Five Online Degrees For People Who Love Working With Animals

Published on: May 31, 2023

Working with animals on a daily basis is a dream job for many people, but turning this passion into a career requires a special type of education. Fortunately, there are several online options to choose from for those interested in studying a degree that involves animals. Most of these can be completed entirely online, while others require some fieldwork to gain practical experience. So, if animals are your passion, check out the online degree options available.

What Kind of Person Is Suited To Working With Animals?

Everyone is familiar with the W.C. Fields quote, “Never work with children or animals,” but plenty of people would disagree. Working with animals can be extremely rewarding, but the job takes a certain kind of person. Since animals can be very unpredictable, it is important to be open to new challenges and experiences. People who work with animals tend to be highly adaptable and enjoy the challenge of being kept on their toes. Empathy is another common trait among people who work with animals, as is good communication skills. In addition, it can take a lot of patience and sensitivity to work with animals under certain conditions.

What Online Degrees Are Available?

The following degrees are among the most popular online options available for people who want to work with animals as a career.

Master of Science in International Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law

The online Master of Science in International Animal Welfare, Ethics, and Law degree is suitable for anyone interested in protecting both animal and human health. This type of degree is typically aimed at students who already have a biological background and have completed a degree in a field such as veterinary science, zoology, or biological sciences. Completing the Master of Science degree can take between 36 and 72 months, and the core courses consist of International Animal Welfare Science and Animal Ethics, Policy, and Law. Students can also choose from elective courses, such as Welfare of Animals Used for Scientific Purposes, Production Animal Welfare, International Cat and Dog Welfare, and Captive and Free-range Wild Animal Welfare.

Bachelor of Science in Animal Care and Behavior

An online Bachelor of Science in Animal Care and Behavior degree can help you to discover why animals behave the way they do and how to better care for them. This type of degree covers everything from migration patterns and social interactions of animals to nutrition, health, and even their role in human health. The degree can be completed in as little as a year with transfer credits or about three and a half years without transfer credits. In addition to general education courses, the major required courses may include Animal Behavior, Animal Cognition, Animal Health and Nutrition, Animal Welfare, and more. Electives may include Human-Animal Bond, Emotional Support and Service Animals, Animal-Human Interactions, Animal-Assisted Therapy, Animal Training, Canine- and Feline-Assisted Therapy, and Equine-Assisted Therapy. This degree can lead to animal-related careers at animal rehabilitation facilities, nature reserves, zoos, aquariums, and more.

Master of Science in Animal Behavior and Welfare

An online Master of Science in Animal Behavior and Welfare degree is aimed at students who want to follow a career that impacts the care and welfare of animals. These can include veterinarians, veterinary students, or college graduates interested in pursuing a career in animal health or policy. This degree can be completed in about two years when studying full-time, but it can also be completed part-time. In addition to the online portion, this degree also has an option for on-site research. Course topics may include Animal Welfare Science, Animals and Society, Fundamentals of Animal Behavior, Applied Animal Welfare & Behavior, Animal Welfare Assessment, and more.

Master of Science in Companion Animal Behavior Analysis and Counseling

Students who are interested in working at animal-related organizations such as animal shelters, animal sanctuaries, veterinary practices, or humane societies can benefit from an online Master of Science in Companion Animal Behavior Analysis and Counseling degree. In addition to the online portion, this type of degree might involve residency lab courses with animals and real-world practicum in the student’s community. The degree focuses on companion animal behavior and typically includes courses such as Animal Learning and Behavior Analysis, Companion Animal Husbandry and Wellness, Companion Animal Nutrition, and Research Methods in Animal Science. In addition, electives may include Canine Behavior and Intervention, Feline Behavior and Intervention, or Equine Behavior and Intervention. After completing this degree, students will better understand the societal value of the human-animal bond and the value of companion animals in the family unit.

Master of Professional Sciences in Wildlife Conservation and Management

Students who care about animals and want to tackle problems threatening wildlife and habitats may find an online Master of Professional Science in Wildlife Conservation and Management degree useful. This degree is suitable for students interested in career paths such as wildlife technician, conservation scientist, research associate, and more. Course topics range from Human Dimensions of Wildlife Management and Wildlife Identification to Wildlife Ecology and Management, Conservation Ecology, and Climate Dynamics.


There are plenty of opportunities for qualified people interested in working with animals, but for many who choose this career path, it is about the chance to make a difference. All of the jobs in this field provide ample opportunities to positively impact the world and the lives of animals, which can be challenging but also very rewarding. This field also has a lot of versatility, so it doesn’t matter if you enjoy getting your hands dirty outside or prefer something indoors; options are available in either setting. The online degrees mentioned above are a great way to start a career that involves working with animals, but many more options are available.

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