When the climate changes, how are wildlife habitats affected? What relationships exist among animals in the wild? If you like the idea of working in the great outdoors to study questions like these— consider a job as a zoologist or wildlife biologist. Zoologists study animals, and usually specialize in a specific type of animal, like birds or amphibians, studying their behavior, diseases, and development. Wildlife biologists are more likely to study specific ecosystems or animal populations, such as an endangered species, and work to protect and manage wildlife populations. Zoologists and wildlife biologists design experiments, collect data, and share their findings through publications and presentations. Depending on their role, these scientists may conduct fieldwork, traveling to deserts, or remote mountainous and woodland regions that may have few modern comforts. Other zoologists and wildlife biologists may teach college students in classrooms, or conduct research in laboratories. Whether working alone, or teamed up with other scientists, they hold positions in government, colleges and universities, utility companies, environmental consulting firms, and conservation groups. For entry-level positions, these scientists need a bachelor’s degree in zoology, microbiology, biochemistry or a related field; a master’s degree or Ph.D. is often needed for higher level research or scientific work.

 

Zoologist and Wildlife Biologist Career

 

If you work as a Zoologist and/or Wildlife Biologist, you likely study the origins, behavior, diseases, genetics, and life processes of animals and wildlife. You may specialize in wildlife research and management.   As well, it is likely you collect and analyze biological data to determine the environmental effects of present and potential use of land and water habitats.  Working in this career subsector, you could also carry the job title of Aquatic Biologist, Conservation Resources Management Biologist, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, Fisheries Biologist, Fisheries Management Biologist, Habitat Biologist, or Migratory Game Bird Biologist.

Duties

  • Develop and conduct experimental studies with animals in controlled or natural surroundings.
  • Collect biological data and specimens for analysis.
  • Study the characteristics of animals, such as their interactions with other species, reproduction, population dynamics, diseases, and movement patterns.
  • Analyze the influence that human activity has on wildlife and their natural habitats.
  • Research, initiate, and maintain ways of improving breeding programs that support healthy game animals, endangered species, or other wild populations of land or aquatic life.
  • Estimate, monitor, and manage wildlife populations and invasive plants and animals.
  • Develop and implement programs to reduce risk to human activities from wildlife and invasive species, such as keeping wildlife from impacting airport operations or livestock and crop production.
  • Write research papers, reports, and scholarly articles that explain their findings.
  • Give presentations on research findings to academics and the general public.
  • Develop conservation plans and make recommendations on wildlife conservation and management issues to policymakers and the general public.

Outlook

Median Wage 2019:  approximately $63,000 annually

Job opportunities are likely in the future and expected growth in this occupation is about 4%.

Video

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Transcript

When the climate changes, how are wildlife habitats affected? What relationships exist among animals in the wild? If you like the idea of working in the great outdoors to study questions like these— consider a job as a zoologist or wildlife biologist. Zoologists study animals, and usually specialize in a specific type of animal, like birds or amphibians, studying their behavior, diseases, and development. Wildlife biologists are more likely to study specific ecosystems or animal populations, such as an endangered species, and work to protect and manage wildlife populations. Zoologists and wildlife biologists design experiments, collect data, and share their findings through publications and presentations. Depending on their role, these scientists may conduct fieldwork, traveling to deserts, or remote mountainous and woodland regions that may have few modern comforts. Other zoologists and wildlife biologists may teach college students in classrooms or conduct research in laboratories. Whether working alone, or teamed up with other scientists, they hold positions in government, colleges and universities, utility companies, environmental consulting firms, and conservation groups. For entry-level positions, these scientists need a bachelor’s degree in zoology, microbiology, biochemistry or a related field; a master’s degree or Ph.D. is often needed for higher level research or scientific work.

For more information

Publications

Fisheries Magazine

AFS North American Journal of Fisheries

Birds of the World (Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

Journal of Mammalogy (open access articles)

Journal of Field Ornithology

NWF Magazine

Journal of Wildlife Management (The Wildlife Society publication)

Copeia

ZAA Journal

 

Academic Programs

To find an institution of higher education that offers a program relative to your career aspirations in Zoology and Wildlife Biology, the easiest place to start for most people is to perform a simple search by area of interest.  Overall, there are associate, bachelor, and advanced degree programs in public and private postsecondary colleges and universities across the country in the following areas:

  • Zoology
  • Wildlife Biology
  • Ornithology
  • Fisheries Science and Management
  • Wildlife Habitat
  • Animal Biology
  • Wildlands Science

 

Use the link provided below and the ‘Browse for Program’ button to search by program area:

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