Animal behaviorist is a profession that is not specifically tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics; however, the nearest profession listed, animal trainer, does convey a realistic range of what an animal behaviorist can expect to earn due to the similar nature of the work. Animal behaviorists may also be considered an advanced form of the animal care and service profession also tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Animal behaviorists and other animal specialists are likely to earn fairly low wages compared to other professions, with the chief consideration for most of these individuals being very keen compassion and love of animals.
The most basic role of the animal behaviorist is to study in the area of animal behavior for the benefit of agricultural professionals in order to raise the healthiest and most profitable livestock possible. Animal behaviorists also play an important role in the administration of zoos, animal laboratories and can even cater to the public through consultation services for pet owners.
Animal behaviorists can have a contemporary variety of educational backgrounds and may hold degrees in zoology, biology or psychology, considering animal psychology as an offshoot of standard human psychology. Some animal behaviorists may also come from an agricultural background, either holding a degree or informal expertise acquired through long-term and significant on-the-job experience. Animal behaviorists that hold a veterinary degree should use wage information relating to the veterinarian field; however, animal behaviorists in and of themselves are not considered veterinarians.
Entry-Level and Best in Field Earnings of an Animal Behaviorist
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, animal behaviorists of the class of animal trainer can earn just under $17,000 annually in the lowest 10 percent of earners; presumably these are entry-level workers. Animal trainers in the highest 10 percent of earners reported annual incomes of approximately $52,000. Operating on the assumption that the field is more likely to fall under animal care and services as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the low-end entry-level wage becomes closer to $15,000 annually, with the highest 10 percent group earning $31,500 annually. Niche specialists catering to elite clientele may demand higher earnings, such as the animal behaviorists who deal specifically in thoroughbred livestock or pets.
Average Salaries for Animal Behaviorists
Operating on the assumption that animal behaviorists are covered in the animal trainer subdivision of income reporting as the best fitting reported profession by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, animal behaviorists are likely to earn a middle-of-the-road median wage of $34,500 a year when focusing on a support role for livestock applications, such as animal husbandry. For those who view animal behaviorists a greater match to the reported animal care and service profession, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage ranges from $18,000 to $20,000.