Dual degree options offer new paths to success

Dual degree options offer new paths to success

Published on: November 7, 2019


Jennifer Girardin

Jennifer Girardin

Becker College junior Jennifer Girardin found a way to pursue her ideal career path by combining two majors—through the College’s unique dual degree option.

“I heard about the dual degree when I was researching changing my major,” said Girardin, who started as a pre-vet major.

Students pursuing a dual degree at Becker can earn an associate’s degree in animal care plus a bachelor’s degree in business administration, criminal justice, forensic science, or psychology—all in the same amount of time as it takes to earn a bachelor’s degree alone.

For Girardin, the perfect major turned out to be a dual degree in animal care and psychology.

“I liked that animal care touched on the animal side and psychology touched on the human side,” she said. “I thought it was a nice combination of both.”

Girardin noted that changing majors and pursuing a dual degree can be challenging, but added that it was definitely the right decision for her.

“I like the way it’s split, so I can take both animal care and psych classes at the same time,” she said. “It keeps it interesting.”

It also aligns nicely with what she hopes to be her future career.

“I hope to start in the training business, to be hired as a dog trainer and work my way up,” she explains. “Eventually I’d like to open my own service dog training business.”

Girardin is well on her way. She’s already involved in dog training through the College’s partnership with NEADS World Class Service Dogs. NEADS is a nationally recognized and accredited service dog organization based in Princeton, MA, that specializes in the raising, training, and matching of World Class Service Dogs to their clients with disabilities.

Girardin was selected to participate and was assigned a puppy when it was just two months old. She will work with it for approximately 1-1 ½ years until it can become a service dog and help improve the life of someone with a disability.

“If it wasn’t for this degree, I wouldn’t have heard about the NEADs service dog training,” Girardin said.

While she believes she has found her career path, Girardin said she also likes the fact that her classes focus not just on learning, but on exploring future career opportunities.

“It’s a nice bonus. They show you what you can and may want to do with the degree,” she said. “Some classes open a lot of opportunities. You can see how different companies run to decide if it’s something you are interested in. The classes are always building on what you want to do in the future instead of pushing towards one goal.”

Other career possibilities for someone pursuing a dual degree in animal care and psychology include: animal-assisted therapy; work in schools, hospitals, or corrections facilities; and advocacy or consulting.

For those who combine animal care with criminal justice, career options could include: police patrol, K-9 units, mounted units (equine), or search & rescue.

Combining animal care with business administration could lead to a number of careers including:  animal-related business ownership; boarding, training, or in-home pet care; specialty pet merchandise or a pet spa; veterinary sales or supplies; pet pharmaceuticals; animal nutrition; biotech management or work in a nonprofit shelter/rescue facility.

Earning a dual degree in animal care and forensics could pursue a career in animal welfare/public policy; animal-related crime prevention/investigation; specialty K-9 units; explosive detection and accelerants; narcotics; or fisheries and wildlife.

To learn more about Becker College’s dual degree options, visit https://www.becker.edu/academic/academic-programs/animal-studies-natural-sciences/animal-care-and-new-dual-degree-options/.

Watch a Channel 3 news story featuring Jennifer and the service dog she is training by clicking on the video below.