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Bioscience Careers

Animal Research Facility Manager

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  • Produced by the North Carolina Association for Biomedical Research (NCABR)
  • Funding generously provided by the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS)

An animal research facility manager is responsible for the day-to-day supervision and overall management of laboratory animal care personnel and the animal facility. Some of the manager’s functions include procurement of animals for research and teaching purposes, supervision of animal laboratory technicians and other part-time personnel, control of animal holding facilities and helping to obtain proper veterinary care for the animals. In addition, managers are responsible for ensuring conditions vital to the well-being of animals continuously are met in accordance with the Animal Welfare Act as implemented through the Department of Agriculture regulations and, for federally funded research, the U.S. Public Health Service Policy on Humane Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

More specific job duties can include the following: implementing and evaluating new procedures; monitoring experiments to ensure research study protocols are being followed and notifying proper personnel if deviations are noted; participating in Institutional Animal Care Use Committee (IACUC) meetings; and coordinating facility inspections.

Animal research facility managers ensure, by performing and/or delegating necessary functions, that animals are provided feed, water, bedding and clean cages, according to their individual care requirements. Managers also ensure that proper environmental conditions (temperatures, light levels and ventilation) are met at all times. They track and record relevant data. Managers ensure that animals are healthy by observing animals daily for signs of illness or disease, testing for parasites and coordinating necessary care with veterinarian(s).

Managers also might coordinate the ordering and receiving of animals, ensuring that the animals arrive in time for classroom or research use, that appropriate housing is available and that all procurement specifications are met. They inventory shipments, check health status and input data in the record system.

On a day-to-day basis, animal research facility managers oversee operation and maintenance of the facility’s surgical suite, making sure that sterile supplies are stocked and that housekeeping and sanitation practices consistently are performed. They ensure the chemical room, instrument room and support spaces are cleaned, stocked with supplies and able to be used effectively. Managers maintain all required facility records, including daily inspection logs, health records, protocols, censuses and facility records, in computer databases and paper files.

The facility manager also is responsible for breeding animals for use in teaching and research projects. Managers communicate regularly with both faculty and student research personnel regarding the condition of the animals and on any issues related to their care. They assist faculty and students in conducting animal research projects, including presurgical and postsurgical care, injections, drug administration and more.

Education/Training

Most often, a bachelor’s degree in a relevant discipline is required for being an animal research facility manager. A minimum of three years of animal facility experience or the equivalent combination of education and experience typically is required. Sometimes, the hiring facility requires a minimum of five years of animal facility experience and membership in the American Association of Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS).

Certification

Some research institutions require the manager to be certified as a laboratory animal technologist, which can be done through the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine, an organization of board-certified veterinary medical specialists who are experts in the humane, proper and safe care and use of laboratory animals. ACLAM establishes standards of education, training, experience and expertise necessary to become qualified as a technologist and recognizes that achievement through board certification.

Salary

Supervisor Range

$41,000 to $60,000 per year

Manager Range

$61,000 to $89,000 per year

Director Range

$139,000 to $180,000 per year

These figures are based on the 2002 AALAS Laboratory Animal Facility Compensation Survey and have been adjusted for inflation. Salaries vary depending upon the job, education and training, level of experience and geographical area of the country.