APHIS, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, is a division of the USDA responsible for the health and welfare of U.S. agriculture and the Animal Welfare Act. APHIS inspectors check farms for pests and animal and plant diseases to prevent their spread. They also inspect all wildlife facilities open to the public such as zoos, to ensure the animals are in good care, both humans and animals are kept safe, and the facility is meeting all requirements and regulations under the Animal Welfare Act and other federal standards. Ideally all wildlife facilities are inspecting annually by a USDA inspector.
USDA / APHIS Inspector Job Duties
There are a wide range of job positions that involve APHIS inspections. Depending on the exact position, job duties may include:
- *Inspection zoos and other animal facilities’ habitats
- *Inspection of zoo and other animal facilities’ animals
- *Inspection of meat processing plants
- *Monitoring of avian borne diseases that can affect poultry and human health
- *Lab work testing samples collected in the field
- *Care of animals housed at USDA facilities such as the National Wildlife Research Center
- *Daily record keeping
- *Works with farmers on predator control
- *Assist in necropsies
- *Monitor import and export of animals and animal products
- *Assess the animal health at inspection sites
- *Assess the sanitation of inspection sites
Since a single inspector’s territory may include several counties, there can be a great amount of daily travel involved driving from site to site. Other positions may require work in a lab with no requirements for travel.
USDA / APHIS Inspection Careers Salary
Technician positions will start in the range of $30,000 to $45,000 a year. Veterinary medical officers earn in the range of $66,000 to $90,000 a year.
Education and Experience Requirements
Except for student positions, most APHIS jobs that involve inspections require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in an area of study related to the position. Some, such as a USDA veterinary medical officer, require more education. As a USDA APHIS inspector, the position requires expert knowledge of the Animal Welfare Act and other applicable federal regulations. Experience with animals that fall under APHIS’ responsibility is also required to understand and recognize good care, health, housing, and nutrition for each species. Species can range from bovine and horses to elephants and tigers.
Experience working in a lab and hands on work with livestock and wild animals are highly desirable skills for any USDA APHIS position. The ability to work with facility owners in both amicable and tense situations will also benefit you in such a position.
Where to Find USDA / APHIS Inspector Jobs
All USDA jobs, including those within APHIS are posted to USAJobs.gov. These jobs may also post on various job posting sites such as Indeed.com.