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How to become an Animal Psychologist In 2022 | Cost, Requirements, Schools

The field of animal psychology and behavior is one that can never have enough workers. Yearly, people get an education to a become animal/pet psychologist.

Animal psychologists work basically with domestic animals such as cats and dogs, but they can also work with animals found in the zoo and even wild animals such as elephants and monkeys.

Who is an animal psychologist?

An animal physiologist is a scientist who makes researches on natural factors, which usually involve animal stress, dietary nutrition, sanitation, birthing methods, temperature, and exercise. These factors affect the growth and health of animals.

Therefore, Animal physiology is the study that makes researches on the biological processes that occur for animal life to exist and the pattern of animal life.

Animal physiologist examines how biological processes function, how they operate under various environmental conditions, and how these processes are regulated and integrated. 

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What is the difference between Animal Therapy and Psychology?

Animal Therapy

Animal therapy is a controlled communication between an experienced person and a well-trained animal. They are also known as “pet therapy” or “animal-assisted therapy”, can be described as various services using animals to help people with different conditions which might be physical or mental health issues.

The animal also has to go through certain checks. These will include checking immunization records and performing physical exams to ensure that the animal is generally healthy and free of disease. They will also have to undergo temperament testing to make sure that they behave properly with both the handler and other people.

Pet therapy can also be referred to as the use of animals and its benefits to humans and finding ways they can help people recover or cope with some health conditions. This even includes mental disorders which is a bugging issue in the society.

Animal therapy is a therapeutic option for many.

They also work with animal psychologists.

Animal Physiology

Animal physiology can be described as the scientific study of the life-supporting functions, properties, and also the processes of animals and their parts.

It is a study that covers crucial homeostatic processes, which may include blood flow, hormones, and the regulation of temperature. It also includes the scientific disciplines of cell biology, embryology, developmental biology, endocrinology, immunology, biophysics, ecology, genetics, evolutionary biology, and a host of other connected disciplines. These are usually related to the lifestyle of animals.

Animal therapy tends to help animals provide comfort, alert others if someone is in danger, or even perform direct actions to help a person’s condition when they are in need.

It is a type of complementary or alternative therapy. Depending on the function of the therapy, people may get to decide what to choose from various animals, which may include horses, cats, dogs, and birds treatments.

Why become an animal or pet psychologist?

To become an Animal psychologist, you need to focus and be passionate about having a close bond with animals. Becoming a Pet psychologist has a lot of perks that might interest you personally. Animal psychologists mostly regarded as veterinary behaviorists or applied animal behaviorists, specialize in companion animal behavior.

They provide their services to owners who are having difficulties with their pets by correcting behaviors and looking for triggers for those behaviors.

As a Pet psychologist, you will get to work with animals of all kinds, some of which may demonstrate aggressive behaviors.

Pet psychologists who are self-employed may set their own schedules but will also be responsible for generating business until they establish a client base and reputation. While some get to work in veterinary clinics or schools of veterinary medicine.

Another reason to become an animal psychologist is that they help to provide lots of general benefits for both psychological and physical health.

Pet psychologist helps markers of anxiety and depression in the widest range of people. Being a pet psychologist gives you access to helping people reduce perceptions of pain, decrease anxiety and stress and also provide motivation, stimulation, and focus for people under duress situations.

In most cases during medical procedures, some people may have less anxiety when there is a pet. And in rehabilitation, people are often encouraged to practice their therapy while playing with a pet. This procedure aids in faster recovery.

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What do animal psychologists do? 

Animal Psychologists study animal behavior and try to understand the triggers for those behaviors. They analyze factors that can prompt behavior change, whether they are based on weather, food, the environment, or anything that could endanger the life of the animal.

Pet psychologists make use of basic principles, procedures, and theories surrounding animal behavior. They obtain knowledge from the animals by communicating with them one on one. 

Pet psychologists determine the communication technique, learning methods, group interactions, group interactions, psychology, and instinctual responses to reactions. In most cases, they supervise laboratory research, give lectures, conduct or publish personal studies in animal science.

Pet psychologists typically make trips to different states or countries in order to conduct naturalistic observations of the animal species in the wild.

In addition, they also help people hospitalized with chronic heart failure, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, people undergoing chemotherapy, stroke victims, and people undergoing physical therapy to regain motor skills. People with mental health disorders, children having physical or dental procedures, residents in long-term care facilities, and other crucial issues.

Oftentimes, animal psychologists are responsible for helping solve animal disorders, health problems, living situations, and potential stresses.

Similarly, pet psychologists basically specialize in certain types of animals, which might be birds, fish, big animals, wild animals, livestock, or domestic pets. They may focus on certain types of behavior, such as hunting, mating, or raising offspring.

Lastly, people who have sensory disabilities can sometimes communicate more easily with an animal. This encourages more interaction with healthcare providers and other people. Psychologists will observe the animal, investigate whether the behavior is normal, implement a plan to resolve the problem, and conduct behavioral modifications or training.

How can I work with animals with a psychology degree?

There are various ways to work with animals with that special degree you are holding, as long as you are passionate about working with animals and you have the necessary skills. Start by looking for a career opportunity in animal psychology. Understanding the types of jobs available in animal psychology will render a great help when pursuing the career of your choice.

There are various research opportunities with animals that are available in animal training facilities, animal shelters, private laboratories, aquariums, museums, organizations that promote animal welfare, private practices, and zoos.

Pet psychologists and therapists have the access to work in diverse career settings which is usually focused on studying animal behavior.

Pet psychologists with a Ph.D. work at universities or colleges as psychology professors and researchers in animal science. While some do work in a specific area of Applied Animal Behavior while applying some therapy and training to the laboratory, domestic, wild animals, or livestock.

With a psychology degree, you can work as an animal behaviorist, they study how animals interact with each other and their surrounding environments. They gather case studies relating to the issue while trying to determine the cause of problematic behaviors in animals. Also, they suggest a cure or treatment for these pets by training or therapy. Animal behaviorists may create research projects or give lectures that may oversee lab activities.

Additionally,

A psychology degree also gives work opportunities to veterinary behaviorists. They monitor animal-animal interactions to diagnose various disorders that are present in pets and human-animal interactions. They also prescribe behavior therapy or medication as needed for the well-being of the pet.

With a psychology degree, you can also be an Animal scientist which is also known as a zoological researcher, animal scientists study animals in a controlled setting or natural habitat.

With an animal psychology degree, you can work in any of these sections: Animal services associate, Veterinary assistant, Animal adoption specialist. Animal caregiver, Animal care director, Animal research technician, Animal trainer, and more.

How much do animal or pet psychologists make

Under the animal psychologist career path, there are various other jobs opportunity related to it, therefore the salaries may vary widely.

As of mid-June 2022, the average annual pay for an Animal Psychologist in the United States is $69,788 a year, which is approximately $33.55 per hour. This is the equivalent of $1,342 in a week or $5,816 a month.

An animal psychologists working in the private sector or for private companies literally earn more than researchers or those working for non-profit organizations, such as zoos.

Regardless, the career paths for pet psychologists can vary widely in salary. The American Zoological Association estimates that most earn from $35,000 to $90,000 or more annually. This is mostly dependent on their personal work environment. Employment for animal psychologists is expected to rapidly develop widely at a projected rate of 20 percent from now until 2023. 

How can one become an animal psychologist? 

These are steps on how to become a professional Animal or Pet Psychologist. People who are quite interested in becoming an animal psychologist will be required to obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited approve psychology, biology, or animal science program.

1. High School Graduation 

The first step in becoming an Animal Psychologist is by graduating from high school, you need to learn the basics and work towards finishing high school and earning yourself a diploma.

At this stage you need to understand if you are passionate enough about becoming a Pet Psychologist, then take a lot of math, science, and psychology classes in other to prepare for college. 

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2. Earn a Bachelors Degree

The second step is to aim for a bachelor’s degree. Earn a four-year degree from accredited psychology, animal science, or biology program in other to give you access to wide categories of job options in this field. 

3. Masters Degree

This third step is quite important, you need to obtain a master’s degree, when you complete a master’s degree program you will gain more advanced knowledge in this field.

A master’s degree program gives you the opportunity to practice-based a framework and focus on research.

4. Register in a Ph.D. or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program

The fourth step is to register in a Ph.D. or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program, try and earn yourself a Ph.D. or DVM to gain in-depth learning in this field. With this level of education, you can decide to be your own boss, and lots of jobs require you to have these advanced degrees.

5. Licensing

After obtaining these certificates, you need a license in other to conduct research on animals. Earn yourself a relevant certification in other to help you increase your knowledge and attract hiring managers.

In order to pursue a certification, you need at least a master’s degree and at least five years of practical experience in animal behavior science.

How long does it take to become an animal psychologist

Graduating from high school usually takes up to four(4) years, High school students looking forward to working in the field of veterinary science are advised to take as many science and math classes in other to be prepared for college-level courses in biology and chemistry. 

Obtain a bachelor’s degree for four (4) years. For students aspiring to keep their career options open, earning a four-year degree is a next thing to do. 

Completing a master’s degree usually takes up to two years. While a Master’s degree programs allow interested animal behaviorists to focus within research and practice-based framework. Then enroll in a Ph.D. or DVM program of two to four years and lastly pursue a professional certification which takes 3 – 12 months.

Generally, it takes about 10 years or less to become a licensed animal psychologist starting from high school.

How much does it cost to become an animal psychologist

Most of all, all it cost to become an animal psychologist is your determination, focus and hardwork. The accurate cost of study can not be concluded because the fees differ in colleges and the accurate cost of becoming a certified Animal psychologist depends on the school you wish to enroll at.

 What degrees do you need to become an animal psychologist?

The necessary degree you need in other to become an Animal psychologist is a High school certificate, A bachelor’s degree, a Master’s degree, a Ph.D. in animal behavior will help you understand the adaptive and evolutionary aspects of animal behavior in specialized areas such as animal science, zoology, and psychology. And lastly a license.

Top 10 university that offers Animal psychology

1. Indiana University-Bloomington

They offers animal behavior degree programs and it ranks one of the best university at the top. Yearly, students enrolled in this animal behavior school will take a varied selection of courses from ecological, cognitive, and behavioral perspectives.

The school net tuition is $13,300, and the graduation rate is 77%. 

University website:

2. Duke University

This is another university where you can study to become an animal psychologist. It offers Bachelor’s in Biology with a focus in Animal Behavior. The university is located in Durham, North Carolina, and their Net tuition is $23,928 while their Graduation rate is 95%.

Students can major in biology at Duke University can narrow their concentration by selecting a major in animal behavior. 

University website:

3. Drake University

Drake offers Bachelor’s in Psychology with a concentration in Comparative Animal Behavior and it is located in Des Moines, Iowa.

Net tuition: $29,100; Graduation rate: 78%. Drake University’s psychology department collaborates with the Biology and the Environmental Science and Policy departments to offer a concentration in Comparative Animal Behavior. 

University website:

4. Carroll University

Caroll offers Bachelor’s in Animal Behavior Degree and it is located in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Net tuition: $25,100; Graduation rate: 66%. Carroll is one the few universities with fully dedicated animal behaviorist programs.

This is another school where you can become an animal/pet psychologist.

University website:

5. Unity College

Unity offers Bachelor’s in Animal Health and Behavior (online) is located in Unity, Maine.

Net tuition: $27,000; Graduation rate: 66%. Of all the animal behaviorist programs, Unity College’s degree is the only one offered online.

Launched in fall 2019, the accredited program allows students to work full-time while pursuing an animal behavior degree.

University website:

6. Bucknell University

They offer Bachelor’s Animal Behavior Degree is located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. Net tuition: $40,400; Graduation rate: 90%.

The university was founded in 1967, Bucknell University is one of the few animal behaviorist schools to house an on-campus primate research lab

University website:

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7. Canisius College

Canisius offers Bachelor’s in Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation and it is located in Buffalo, New York. Net tuition: $22,000; Graduation rate: 69%.

They also offer a bachelor’s degree in animal behavior, ecology, and conservation.

University website:

8. Millersville University of Pennsylvania

Millersville offers Bachelor’s in Biology with Animal Behavior Option and it is located in Millersville, Pennsylvania.

Net tuition: $21,000; Graduation rate: 62%.

Millersville University does not offer a specific animal behavior major, but students in the biology program can choose animal behavior as a major.

University website:

9. Muskingum University

This university offers Bachelor’s in Animal Studies and it is located in New Concord, Ohio.

Net tuition: $19,050; Graduation rate: 51%.

The animal studies program offered by Muskingum University provides students with a close alternative to an animal behavior major.

This is another school where you can become an animal/pet psychologist.

University website:

10: Franklin and Marshall College

F&M offers Bachelor’s in Animal Behavior Degree and it is located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Net tuition: $26,100; Graduation rate: 86%.

Franklin and Marshall’s apprenticeship approach to animal behavior is designed to engage students in collaborative research and challenge them beyond the classroom.

This is another school where you can become an animal/pet psychologist.

University website:

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What are the qualifications needed for becoming an animal psychologist?

Graduate from high school, pursue a bachelor’s degree, earn a Master’s degree, Enroll in a Ph.D. or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program and Earn a professional certification.

Do I need a degree in other to become an animal psychologist?

Yes, it is important to have few degrees in other to become a professional animal psychologist.

Can I obtain my Bachelor's degree online

yes, you can and this depends on what the school is offering.

What jobs can I get with my bachelor's degree in animal psychology?

You can work as an Animal services associate, Veterinary assistant, Animal adoption specialist. Animal caregiver, Animal care director, and others.

Do Animal psychologist earn much?

Yes, Animal psychologists earn well in their career field.

Conclusion 

Animal psychology is a passionate and amazing career path, and it is important to Keep in mind that you will often need a solid undergraduate education in psychology, a certain GPA, professional recommendations, and obtain a complete residency and internship.

Also, keep in mind to maintain a good GPA throughout your educational studies and gain admission to a master’s degree program.

Finally, aim to obtain undergraduate credits in such as psychology, biology, statistics, and laboratory coursework because it will help you in the long run of your career.

In conclusion, it is easy to become an animal/pet psychologist, just follow the steps we have outlined.

References

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