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Animal Physiologist Career Profile

Do you want to work as an animal physiologist?

READ: This page helps you to read about the career and the info you need to decide on whether this is indeed the career you want to follow.

RESEARCH: ​Learn about the skills required and minimum subjects to enter this career, as well as the places where you can study further after school.

PREPARE: If you want to plan and prepare for the career, then join the OZT Community! Members have access to tools, while chatting with other students and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!

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Last Updates:

19 April 2024

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What is an animal physiologist?

Animal Physiologists are biological scientists who study the various body parts of animals under normal and abnormal conditions. They may specialize in the study of cells, tissues or one of the organs or systems, such as the digestive, nervous or circulatory system.

Tiger 1

Alternative Names

Some alternative names for an animal physiologist include:

  • Zoophysiology
  • Comparative physiologist
  • Zoologist (when specialising in physiology)
  • Animal physiographer (less commonly used)

Career Categories

The Animal Physiologist career can be found in the following career categories:

  • Health
  • Scientific

Strange studies?

There are currently very weird studies being done, such as why certain lizards can regrow tails, and how this can help humans

Software market?

Just the software alone, designed to capture and process animal physiology data, creates a 100 million dollar market

What does an animal physiologist do?

Groups of animals an Animal Physiologist works with

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Cats
Dogs List Icon OZT
Dogs
Critters List Icon OZT
Critters
Farm Animals Icon OZT
Farm Animals
Mammals List Icon OZT
Mammals
Birds List Icon OZT
Birds
Fish List Icon OZT
Fish
Reptiles List Icon OZT
Reptiles
Amphibians List Icon OZT
Amphibians
Insects List Icon OZT
Insects
Arachnids List Icon OZT
Arachnids
Crustaceans List Icon OZT
Crustaceans
Mollusks Link Icon OZT
Mollusks
Myriapods List Icon OZT
Myriapods
Worms List Icon OZT
Worms
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Cnidaria

An animal physiologist can work with a wide range of animals, depending on their area of specialization and research interests. Some animal physiologists focus on specific types of animals, while others may study a variety of species. The types of animals an animal physiologist may work with include:

Mammals:

This can include domestic animals like dogs, cats, horses, and livestock, as well as wild mammals such as bears, deer, and primates.

Birds:

Avian physiology is another area of study for animal physiologists, covering species from songbirds to birds of prey.

Fish:

Fish physiologists study the physiology of aquatic animals, including both freshwater and marine species.

Reptiles and amphibians:

Some animal physiologists focus on understanding the physiological adaptations of reptiles and amphibians, ranging from snakes and lizards to frogs and salamanders.

Invertebrates:

Certain animal physiologists may specialize in studying the physiology of invertebrates, such as insects, spiders, and mollusks.

Wildlife:

Wildlife physiologists may work with a variety of wild animals to understand how they adapt to their environments, reproduce, and respond to threats.

Laboratory animals:

Some animal physiologists conduct research using common laboratory animals like mice, rats, and rabbits to study fundamental physiological processes.

Overall, animal physiologists can work with a diverse array of animals, spanning different taxa and habitats, depending on their research objectives and interests.

What is the level of Interaction with the Animals?

With whom does an Animal Physiologist work?

An animal physiologist may work with various individuals and groups, depending on their specific role and research focus. Here are some examples of who an animal physiologist might collaborate with:

Other scientists:

Animal physiologists often collaborate with researchers from related fields, such as biologists, veterinarians, ecologists, geneticists, and neuroscientists, to address complex questions that require interdisciplinary approaches.

Students:

Animal physiologists may mentor and supervise undergraduate and graduate students who are conducting research or pursuing degrees in physiology or related fields.

Research institutions:

Animal physiologists may work in universities, government agencies, non-profit organisations, or private research institutions where they collaborate with colleagues and access resources for conducting experiments and collecting data.

Industry professionals:

In certain cases, animal physiologists may collaborate with professionals from industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, agriculture, and veterinary medicine to develop products or solutions related to animal health and physiology.

Conservationists:

Animal physiologists may collaborate with conservation organisations and wildlife managers to study the physiology of endangered species, understand threats to their survival, and develop strategies for conservation and habitat management.

Animal owners and caretakers:

In veterinary and agricultural settings, animal physiologists may work with animal owners, farmers, and caretakers to address issues related to animal health, welfare, and productivity.

Collaboration is a key aspect of the work of an animal physiologist, as it allows them to leverage diverse expertise and resources to advance scientific knowledge and address real-world challenges in animal biology and physiology.

What does an Animal Physiologist focus on?

Animal physiologists often conduct research to understand the mechanisms underlying physiological processes, such as how hormones regulate behavior or how animals adapt to different environmental conditions. Their work can involve laboratory experiments, field studies, and computer modeling to gather data and analyze patterns in animal physiology.

What are the daily tasks of an Animal Physiologist?

The daily tasks of an animal physiologist can vary depending on their specific role, research focus, and work environment. However, here are some common tasks that animal physiologists may perform on a typical day:

Research:

Conducting experiments, collecting data, and analysing results to investigate various aspects of animal physiology, such as metabolism, hormone regulation, or reproductive processes. This may involve working in laboratory settings, field research sites, or animal facilities.

Literature review:

Reviewing scientific literature to stay updated on advancements in the field, identify research gaps, and inform the design of new experiments or studies.

Data analysis:

Using statistical and computational methods to analyse experimental data, interpret findings, and draw conclusions about physiological processes or mechanisms.

Writing:

Writing research papers, grant proposals, or reports to communicate findings, secure funding, and contribute to the scientific literature. This may also involve preparing presentations for conferences or seminars.

Collaboration:

Collaborating with colleagues, students, and other researchers on interdisciplinary projects, sharing expertise, and coordinating research efforts to achieve common goals.

Lab management:

Overseeing laboratory operations, including maintaining equipment, ordering supplies, ensuring safety protocols are followed, and managing research budgets.

Teaching and mentoring:

Teaching courses, leading seminars, or supervising student research projects at academic institutions. This may involve preparing lectures, grading assignments, and providing guidance and support to students.

Outreach and communication:

Engaging with the public, policymakers, or stakeholders to communicate research findings, raise awareness about animal physiology, and advocate for conservation or animal welfare initiatives.

Professional development:

Participating in conferences, workshops, or training programmes to expand knowledge, acquire new skills, and stay current with advancements in the field.

Fieldwork:

Conducting fieldwork to study animals in their natural habitats, collect biological samples, or gather observational data for research purposes. This may involve travelling to remote locations and working in challenging environmental conditions.

These tasks represent a snapshot of the diverse activities that an animal physiologist may engage in on a daily basis, reflecting the multifaceted nature of their work and the broad range of skills required in the field.

With what kind of tools and technology (if any) does an Animal Physiologist work?

Animal physiologists utilise a variety of tools and technologies to conduct their research and investigations into animal physiology. Here are some examples:

Laboratory equipment:

Animal physiologists often work with standard laboratory equipment such as microscopes, centrifuges, spectrophotometers, and analytical balances to conduct experiments and analyse biological samples.

Data collection instruments:

They may use specialised instruments to measure physiological parameters in animals, such as heart rate monitors, blood pressure cuffs, temperature probes, and metabolic chambers for assessing energy expenditure.

Molecular biology tools:

Molecular physiologists utilise techniques such as PCR (polymerase chain reaction), gel electrophoresis, DNA sequencing, and gene expression analysis to study the molecular mechanisms underlying physiological processes.

Imaging techniques:

Animal physiologists may use imaging technologies such as ultrasound, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), CT (computed tomography), and PET (positron emission tomography) scans to visualise internal structures and study anatomical or functional changes in animals.

Bioinformatics software:

Molecular physiologists and researchers working with large datasets may use bioinformatics tools and software for analysing genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic data to identify patterns and relationships relevant to animal physiology.

Telemetry and tracking devices:

Wildlife physiologists often use telemetry equipment and tracking devices, such as GPS collars, radio transmitters, or accelerometers, to monitor the movements, behaviour, and physiological responses of animals in their natural habitats.

Computer modelling and simulation:

Animal physiologists may use computational modelling and simulation techniques to study complex physiological systems, predict outcomes, and test hypotheses about animal physiology under different conditions.

Genetic tools:

With advancements in genetic engineering and genome editing technologies like CRISPR-Cas9, animal physiologists can manipulate gene expression in animals to study the roles of specific genes in physiological processes.

Remote sensing technologies:

Remote sensing tools such as drones, satellite imagery, and environmental sensors may be used by wildlife physiologists to monitor habitats, track wildlife populations, and assess environmental conditions affecting animal physiology.

Software for data analysis:

Animal physiologists utilise various software packages for statistical analysis, data visualisation, and modelling, such as R, Python, MATLAB, SPSS, or specialised software tailored to specific research applications.

These tools and technologies enable animal physiologists to investigate the intricacies of animal physiology across different species and environments, advancing our understanding of biological systems and contributing to various fields such as veterinary medicine, wildlife conservation, and biomedical research.

What are the different specialisations or career directions that an Animal Physiologist can venture into?

Specialisation within a specific animal-related career refers to the area of expertise that professionals can develop within that specific field. For example, an animal groomer that specialises in horses, or a veterinarian that specialises in working with marine mammals.

Animal physiologists can pursue various specialisations and career directions within the field of animal biology and physiology. Here are some examples:

Comparative Physiology:

Comparative physiologists study the physiological adaptations of different animal species, comparing their responses to environmental challenges, such as temperature changes, altitude, or food availability.

Exercise Physiology:

Exercise physiologists investigate how physical activity and exercise affect the physiological systems of animals, including cardiovascular function, muscle metabolism, and respiratory responses.

Reproductive Physiology:

Reproductive physiologists study the reproductive processes of animals, including gamete production, fertilisation, pregnancy, and lactation, as well as factors influencing reproductive success and fertility.

Environmental Physiology:

Environmental physiologists explore how animals adapt to their natural environments and respond to environmental stressors such as temperature extremes, pollution, and habitat loss.

Neurophysiology:

Neurophysiologists investigate the structure and function of the nervous system in animals, including sensory perception, motor control, learning, memory, and behaviour.

Molecular Physiology:

Molecular physiologists focus on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying physiological processes in animals, including gene expression, protein function, and signalling pathways.

Integrative Physiology:

Integrative physiologists study how different physiological systems interact and integrate to maintain homeostasis and support overall health and function in animals.

Wildlife Physiology:

Wildlife physiologists specialise in studying the physiology of wild animal species, including their adaptations to natural habitats, responses to environmental changes, and conservation physiology.

Veterinary Physiology:

Veterinary physiologists focus on understanding the normal physiological functions of animals to diagnose and treat diseases and disorders, as well as to improve animal health and welfare.

These are just a few examples of the diverse specialisations and career directions available to animal physiologists, and individuals may choose to focus on one or more of these areas depending on their interests, training, and professional goals.

In which environment does an Animal Physiologist work in?

What are the environment and places of employment like?

The indoor and outdoor working environments for an animal physiologist can vary depending on their specific research focus, job role, and employer. Here’s an overview of the indoor and outdoor settings where animal physiologists may work, as well as common places of employment:

Indoor Working Environments:

Laboratories:

Many animal physiologists work in laboratory settings, conducting experiments, analysing data, and performing molecular or biochemical analyses to study physiological processes in animals. Laboratories may be located within academic institutions, research organisations, government agencies, or private companies.

Offices:

Animal physiologists may also spend time working in offices, where they write research papers, grant proposals, reports, and other documents, as well as communicate with colleagues, collaborators, and stakeholders via email, phone, or video conferencing.

Classrooms:

Those involved in academia may teach courses, lead seminars, and supervise student research projects in classroom settings within universities, colleges, or high schools.

Outdoor Working Environments:

Field Research Sites:

Wildlife physiologists and researchers studying animals in their natural habitats may spend significant time conducting fieldwork outdoors. This could involve travelling to remote locations, setting up research sites, collecting biological samples, and gathering observational data on animal behaviour, physiology, and ecology.

Farms and Agricultural Settings:

Animal physiologists working in agricultural research or veterinary science may visit farms and agricultural facilities to study livestock physiology, assess animal health, and develop strategies for improving animal welfare, nutrition, and productivity.

Places of Employment:

Universities and Research Institutions:

Many animal physiologists are employed by universities, colleges, and research institutions, where they conduct research, teach courses, and mentor students in various aspects of animal physiology and biology.

Government Agencies:

Animal physiologists may work for government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), where they contribute to research, policy development, and regulatory activities related to animal health, welfare, and conservation.

Non-profit Organisations:

Some animal physiologists work for non-profit organisations and conservation groups dedicated to wildlife conservation, animal welfare, or environmental protection, where they conduct research, advocate for policy changes, and implement conservation initiatives.

Private Industry:

Animal physiologists may also find employment in the private sector, working for biotechnology companies, pharmaceutical companies, agricultural corporations, or veterinary clinics, where they contribute to product development, research and development (R&D), or regulatory affairs related to animal health and physiology.

The indoor and outdoor working environments for animal physiologists can be diverse and dynamic, offering opportunities for both laboratory-based research and fieldwork in natural settings, depending on their interests and career paths.

What is the Average Annual Salary for an Animal Physiologist?

Here are approximate average yearly salaries/wages for animal physiologists in the specified countries and regions:

United States: $50,000 – $100,000 USD

Canada: $50,000 – $90,000 CAD

United Kingdom: £25,000 – £50,000 GBP

India: ₹300,000 – ₹800,000 INR

Australia: $60,000 – $100,000 AUD

New Zealand: $50,000–$80,000 NZD

Nigeria: ₦2,000,000 – ₦5,000,000 NGN

Kenya: KSh 1,000,000 – KSh 3,000,000 KES

South Africa: R200,000 – R500,000 ZAR

South America (average across countries): $20,000 – $40,000 USD

Europe (average across countries): €30,000 – €60,000 EUR

Southeast Asia (average across countries): $10,000 – $30,000 USD

Can an Animal Physiologist be promoted?

Promotion levels for animal physiologists may vary depending on the organisation, industry, and individual career goals.

However, here are the prominent promotion levels based on the headings of Education, Responsibilities, and Certification:

Entry-Level Research Associate/Technician

Education:

Bachelor’s degree in biology, physiology, or a related field.

Responsibilities:

Assisting senior researchers with experiments, data collection, and analysis; maintaining laboratory equipment and facilities; following research protocols and safety procedures.

Certification:

Basic laboratory safety and skills certifications may be required.

Senior Research Scientist/Project Manager

Education:

Master’s or Ph.D. degree in animal physiology, biology, or a related discipline.

Responsibilities:

Leading research projects, designing experiments, analyzing data, and interpreting results; supervising junior staff, including research associates and technicians; managing project budgets and timelines; collaborating with other researchers and stakeholders.

Certification:

Advanced certifications in specific techniques or methodologies relevant to animal physiology research.

Principal Investigator/Research Director

Education:

Ph.D. in animal physiology or a related field, with extensive research experience and a track record of publications and grants.

Responsibilities:

Leading an independent research program, securing funding from grants and contracts, overseeing all aspects of research projects from conception to completion; mentoring junior staff and graduate students; presenting research findings at conferences and publishing in peer-reviewed journals.

Certification:

No specific certifications are required, but continued professional development and recognition in the form of awards or honors may be common at this level.

Department Chair/Professor

Education:

Ph.D. in animal physiology or a related field, with significant leadership experience and scholarly achievements.

Responsibilities:

Leading a department or academic programme, setting strategic goals and priorities, managing faculty and staff, overseeing curriculum development and academic programmes, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses; conducting independent research, and securing external funding.

Certification:

No specific certifications are required, but tenure and promotion within academia are typically based on scholarly contributions, teaching effectiveness, and service to the institution and profession.

What difficulties does an Animal Physiologist face?

Animal physiologists may encounter various challenges in their profession, including:

Physical demands:

Depending on their research focus, animal physiologists may need to perform physically demanding tasks such as fieldwork, lifting equipment, or handling animals, which can pose risks of injury or strain.

Safety concerns:

Working with animals involves inherent risks, including potential injuries from bites, scratches, or kicks, as well as exposure to zoonotic diseases. Animal physiologists must adhere to safety protocols, use appropriate personal protective equipment, and receive proper training to mitigate these risks.

Variability in working conditions:

Animal physiologists may work in diverse environments, ranging from laboratories and offices to field research sites or agricultural settings. Adapting to different working conditions, weather conditions, and travel requirements can present logistical and practical challenges.

Emotional challenges:

Dealing with animal welfare issues, euthanasia, or witnessing animal suffering can be emotionally taxing for animal physiologists. Practicing self-care, seeking support from colleagues or counsellors, and maintaining ethical standards are important for addressing these challenges.

Business management:

Animal physiologists working in academic or research settings may face challenges related to securing funding, managing budgets, and navigating administrative processes to support their research programmes.

Regulatory compliance:

Animal research is subject to ethical guidelines, institutional policies, and regulatory requirements aimed at ensuring animal welfare and research integrity. Animal physiologists must stay informed about relevant regulations and maintain compliance with ethical and legal standards in their work.

Continuing education:

Keeping up with advancements in the field of animal physiology requires ongoing learning and professional development. Animal physiologists must invest time and effort in attending conferences, workshops, and training programmes to stay current with emerging technologies, methodologies, and research findings.

Unpredictable work hours:

Research projects, fieldwork, and experiments may require animal physiologists to work irregular hours, including evenings, weekends, or holidays. Balancing work commitments with your personal life and maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be challenging.

Interdisciplinary collaboration:

Animal physiologists often collaborate with professionals from diverse fields such as biology, veterinary medicine, engineering, and computer science. Effective communication, teamwork, and collaboration across disciplines may require overcoming differences in terminology, methods, and approaches.

Navigating these challenges requires resilience, adaptability, and a commitment to professional growth and ethical practice. Building supportive networks, seeking mentorship, and staying proactive in addressing challenges can help animal physiologists thrive in their profession.

​Future growth and Possibilities

The job market for animal physiologists was expected to grow at a rate roughly in line with overall trends in biological and agricultural sciences. Specific projections for the job market growth of animal physiologists may vary depending on factors such as geographical location, industry demand, and emerging trends in research and technology.

Some current trends and possibilities that may influence the future of the animal physiology industry include:

Technological advancements:

Advances in technology, such as genomics, bioinformatics, imaging techniques, and remote sensing, are revolutionising the field of animal physiology, opening up new avenues for research and innovation.

Interdisciplinary research:

Collaborations between animal physiologists and professionals from other disciplines, such as engineering, computer science, and data science, are becoming increasingly common, leading to interdisciplinary research projects and novel approaches to studying animal physiology.

Emphasis on sustainability:

With growing concerns about climate change, environmental degradation, and food security, there is a growing emphasis on sustainable practices in agriculture, wildlife management, and conservation. Animal physiologists play a key role in developing sustainable solutions to address these challenges.

Focus on animal welfare:

There is increasing public awareness and concern about animal welfare issues, leading to greater scrutiny of practices in industries such as agriculture, research, and entertainment. Animal physiologists are involved in research aimed at improving animal welfare standards and promoting humane treatment of animals.

Global health crises:

Events such as the COVID-19 pandemic have highlighted the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health. Animal physiologists may contribute to research on zoonotic diseases, One Health initiatives, and strategies for preventing and mitigating future pandemics.

Ageing population and healthcare demand:

As the global population ages, there is growing demand for research into age-related diseases and conditions affecting both humans and animals. Animal physiologists may play a role in studying ageing processes, developing therapies, and improving healthcare outcomes for ageing populations.

Policy and regulatory changes:

Changes in government policies, regulations, and funding priorities can have significant impacts on the animal physiology industry. Animal physiologists may need to adapt to evolving regulatory requirements, funding opportunities, and public policies shaping their research and employment prospects.

Availability of Jobs

Average

Which Skills do Animal Physiologists need?

The skills required for a career as an Animal Physiologist can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills and personality traits, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.

Life Skills and Personality Traits

People employed as animal physiologists typically possess a combination of scientific curiosity, analytical skills, empathy for animals, and a passion for understanding the intricacies of biological systems. Some specific personality traits commonly found among animal physiologists include:

Scientific curiosity:

Animal physiologists are naturally curious individuals who have a deep interest in understanding the physiological mechanisms underlying animal behaviour, health, and function. They enjoy asking questions, seeking answers through research, and uncovering new knowledge about how animals work.

Analytical mindset:

Animal physiologists possess strong analytical skills, allowing them to critically evaluate data, identify patterns, and draw conclusions based on evidence. They are comfortable with complex scientific concepts and methodologies, and they excel at problem-solving and troubleshooting in their research.

Empathy for animals:

Animal physiologists have a genuine empathy for and respect for the welfare of animals. They are committed to promoting animal health, well-being, and ethical treatment in both research and practical applications, and they approach their work with a sense of responsibility and compassion towards the animals they study.

Attention to detail:

Given the precise nature of their work, animal physiologists pay close attention to detail in their experiments, observations, and data analysis. They are meticulous in their methodology, ensuring accuracy and reliability in their findings, and they are thorough in documenting and reporting their results.

Adaptability:

Animal physiologists often work in diverse environments, ranging from laboratories and research institutions to field research sites and agricultural settings. They are adaptable individuals who can thrive in different contexts, navigate changes and challenges, and adjust their approaches as needed to achieve their research goals.

Collaboration and communication skills:

Animal physiologists frequently collaborate with colleagues, students, and stakeholders from various disciplines and backgrounds. They have strong interpersonal skills, communicate effectively both orally and in writing, and work well as part of multidisciplinary teams to achieve common objectives.

Resilience:

Conducting research in animal physiology can be challenging and demanding, requiring perseverance, resilience, and the ability to overcome setbacks and obstacles. Animal physiologists possess a resilient mindset, remaining dedicated to their work despite the inherent uncertainties and complexities of scientific inquiry.

Ethical integrity:

Animal physiologists adhere to high ethical standards in their research and professional practice. They prioritise animal welfare, uphold principles of scientific integrity and honesty, and conduct their work with integrity, transparency, and respect for ethical guidelines and regulations.

Animal physiologists are driven by a passion for science, a commitment to animal welfare, and a desire to contribute to our understanding of the biological world, making them valuable contributors to the field of animal physiology.

Life Skills
40%

Career Skills

  • Animal handling
  • Animal care
  • Customer service
  • Handle instruments
  • Good overall health
  • Computer literate
Career Skills
60%

Which Subjects must I have at School to help me prepare for this career?

The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.

OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Some of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!

What will I need to Study to become an Animal Physiologist?

To become an animal physiologist, you will typically need to complete a combination of education and training in biological sciences, with a focus on physiology and related disciplines. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need to study under each heading:

Minimum Requirements

Bachelor’s Degree:

The minimum educational requirement for entry into the field of animal physiology is typically a bachelor’s degree in biology, physiology, zoology, or a closely related field. This undergraduate programme provides a foundational understanding of biological principles, including cellular biology, genetics, anatomy, and physiology.

Study Focus

Subjects If Further Study Is Required:

Physiology:

In-depth coursework in physiology is essential for aspiring animal physiologists. This may include studying topics such as physiological systems (e.g., cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous), cellular physiology, endocrinology, and comparative physiology to understand how animals function at different levels of organisation.

Biochemistry:

A solid understanding of biochemistry is important for understanding the chemical processes underlying physiological functions in animals. Topics such as metabolism, enzyme kinetics, molecular biology, and biochemical signalling pathways provide essential knowledge for studying animal physiology.

Genetics:

Knowledge of genetics and molecular biology is valuable for understanding the genetic basis of physiological traits, hereditary diseases, and genetic variation within animal populations. Courses in genetics, genomics, and molecular genetics may be beneficial for aspiring animal physiologists.

Advanced Studies (If necessary):

Master’s Degree:

While a bachelor’s degree may be sufficient for some entry-level positions, pursuing a master’s degree in animal physiology or a related field can provide advanced training and specialisation in the discipline. A master’s programme may involve coursework, research, and thesis work focused on specific areas of animal physiology.

Doctoral Degree (Ph.D.):

For those interested in pursuing research or academic careers in animal physiology, obtaining a Ph.D. is often necessary. A doctoral programme typically involves conducting original research, writing a dissertation, and defending it before a committee. Ph.D. programmes provide advanced training in research methodologies, critical thinking, and scientific communication.

Optional Short Courses:

Animal Handling and Care:

Short courses or workshops on animal handling, care, and welfare may be beneficial for aspiring animal physiologists, particularly those planning to work with live animals in research or agricultural settings. These courses provide training in safe and ethical animal handling practices.

Laboratory Techniques:

Short courses or training programmes focused on laboratory techniques, such as microscopy, molecular biology methods, data analysis software, and experimental design, can enhance practical skills and proficiency in conducting scientific research.

Study Duration

The duration of a college diploma is between 2 and 3 years. Time spent on a bachelor’s degree can be up to 4 years, and another 2 to 4 years for a doctorate. Short courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.

FREE Career Preparation Path Plan

If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.

Why is planning important?

​To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A preparation path is like a road map to where you want to be.

Possible Paths:

Here’s a possible career preparation path for a high school student interested in pursuing a career as an animal physiologist:

1. Attend career guidance sessions:

Participate in career guidance sessions at school or local community organisations to explore different career options and learn about the field of animal physiology.

2. Research all of the possible careers:

Conduct research on various careers in animal physiology, including different specialisations, industries, and job roles within the field.

3. Explore Educational Paths:

Investigate educational paths for becoming an animal physiologist, such as undergraduate degrees in biology, physiology, zoology, or related fields, followed by advanced studies at the graduate level if desired.

4. Align high school subjects with the educational path:

Choose high school subjects that align with the educational requirements for pursuing a career in animal physiology, such as biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics.

5. Obtain a High School Diploma or Equivalent:

Focus on academic success and work towards obtaining a high school diploma or equivalent qualification.

6. Learn about animals that will work with:

Gain knowledge about different animal species, their anatomy, physiology, behaviour, and ecological roles through independent study, coursework, or extracurricular activities.

7. Align the post-school path with either entering a career/job directly, studying further, or starting a business:

Decide on the post-school path based on career goals, whether it involves entering the job market directly, pursuing further education at the university level, or exploring entrepreneurship opportunities.

8. Gain experience through volunteering, internships, mentorship, etc.:

Seek opportunities for gaining hands-on experience in animal-related activities, such as volunteering at animal shelters, participating in internships at research labs or wildlife rehabilitation centres, or seeking mentorship from professionals in the field.

9. Pursue Extracurricular Activities:

Participate in extracurricular activities related to biology, science, or animal care, such as science clubs, wildlife conservation projects, or competitions.

10. Join Professional Associations:

Become a member of professional associations and societies related to animal physiology, such as the American Physiological Society (APS) or the European Society for Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry (ESCPB), to access networking opportunities, resources, and career support.

11. Gain Specialised Skills:

Develop specialised skills relevant to animal physiology, such as laboratory techniques, data analysis, research methodology, and scientific communication.

12. Network with professionals:

Connect with professionals in the field of animal physiology through networking events, conferences, workshops, or online platforms to learn from their experiences and build professional relationships.

13. Enter the job market, finish tertiary studies, or launch a business:

After completing education and gaining relevant experience, enter the job market by applying for entry-level positions in research institutions, government agencies, pharmaceutical companies, or academic institutions. Alternatively, continue studies at the tertiary level or explore entrepreneurial opportunities.

14. Stay updated and pursue continuing education.

Stay updated on advancements in the field of animal physiology through continuing education, professional development opportunities, and ongoing learning to remain competitive and enhance career prospects.

Following this career preparation path can help a high school student lay the groundwork for a successful career in animal physiology, with opportunities to pursue their passion for studying and understanding the physiological processes of animals.

Possible Combined Career Paths

It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.

Possible Alternatives (there are a lot more):

Training and Apprenticeship

On-the-job training and apprenticeship requirements for individuals entering an animal physiologist career may vary depending on the specific job role, industry sector, and employer. However, here are some general considerations:

Hands-on Experience:

On-the-job training often involves gaining hands-on experience working with animals in laboratory, research, or field settings. This may include learning techniques for handling, caring for, and observing animals, as well as conducting experiments or collecting data under the supervision of experienced professionals.

Laboratory Techniques:

Apprenticeships or on-the-job training programmes may focus on developing proficiency in laboratory techniques relevant to animal physiology research, such as microscopy, tissue culture, molecular biology methods, and data analysis software.

Research Skills:

Training in research methodologies, experimental design, and data interpretation is essential for aspiring animal physiologists. On-the-job training may involve participating in research projects, assisting with data collection and analysis, and learning how to conduct literature reviews and write scientific reports.

Ethical Considerations:

Apprenticeships or on-the-job training programmes should include education on ethical considerations in animal research and care, including principles of animal welfare, regulatory compliance, and responsible conduct of research.

Mentorship:

Working under the guidance of experienced mentors or supervisors is a valuable aspect of on-the-job training for animal physiologists. Mentors can provide guidance, feedback, and support as apprentices develop their skills and knowledge in the field.

Professional Development:

On-the-job training may also include opportunities for professional development, such as attending workshops, seminars, or conferences; participating in journal clubs or discussion groups; and engaging in continuing education activities to stay current with advancements in the field.

Certification or Licencing:

Depending on the specific job role and industry requirements, individuals entering an animal physiologist career may need to obtain certifications or licences demonstrating proficiency in certain skills or adherence to regulatory standards. These certifications or licences may be obtained through training programmes, examinations, or professional organisations.

On-the-job training and apprenticeship requirements for animal physiologists aim to provide individuals with the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to succeed in their chosen career path, whether in research, academia, industry, or other sectors related to animal physiology.

Average level of education of all the people who enter the career:

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations

The specific requirements for licenses, certificates, and legal registration to become an animal physiologist may vary depending on factors such as location, industry sector, and employer. However, here are some common considerations:

Professional Certification:

While certification is not typically required to work as an animal physiologist, obtaining certification from a professional organisation or certifying body may enhance credibility and demonstrate proficiency in the field. For example, organisations such as the American Physiological Society (APS) offer certifications in various areas of physiology, which may be relevant to animal physiologists.

Institutional Approval:

In some cases, animal physiologists working in research or academic settings may need to obtain approval from institutional review boards (IRBs) or animal care and use committees (IACUCs) to conduct research involving animals. These committees ensure compliance with ethical standards, regulatory requirements, and institutional policies governing the use of animals in research.

Animal Welfare Regulations:

Animal physiologists must adhere to local, national, and international regulations governing the ethical treatment and use of animals in research. This may include compliance with laws such as the Animal Welfare Act in the United States or equivalent regulations in other countries, as well as following guidelines established by professional organisations and funding agencies.

Veterinary Licencing:

Animal physiologists who work with live animals, particularly in veterinary settings or research involving animal health, may need to be licenced veterinarians or work under the supervision of licenced veterinarians. Veterinary licencing requirements vary by country and jurisdiction, and aspiring animal physiologists should consult with relevant regulatory bodies or professional associations for guidance.

Continuing Education:

Staying current with advancements in the field of animal physiology and maintaining proficiency in relevant skills and knowledge may require participation in continuing education activities, workshops, seminars, or professional development courses. While not mandatory for licensure or certification, continuing education is important for staying abreast of developments in the field and advancing one’s career.

Research Permits:

Animal physiologists conducting research involving wild or endangered species may need to obtain permits or permissions from government agencies or wildlife authorities to study and handle these animals. Permit requirements vary depending on the species, location, and purpose of the research, and compliance with relevant regulations is essential to avoid legal issues and ensure conservation objectives are met.

It’s important for aspiring animal physiologists to familiarise themselves with the specific legal and regulatory requirements applicable to their intended area of work and seek guidance from regulatory agencies, professional organisations, or legal advisors as needed to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

Professional Associations

American Physiological Society (APS):

  • APS is a leading professional organisation for physiological scientists in the United States. It offers networking opportunities, research resources, and professional development programmes for members interested in all areas of physiology, including animal physiology.
  • Website: American Physiological Society (APS)

European Society for Comparative Physiology and Biochemistry (ESCPB):

Society for Experimental Biology (SEB):

  • SEB is a global organisation that supports research and education in experimental biology, including animal physiology. It hosts conferences, publishes journals, and provides resources for scientists working in diverse areas of biology.
  • Website: Society for Experimental Biology (SEB)

International Union of Physiological Sciences (IUPS):

  • IUPS is a global federation of physiological societies that promotes collaboration and communication among physiological scientists worldwide. It organises international congresses, supports research initiatives, and advocates for the advancement of physiology.
  • Website: International Union of Physiological Sciences (IUPS)

Federation of European Physiological Societies (FEPS):

  • FEPS represents physiological societies across Europe and fosters collaboration and exchange among European physiologists. It organises conferences, workshops, and training programmes to promote research and education in physiology.
  • Website: Federation of European Physiological Societies (FEPS)

Physiological Society of Australia (PSA):

  • PSA is the primary professional organisation for physiologists in Australia, promoting research, education, and advocacy in physiology. It offers networking opportunities, grants, and support for early career researchers.
  • Website: Physiological Society of Australia (PSA)

African Association of Physiological Sciences (AAPS):

  • AAPS aims to advance physiological research and education in Africa by fostering collaboration among physiologists and promoting awareness of the importance of physiology in addressing health challenges on the continent.
  • Website: African Association of Physiological Sciences (AAPS)

Where can I study further? (List of Registered Tertiary Institutions)

All of the above information will help you understand more about the career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with high school (grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies and where you will study.

See the list of universities, colleges, and online training academies that offer courses in animal physiology.

How do I start to prepare for this Career?

If you do decide on following this career, then OZT can assist you in figuring out a path to prepare, as well as help you to gain further knowledge about the career and the animals you will be working with. We do this by offering you FREE career development tools. There are almost a dozen free tools, but these are the three primary ones:

CAREER PATH PLAN

Use the career path plan above on this profile as an example to follow, or to work out your own path.

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SHORT COURSES

Access easy-to-use short courses to make your career preparation easier! The basic information in each course is free, but the rewards can only be unlocked as an OZT member!

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STUDY GUIDE

Get a supercharged study guide that fits into the career path plan! Now that's really upping your preparation game! Join us for free to gain access!

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But, if you are still uncertain about choosing this specific career, and even where to start, then have a look at our special series of WHAT NEXT courses (link below). They take you through all of the questions you might have on how to choose the right career, what to do while at and after school, and even how to start your own business.

OR

Join the OZT online community for special access to more tools!

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming an Animal Physiologist.

Members of the Platform have special access to:

  • Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
  • Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. Some career experience is necessary; otherwise, you won’t get the job!
  • Top-notch information on each of the different species you will work with
  • Make friends around the world and share knowledge
  • Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes, and certificates. Be the best of the best while you learn and prepare!

If you have decided on being an Animal Physiologist, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the group, while non-members will be assisted in registering first.

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Some of the best websites to help you decide on a career are:

Animal Physiology Online (animalphysiologyonline.com)

This website offers a comprehensive collection of resources, including articles, tutorials, and interactive modules covering various topics in animal physiology. It provides valuable educational materials for students, educators, and professionals interested in the field.

The Physiological Society (physoc.org)

The Physiological Society website offers a wealth of information on animal physiology, including news, publications, events, and educational resources. It serves as a hub for physiological research, collaboration, and communication among scientists worldwide.

Explore Physiology (explore.physiology.org)

Explore Physiology is a website maintained by the American Physiological Society (APS), offering a range of resources on physiology, including animal physiology. It features articles, videos, podcasts, and interactive content designed to engage audiences and promote understanding of physiological concepts.

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