Some employers prefer applicants with additional training and experience. Most schools offer courses in animal behavior.

However, some programs focus on conservation, management, and husbandry topics. Many universities also offer certificates in animal behavior.

Job duties vary depending on the type of position you hold. Zookeepers typically perform routine tasks such as feeding, cleaning, caring for sick animals, and monitoring animal health.

Veterinarians diagnose and treat diseases in both wild and domestic animals.

Scientists conduct research about animal behavior and use it to develop new products, treatments, and techniques for improving animal welfare.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment growth for animal behaviorists is projected to be faster than average, increasing 19%, from 2016 to 2026. These workers could fill jobs in the following fields:

  • Zookeeping – 13%
  • Veterinary medicine – 12%
  • Wildlife management – 11%
  • Laboratory animal science – 10%
  • Research – 9%
  • Other occupations – 6%


An animal behaviorist is someone who helps animals to overcome their issues and live happier lives.

They use various techniques to achieve this, such as positive reinforcement, behavioral modification, and drugs.

If you are considering getting a pet or already have one, it is important to know what an animal behaviorist is and what they can do for your pet.