Animal Geneticist Career

If you work as an Animal Geneticist, it is your job to research and study the inheritance of traits at the molecular, organism and/or population level.  You study the genetic makeup of animals in order to discover which gene/genes cause them to behave, function, and exist in certain ways.  An Animal Geneticist may also study animal health to determine what causes animals be immune to specific diseases or fail to thrive in certain environments.  This work is performed with the aim of developing a more in-depth knowledge of an animal including domestic, agricultural, and wildlife.  Most often, this field is focused on the study of animals for scientific and medical discovery.  For example, by studying animals at the genetic level, researchers gain important insight into how a disease works in the body (human and animal).


Students in an animal science, genetics, or related field such as biology, poultry science, dairy science desiring to continue a path to a career as an Animal Geneticist will need scientific training through hands-on experience and laboratories.  As well, advanced study in animal genetics is much needed preparation for a future in academic research in animal science.  No doubt, the route into a successful career in this subsector is via a relevant PhD.



  • Review and communicate data input and output needs of a breeding program.
  • Interpret research or operational data.
  • Record research or operational data.
  • Research diseases or parasites.
  • Find ways to improve selection decisions and develop approaches to accelerate genetic differentiation between different breeds.
  • Assist in the mapping of genomes for various species.
  • Prepare proposal documents or grant applications.
  • Review professional literature to maintain professional knowledge.
  • Attend conferences or workshops to maintain professional knowledge.
  • Supervise scientific or technical personnel.
  • Collaborate on research activities with scientists or technical specialists.
  • Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
  • Instruct college students in physical or life sciences.
  • Research genetic characteristics or expression.
  • Analyze biological samples.
  • Plan biological research.
  • Develop new ways to evaluate traits in animals.
  • Crossbreed animals to obtain new combinations of desirable characteristics.
  • Train personnel in technical or scientific procedures.
  • Inspect equipment to ensure proper functioning.
  • Collaborate with technical specialists to resolve design or development problems.


Median Wage 2019:  approximately $82,000 annually

Career opportunities in agricultural animal genetics is forecasted to be good over the next five years.

Universities are the main employers of academic researchers in animal genetics.  In many instances, after the completion of a PhD, individuals continue as a Post Doctorate Research Assistant.

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Academic Programs

A bachelor’s degree in genetics or related field such as animal science, biology, poultry science, dairy science, followed by a master’s degree with some career roles may requiring a doctorate level degree.

To find an institution of higher education that offers a program relative to your career aspirations in animal genetics, the easiest place to start for most people is to perform a simple search by area of interest.  Overall, there are associate, bachelor, and advanced degree programs in public and private postsecondary colleges and universities across the country in the following areas:

  • Animal Science
  • Animal Genetics
  • Agriculture and Biotechnology
  • Animal Biology
  • Agricultural Animal Breeding
  • Animal Anatomy and Physiology
  • Animal Behavior
  • Animal Nutrition
  • Research and Experimental Psychology

As well, an advanced degree with experiences in the following aspects of research:

  • Research and Quantitative Methods
  • Analytical Research
  • Persuasive Research
  • Systematic Application Expertise

Use the link provided below and the ‘Browse for Program’ button to search by program area:

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