Career Advice on How to Become A Zoologist or Wildlife Biologist

General Career Information

Zoologist and wildlife biologists not surprisingly study animals.  Much of the work centers on collecting and then analyzing data concerning animals, how they live and increasingly how environmental factors impact animals and animal habitats.  Zoologists are also broken down into subcategories depending upon the type of animals that they specialize in studying.  For example, mammalogists study mammals and ichthyologists study fish.

Career Facts:

Due to the nature of the work, zoologist and wildlife biologists may find that their work can be physically demanding, as it is necessary for them to go into remote areas and live for periods of time in order to study animals in their natural environment.  While in these remote areas, zoologists and wildlife biologists work to collect data and samples for later lab work and analysis.

So what do you need to do before adding this to your job search or career planning?  The educational requirements to become a zoologist or wildlife biologist are considerable.  Zoologists and wildlife biologists, like other biologists, usually have a Ph.D in biology or a related science.  Some positions within the field may only require a master’s degree. But in general a Ph.D in a related field of study is a must.


Career Opportunities and Job Outlook-Average:

The career outlook for zoologists and wildlife biologist is roughly average at about nine percent.  In 2006, there were about 20,000 zoologists and wildlife biologists in the United States with this number expected to rise to about 22,000 by 2016, or an increase of roughly 1,700.
Job Outlook is Fair

A Day in The Life:

Obviously, the average day for a zoologist or wildlife biologist differs considerably depending upon whether or not they are in a lab or academia setting versus being in the field in a remote wilderness location engaged in research and collecting data.  While in the field, zoologists and wildlife biologists may face tough working and living conditions, maybe exposed to harmful organisms and, on occasion, dangerous wild animals.  This is clearly in stark contrast to their work in the lab.

While in the lab, the work of the zoologist or wildlife biologist is drastically different than when doing fieldwork in the wild.  During their time in the lab these people are “crunching” the data that they have collected and analyzing any specimens that they have acquired.  This work may involve working closely with other scientists or graduate students.

Average Salary:

The average zoologists and wildlife biologist can expect to earn about $53,000 per year, with the top ten percent earning about $85,000 per year.  Pay for zoologists employed by the federal government can be substantially higher with zoologists often earning as much as $110,000 per year.

$53k - $85k


Career Training and Qualifications:

Most zoologist and wildlife biologist hold PhD’s in biology or a closely related discipline.  There are some jobs available in the field for those holding a master’s degree in a relevant discipline.

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