Planning for your ANSC Career

Animal Science is a very broad field with a wide range of careers available. Many students in our Science/Pre-Professional option choose to continue their education in a variety of professional schools, ranging from veterinary school and MS/PhD graduate programs to things like human medical school or higher education. Our graduates also pursue industry and hands-on careers, such as research technicians, animal care specialists, sales or marketing representatives, and animal producers. The sub-menus on this Careers page will help you explore possible careers, learn what might be a good fit, and find out how to gain experience and build lasting professional relationships!

ANSC Careers Course
ANSC115 (offered every spring) is a 1-credit course designed to equip students with important knowledge to make informed choices and to take actions that will enhance your competitive edge in the job market.  The course will start with information on the general job market in animal science, how to find internships and other hands-on experiences, and how to present yourself as a professional.  From there we will explore opportunities in different fields and in a range of work settings. In addition, students will have the opportunity to prepare resumes and improve oral presentation skills while working with their peers.

Courses to help you on your career path
As you narrow your focus on which general area of ANSC you might want to work in, you can consult our chart of recommended courses based on your area of interest, and select Management and Advanced Elective courses that will best prepare you for careers in that field.

Networking
Networking is the process of building a set of relationships that will support you throughout your career. Getting to know people who already work in the ANSC industry is a great way to explore the careers that might be available to you, as well as helping secure an internship or job. If you identify someone working in a job you're interested in, consider reaching out to them to request an informational interview. Informational interviews are a great way to learn more about a position or a company, and help you determine if that job would be a good fit. Networking can take a variety of forms, many of which are highlighted on the Career Center's Networking pageSocial media (including LinkedIn and Terrapin Connect) is also a valuable tool to connect you with industry professionals.

Alumni and job placement
Alums of our program go into a wide range of career fields, including: veterinary medicine, graduate school, laboratory animal care, equine care and husbandry, livestock management, research, production, and many more!

Career Exploration

The following resources can help you explore possible careers available with an ANSC degree, see what those careers actually look like (duties, salary, etc), and narrow down what jobs might be a good fit for you.

Career Fairs 
UMD's Career Center hosts a number of career fairs every semester, which are a great way to talk to potential employers face-to-face and learn about available jobs. Career Fair dates and informations are posted on their website.

Cornell University's Animal Careers page 
helpful list of a number of Animal Science careers, including: basic job descriptions, degree required, skills required, market sector, and relative salary. This is a great resource to help you get inspired as to the range of jobs available in this field.

Informational Interviews 
Identify someone working in a job you're interested in, and reach out to them to request an informational interview. Informational interviews provide you with an opportunity to find out specific information about a particular industry or role you’re interested in from someone who’s already established in that field. Informational interviews are a great way to learn more about a position or a company, and help you determine if that job would be a good fit.

Occupational Outlook Guidebook 
Provided by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, OOH can help you find career information on duties, education and training, pay, and outlook for hundreds of occupations.

UMD Career Center
There are a number of excellent resources available through the UMD Career Center. We encourage you to explore the Career Center website and take advantage of those resources, both online and in person. You will need to be registered (registration is free) with Careers4Terps to use the Career Center resources. While there are many great resources, these two are particularly useful in helping students trying to figure out what careers may be a good fit:

  • FOCUS2 assessment - Online self-assessment designed to help students identify what types of careers may be a good fit for your interests and aptitudes.
  • Vault - contains employer and industry insights, as well as company rankings and reviews

Gaining Experience

There are a number of ways that students can gain valuable marketable experience right here on campus (or close by!) We encourage students to take advantage of the numerous opportunities being in the ANSC department at UMD provides you with.

Experience opportunities include (but are not limited to):

  • Showing an animal on Ag Day
  • Joining a club or organization
  • Taking ANSC classes with hands-on labs
  • Participating in an internship
  • Signing up for the Career Center's Intern for a Day program
  • Volunteering on the Campus Farm
  • Working at the MD State Fair Birthing Center or with the AGNR State Fair Dairy & Beef Team (emails with more information on these positions are sent to current students every spring)
  • Participating in research with a faculty member
  • Serving as an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant (contact the instructor of the course you're interested in serving as a TA for)
  • Serve as a Peer Mentor or Ambassador for the College of AGNR

Letters of Recommendation

Strong letters of recommendations (or the lack thereof) can make or break your professional school application, so you want to make sure you are cultivating good references who can write you a glowing letter. Good references are also essential when applying for jobs or internships.

How do you build relationships to get good references ?

1. Get to know your faculty members

This might include visiting office hours, serving as an Undergraduate TA or working in a research lab, serving as an officer in a student organization, and maintaining communication throughout your undergraduate career. *Important*: just taking one class with someone or having an annual advising meeting is not enough basis to ask for a recommendation letter. You want someone who really knows you well and can talk up your strengths.

2. Start early

The earlier you start getting to know your professors, the more they can learn about you. It may take 3-4 semesters to develop the relationship needed for the letter writer to know you well enough to write the strongest letters.

3. Demonstrate professionalism

Remember that your reference will talk about things like your ability to work with others, your communication skills, your initiative, your work ethic, and your attitude. Strive to always be professional in your communications with all University faculty and staff.

How do you ask for a letter or reference?

1. Ask early

DO NOT WAIT until the week before a letter is due to start asking. Give your letter writer plenty of time to review your request, and then to write the letter if they agree to do so.

2. Provide materials

You should provide the letter writer or reference with the details about the letter (deadlines, how to submit, description of what they're writing the letter for), as well as a copy of your resume, transcript, and any other relevant materials.

3. Ask someone you have a positive relationship with, who is relevant to the opportunity

You want to make sure that your letter writer can talk about why you're qualified for whatever you're applying for, and do so in a positive light.

 

A few additional good resources on tips for asking for a letter or reference:

Resumes and Cover Letters

A professional resume and cover letter are crucial components in any job search. There are many resources on campus available to help you with editing/creating your resume and making sure it's in good shape. 

Career Services in AGNR
The College of AGNR has an in-house member of the Career Center available to meet with students for career counseling. Students can schedule a career appointment to get help with editing your resume.

Career Appointments are 30 minute sessions with a graduate student or staff advisor. Career Appointments are best for more in-depth career topics such as:

  • Choosing a Major, Career Exploring, Career Fields and Industries
  • Preparing for Interviews
  • Searching for Internships or Jobs
  • Networking, Informational Interviews
  • Applying to Graduate School

Career Center
The Career Center has numerous resources to help students with creating their resumes. Students can also attend drop-in sessions to get feedback on a resume. Drop-Ins are 10-15 mins sessions to meet with an undergraduate Peer Career Educator. Drop-Ins are held in the main University Career Center located at 3100 Hornbake Library, South Wing, Monday through Friday between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Appointments are not required for Drop-Ins

Writing Center
Students can schedule appointments for help with written assignments, but also provides some resources to help with resume writing.

ENGL393 - Technical Writing
All students at UMD must complete a Professional Writing (PW) course for the General Education requirements. ENGL393 is one of the courses that can satisfy this requirement. Some sections of ENGL393 have students complete a resume and cover letter as one of the assignments.