CHOOSING A CAREER / JAN. 20, 2015
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How to Become a Poultry Scientist in the US

Poultry science focuses on several growth and development aspects of birds that are domesticated and eaten by people as food. Poultry scientists are the reason we go to our favorite eateries and never miss fried chicken or turkey on the menu. In a less tasty manner, they find effective ways to improve poultry production. Keep reading to find out what it takes to become a poultry scientist.

What Do Poultry Scientists Do?

The duties of this breed of highly-specialized animal scientists include:

  • Performing research to gather more information on the breeding, feeding and management of poultry
  • Analyze the breeding practices of farmers to find ways production can be improved
  • Studying poultry diseases to develop effective prevention strategies
  • Teaching poultry farmers how to perform various scientific procedures, such as artificial insemination
  • Studying the effects of industrial food processing methods on the quality of poultry products.

Work Environment

Poultry scientists work from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. When they are not conducting experiments in research facilities, they can be found outdoors at poultry rearing facilities such as hatcheries. They also have offices, where they compile research reports.

The job may involve some travelling, especially when visiting hatcheries in various regions.

Salary

What is the average annual salary for poultry scientists? Find out below:

Occupation

Average Annual Wage

Poultry Scientist

$94,000

Source: Indeed

Entry Requirements

The first step to becoming a poultry scientist is to pursue a bachelor’s degree in poultry science. The program covers topics in:

  • Poultry and food production
  • Poultry diseases
  • Poultry nutrition
  • Poultry physiology
  • Poultry health

The University of GeorgiaTexas A&M University and Auburn University are some of the universities offering baccalaureate programs in poultry science.

Next, you should pursue a master’s degree in poultry science – you don’t have to hold a bachelor’s degree in poultry science to qualify for this graduate program. Many universities also consider people with a degree in animal science and other biological sciences.

Important Qualities

To be a competent poultry scientist you need:

  • Excellent research skills
  • Strong analytical skills
  • Strong technical skills to operate laboratory equipment
  • A passion for poultry farming
  • Strong problem-solving skills
  • Good computer skills
  • Good critical thinking and decision-making skills
  • An interest in science and agriculture.

Career Development

With a bachelor’s degree, you can work as a laboratory assistant in research facilities or take up entry-level roles – such as poultry technician – in industrial food processing facilities. After earning your master’s degree, you qualify for employment as a poultry scientist.

To further advance your career, you can:

  • Join the Poultry Science Association to network with other poultry scientists and access industry publications
  • Pursue a doctoral degree in poultry science.

Job Opportunities

The employers of poultry scientists include:

Poultry scientists with a doctoral degree advance to become senior scientists. Others move into academia, where they become lecturers in colleges and universities.

Finally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the employment of all animal scientists, including those specializing in poultry, will grow at a slower-than-average rate (9 per cent) through 2022. Scientists with a master’s degree have the strongest employment prospects.

So, if you want to help improve poultry production and keep fried chicken on the eatery menu, you should become a poultry scientist!

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