How to become a zoologist

How to become a zoologist

Zoologists: A Quick Look
Median Salary $57,710 per annum
Entry-level education Bachelor’s degree
On-the-job training No
Primary employers Government & Universities
Number of positions (U.S.) 20,100
Job Growth (2012-2022) 5% (Slower than national average)
New positions (2012-2022) +1,000

How to become a zoologistWhat Does A Zoologist Do?

A zoologist is a person who has completed at least a bachelor’s degree in zoology or a related area. A zoologist studies the habits of animals, sometimes specializing in a particular type of animal, in an effort to learn more about the species and conduct specific research regarding animals.Read more.

Salary

The salary for a zoologist can range from $37,100 to over $95,430 per year. The average zoologist salary is approximately $57,710. Read more.

Becoming A Zoologist

A zoologist must obtain a bachelor’s degree in zoology or a related field, taking approximately four years to complete. To increase one’s opportunities for employment, many individuals interested in zoology proceed to get a Master’s Degree or even their Ph.D. degree. Read more.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for zoologists is not great: the outlook for new job opportunities indicates only an expected 5% increase in jobs between 2012 and 2022. Unfortunately, the Bureau expects financial constraints and budget cuts in government’s revenue to stifle the creation of jobs in this field. Read more.

Zoology is the study of living animals within a specified location. These professionals examine behaviors within a certain population and how species can interact with one another. Being a zoologist requires you to work in indoor and outdoor environments to perform research and collect valuable information for further testing and analysis. In this article, we will outline what a zoologist does, the average salary of a zoologist, types of zoologists and how to become one.

What does a zoologist do?

A zoologist uses their skillset to obtain and review animal specimens after they acquire them from various environments.

Once a zoologist acquires the specimens from the animals, they perform detailed research that identifies the outlook of the population, address potential threats that harm their quality of life, oversee hunting programs and protocol in those populations and propose conservation solutions. Research can also be distributed to a university, zoo or the federal government for appropriate use.

Some of the zoologists’ findings can be related to:

  • The ecosystem they live in
  • Physical traits
  • Diets
  • Human impact
  • Reproduction
  • Migration
  • Disease
  • Environmental changes

Average salary

A zoologist’s salary can vary depending on the amount of experience they have and the geographical location in which they work:

Common salary in the U.S.: $63,854 per year
Some salaries range from $16,000 to $141,000 per year.

Types of zoologists

Zoologists can pick from different careers to specialize in, including:

Specialist Zoologist

Generally, a zoologist works with one type of animal and has the opportunity to study the intricacies of their environment, well-being and its interactions with humans, predators and prey. Mammalogists, ornithologists, ichthyologists and entomologists study mammals, birds and fish respectively. Working in these specialty fields usually requires a master’s or a doctoral degree to perform research.

Wildlife Biologist

A wildlife biologist works mainly in the lab, so you’ll be working in an indoor environment most of the time. You’ll test results from specimens gathered from a zoologist’s findings and assist in presenting conclusions for academic institutions and government agencies. However, wildlife biologists can make a transition to jobs in ecology, conservation and wildlife education if they prefer.

Ecologist

An ecologist studies the relationship between life forms and the environment they live in. They can also be a specialist in a certain environment if they’ve worked on it for a long time such as freshwater marshlands or forest.

Marine Biologist

A marine biologist only studies life forms in saltwater environments like oceans or tidal flats. They work constantly to gather information underwater about life and the environments they’re a part of in addition to how sea life migrates from one habitat to another.

How to become a zoologist

Here are the steps you should take if you want to become a zoologist:

  1. Pursue a bachelors’ degree.
  2. Obtain skills through volunteer opportunities and internships.
  3. Earn a graduate degree in zoology.
  4. Interview for an entry-level position.

1. Pursue a bachelors’ degree

You’ll need a bachelor’s degree to work as a zoologist, so consider preparing yourself by taking science classes in high school. The bachelor’s program you’re interested in may be located in a different state, so be prepared to relocate if necessary and understand the parameters of the program you decide to enroll in.

Some of the main courses you’ll need to take at the university level include biology, chemistry, physics and math. All of these courses may have different subcategories that you may have to enroll in to earn the required credits to graduate from the program. You will need to work with your faculty advisor to make sure that your academic track is in line with your career path.

2. Obtain skills through volunteer opportunities and internships

Reach out to local zoos or organizations that offer volunteering and internships. These opportunities provide you the chance to learn about different areas of zoology and how to interact with animals in a way that’s conducive to your learning experience. Also, you can receive college credit and network with professionals that can help you get a job if one becomes available.

Here are some skills that zoologists can gain during an internship or volunteer opportunity:

Communication skills

An intern or volunteer must be able to communicate with the members, so everyone can perform their jobs effectively. You’ll need to understand the situation to respond to feedback accordingly to service animals or the research you’re assisting with.

Active listening skills

Active listening is a skill that helps you to be present and responsive to your listener. Your internship may consist of one-on-one interactions with your supervisor who’s giving step-by-step instructions on how to complete an important project. Therefore, active listening skills you gain during your experience improves the way you ask questions, carry out tasks, read nonverbal cues and take accurate notes on specific details from your supervisor.

Computer skills

You’ll need to enhance your technical skills to log crucial research data gathered from zoologists in the field. This is also the first time you’ll be working with managing your emails on a professional level and understanding new programs used by specialists, so the application of active listening skills generates beneficial results for your development.

Time management skills

Time management is a noteworthy skill to obtain as a zoologist. The careful evaluation of life, behavioral patterns and lab results requires you to compartmentalize and focus on one task at a time. In the end, this skill can define the goals you want to accomplish daily on behalf of your employer.

3. Earn a graduate degree in zoology

You can typically go directly into this step once you get a bachelor’s degree, especially if your undergraduate university has a graduate program in zoology. You could consider a Ph.D. program if you’re looking for opportunities to research and teach other students interested in zoology.

4. Interview and receive an offer for a position

After you complete your education, you can choose to join the workforce to gain professional experience. If you find the right position, then you can make a career out of this role, or you choose to go to graduate school. Zoos hire zoologists, but zoologists can also work for the government or conservation organizations.

Zoology is the study of living animals within a specified location. These professionals examine behaviors within a certain population and how species can interact with one another. Being a zoologist requires you to work in indoor and outdoor environments to perform research and collect valuable information for further testing and analysis. In this article, we will outline what a zoologist does, the average salary of a zoologist, types of zoologists and how to become one.

What does a zoologist do?

A zoologist uses their skillset to obtain and review animal specimens after they acquire them from various environments.

Once a zoologist acquires the specimens from the animals, they perform detailed research that identifies the outlook of the population, address potential threats that harm their quality of life, oversee hunting programs and protocol in those populations and propose conservation solutions. Research can also be distributed to a university, zoo or the federal government for appropriate use.

Some of the zoologists’ findings can be related to:

  • The ecosystem they live in
  • Physical traits
  • Diets
  • Human impact
  • Reproduction
  • Migration
  • Disease
  • Environmental changes

Average salary

A zoologist’s salary can vary depending on the amount of experience they have and the geographical location in which they work:

Common salary in the U.S.: $63,854 per year
Some salaries range from $16,000 to $141,000 per year.

Types of zoologists

Zoologists can pick from different careers to specialize in, including:

Specialist Zoologist

Generally, a zoologist works with one type of animal and has the opportunity to study the intricacies of their environment, well-being and its interactions with humans, predators and prey. Mammalogists, ornithologists, ichthyologists and entomologists study mammals, birds and fish respectively. Working in these specialty fields usually requires a master’s or a doctoral degree to perform research.

Wildlife Biologist

A wildlife biologist works mainly in the lab, so you’ll be working in an indoor environment most of the time. You’ll test results from specimens gathered from a zoologist’s findings and assist in presenting conclusions for academic institutions and government agencies. However, wildlife biologists can make a transition to jobs in ecology, conservation and wildlife education if they prefer.

Ecologist

An ecologist studies the relationship between life forms and the environment they live in. They can also be a specialist in a certain environment if they’ve worked on it for a long time such as freshwater marshlands or forest.

Marine Biologist

A marine biologist only studies life forms in saltwater environments like oceans or tidal flats. They work constantly to gather information underwater about life and the environments they’re a part of in addition to how sea life migrates from one habitat to another.

How to become a zoologist

Here are the steps you should take if you want to become a zoologist:

  1. Pursue a bachelors’ degree.
  2. Obtain skills through volunteer opportunities and internships.
  3. Earn a graduate degree in zoology.
  4. Interview for an entry-level position.

1. Pursue a bachelors’ degree

You’ll need a bachelor’s degree to work as a zoologist, so consider preparing yourself by taking science classes in high school. The bachelor’s program you’re interested in may be located in a different state, so be prepared to relocate if necessary and understand the parameters of the program you decide to enroll in.

Some of the main courses you’ll need to take at the university level include biology, chemistry, physics and math. All of these courses may have different subcategories that you may have to enroll in to earn the required credits to graduate from the program. You will need to work with your faculty advisor to make sure that your academic track is in line with your career path.

2. Obtain skills through volunteer opportunities and internships

Reach out to local zoos or organizations that offer volunteering and internships. These opportunities provide you the chance to learn about different areas of zoology and how to interact with animals in a way that’s conducive to your learning experience. Also, you can receive college credit and network with professionals that can help you get a job if one becomes available.

Here are some skills that zoologists can gain during an internship or volunteer opportunity:

Communication skills

An intern or volunteer must be able to communicate with the members, so everyone can perform their jobs effectively. You’ll need to understand the situation to respond to feedback accordingly to service animals or the research you’re assisting with.

Active listening skills

Active listening is a skill that helps you to be present and responsive to your listener. Your internship may consist of one-on-one interactions with your supervisor who’s giving step-by-step instructions on how to complete an important project. Therefore, active listening skills you gain during your experience improves the way you ask questions, carry out tasks, read nonverbal cues and take accurate notes on specific details from your supervisor.

Computer skills

You’ll need to enhance your technical skills to log crucial research data gathered from zoologists in the field. This is also the first time you’ll be working with managing your emails on a professional level and understanding new programs used by specialists, so the application of active listening skills generates beneficial results for your development.

Time management skills

Time management is a noteworthy skill to obtain as a zoologist. The careful evaluation of life, behavioral patterns and lab results requires you to compartmentalize and focus on one task at a time. In the end, this skill can define the goals you want to accomplish daily on behalf of your employer.

3. Earn a graduate degree in zoology

You can typically go directly into this step once you get a bachelor’s degree, especially if your undergraduate university has a graduate program in zoology. You could consider a Ph.D. program if you’re looking for opportunities to research and teach other students interested in zoology.

4. Interview and receive an offer for a position

After you complete your education, you can choose to join the workforce to gain professional experience. If you find the right position, then you can make a career out of this role, or you choose to go to graduate school. Zoos hire zoologists, but zoologists can also work for the government or conservation organizations.

A zoologist studies wildlife and other animals to gather data on how they interact with their ecosystems. They study the impact humans have on wildlife and natural habitats and the physical characteristics of animals and animal behavior. Zoologists may work in laboratories or offices. However, they often work outdoors in the field to study animals and gather data in their natural habitats.

Watch a video to learn what a zoologist does:

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How to Become a Zoologist

Zoologists require at least a bachelor’s degree in zoology and wildlife biology, or in a related field like ecology. An undergraduate degree in biology with studies in wildlife biology and zoology is a good preparation for this career. For higher-level investigative work or scientific work, a master’s degree is needed. A Ph.D. Is required for the majority of independent research positions and for university research positions.

Students take courses in anatomy, ecology, cellular biology, and wildlife management. Courses may also focus on a particular group of animals, like ornithology (birds) or herpetology (amphibians and reptiles). Because zoologists should be well-rounded with a scientific background, courses in physics, botany, and chemistry are important. Students should also have courses in statistics and mathematics in order to do complex data analysis.

Research Related Careers in Science

How to become a zoologist

How to become a zoologist

How to become a zoologist

How to become a zoologist

How to become a zoologist

How to become a zoologist

Job Description of a Zoologist

How to become a zoologist

Depending on the level of education of a zoologist, they typically develop and conduct experimental studies with animals in their natural habitats or in controlled settings. They collect specimens and biological data for analysis and study the characteristics of animals, including diseases, population, reproduction, and movement patterns. He or she studies how human interaction affects wildlife and their natural habitats.

A zoologist attempts ways to improve breeding programs that support healthy endangered species, game animals, or other wildlife populations. They write research papers, reports, and scholarly articles explaining their findings and/or give presentations to the general public or academics. They may develop conservation plans and make recommendations on wildlife management and conservation to policymakers and the general public.

Zoologist Job Posting

Let’s look at a job description posted by the Smithsonian Institution for a Research Zoologist. This job announcement is looking for a person to perform the following responsibilities:

  • Initiates, develops, and participates in integrative scientific research, including fieldwork, on invertebrates (exclusive of hexapods, myriapods, and arachnids).
  • Enhances and curates portions of the National Collection related to his/her specialty area.
  • Serves as consultant and expert adviser on professional matters in the areas of expertise on Museum exhibitions, taxonomic identifications, and reports on items and collections submitted to the Museum; data management; strategic planning; reviewing research proposals, manuscripts, and published materials; answering public inquiries; and lecturing to professional associations, educational institutions, civic groups, clubs, and other organizations.

This position was posted to run from 11/07/2018 to 01/07/2019 with a salary of $81,548 to $86,984 per year on USAjobs.gov, part of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Free Student and Teacher Resources

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute (link opens in a new tab) provides virtual exhibits through their website. They also provide information to educate the public on what it takes to care for the animals.

Zoologist Career Video 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.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists.

National Center for O*NET Development. 19-1023.00. O*NET OnLine.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

Learn how to become a zoologist. Research the education and career requirements, training information and experience required for starting a career in zoology.

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Should I Become a Zoologist?

Zoology is the study of living organisms, specifically animals. Zoologists study multiple species in a certain ecosystem, population interactions, and specific species or behaviors. They collect and analyze data in labs or outdoor environments. Many conduct research and teach at universities, while others are employed at zoos or federal agencies with a concern for wildlife. Travel might be required, and work is often accomplished in challenging weather conditions.

Zoology degrees are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. A bachelor’s degree is the minimum education required for jobs in the field, while a master’s degree qualifies an individual for higher-level positions with more pay and responsibility. A Ph.D. is needed for positions involving original research and developing plans for conservation or management.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D.
Degree Field Zoology
Experience Required
Key Skills Skills in science, critical thinking, complex problem solving, decision making, active learning, writing, proficiency with Microsoft Office and scientific software
Median Salary (2018) $63,420 per year (for all zoologists and wildlife biologists)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O*Net OnLine

To become a zoologist, you need a college degree in the field of zoology. Depending on where you work, this could be a bachelor’s, master’s, or Ph.D. Experience is also required to advance in the field, and employers look for skills in:

  • Science
  • Critical thinking
  • Complex problem solving
  • Decision making
  • Active learning
  • Writing
  • Proficiency with Microsoft Office and scientific software

As for the typical salary, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the median annual salary for all zoologists and wildlife biologists in May 2018 was $63,420.

How to Become a Zoologist

Here are four steps to take if you want to become a zoologist.

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology

Some bachelor’s degree programs in zoology allow for specialization and others are more generalized. Core courses for most programs are general biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics. Sometimes the biology requirement is divided into courses in molecular and organismal biology. If specialization is allowed or required, options are marine biology, ecology, genetics, animal behavior, or zoo and aquarium science. You can create a specialization by taking certain elective courses in the subject.

With a bachelor’s degree in zoology, you can get an entry-level job as a zoologist or wildlife biologist, since there are minimal education and experience requirements. Once you gain more experience, you can move up to higher paying positions. While some entry-level zoologists and wildlife biologists conduct research, the majority of professionals need a graduate degree.

Get involved in volunteer work or internships. Not only can volunteering and interning count for college credit, these experiences provide networking opportunities, which help with finding future employment. Spots for internships are limited, so you can boost your chances of being selected by doing volunteer work. A few internships offer a stipend or paycheck to participants.

Step 2: Obtain Employment with a Bachelor’s Degree

This step is optional because you may decide to enter a graduate program immediately after graduating from a bachelor’s program. Working in the field is beneficial when applying for and completing a graduate degree program. On the other hand, you may find employment and remain in your position without earning a graduate degree.

While zoologists are employed at zoos, they don’t do the same job as zookeepers. Zookeepers focus on the care and feeding of zoo animals rather than animal research. Zoologists can also work for conservation organizations and federal agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Step 3: Earn a Graduate Degree in Zoology

Master’s and Ph.D. programs in zoology consist of coursework that is similar in subject matter to a bachelor’s program, especially if they are offered through the same university. However, graduate-level courses are more advanced and research-oriented. Students are typically taught in seminars.

Master’s degree programs have a thesis and non-thesis option. In a non-thesis degree program, students need to pass an exam instead of completing a research project. The dissertation is the main focus of a doctoral program. Students are required to carry out original research, record and write about it, and orally defend the research to peers and department faculty members. Examples of research dissertations include wolf spider foraging behavior, toxicity effects of certain chemicals on rainbow trout, and how nutrient availability affects phytoplankton communities.

Step 4: Work as a Zoologist

After completing a master’s degree in zoology, you might qualify for a higher-level job with more pay and research opportunities. Teaching and research opportunities are open for those with doctoral degrees. Research at this level is used to develop new ideas and plans for conservation of certain animal species.

Consider joining a professional organization in the field of zoology. Many specialized branches of biology and zoology have societies and associations in which a professional in the field can be a member. As a member, you can read papers written by other professionals, make connections, and learn about workshops or classes for continuing education.

Explore the career requirements for zoologists. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, employment outlook and salary to determine if this is the right career for you.

What Does a Zoologist Do?

Zoologists study animals, including their habitats, diseases and characteristics, both in natural and laboratory settings. Their goal is to understand how species function, behave and interact with other creatures through conducted experiments. They also evaluate the impact of human life on nature. Their findings enable them to develop programs that support healthy breeding and present them to public. The following chart gives an overview of what you need to know to enter this profession.

Degree Required Bachelor’s and/or master’s degree; PhD for research positions
Education Field of Study Zoology, biology
Key Skills Observe/study animal behavior, life cycles, environment, health/diseases; write research papers
Job Growth (2018-2028) 5% for Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists*
Median Salary (2018) $63,420 for Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What is a Zoologist?

A zoologist is a biological scientist who studies the origins, life cycles, behaviors, environmental interactions and diseases of animals. As a zoologist, you may spend time working in nature as well as in a laboratory. You may choose a specialization, such as ornithology, mammalogy, ichthyology, herpetology, taxonomy or ecology.

Step 1: Research Career Options and Education Requirements

For some positions as a zoologist, you may need only a bachelor’s degree, while others may require you to earn a master’s degree or a PhD. If you are interested in applied research, teaching or product development, a bachelor’s or master’s degree may be sufficient. However, if you are more interested in independent research, you will most likely need a PhD.

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

You will need to earn a bachelor’s degree no matter what type of work you plan to do. If you plan to go on to earn an advanced degree, you do not necessarily need to major in zoology, but a strong science background is required. Graduate programs may require that you take courses in biology, chemistry, physics, biochemistry and calculus.

If you plan to stop at a bachelor’s degree, you should major in zoology or another biological science. Bachelor’s degree programs may offer a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science in Zoology. The BA option may prepare you for study in medical or veterinary school, while the BS option is the preferred degree if you’re considering earning a master’s or PhD, or if you want to find work as a zoologist. Both degree options include classes in animal physiology, animal ecology and parasitology. However, the BS option allows you to enroll in a wider selection of zoology elective courses.

Step 3: Gain Experience

Practical experience in zoology can be helpful whether you plan to seek employment after earning your bachelor’s degree or go on to graduate school. To gain experience, you may participate in internships, research or co-op programs during your undergraduate years. Gaining experience can help you hone the skills necessary to work as a zoologist, such as writing research papers and proposals, working independently and as part of a team, working with computers and paying attention to details.

Step 4: Earn a Graduate Degree

Depending on the type of work you are interested in, you may need to earn a master’s degree or a PhD in zoology. Some master’s degree programs require that you conduct research and complete a thesis, while others are coursework-based. PhD programs require that you conduct research and prepare a dissertation. Some PhD programs allow you to choose an area of specialization, such as ecology or marine biology. In some cases, you may need to earn a master’s degree before you may enroll in a PhD program.

Step 5: Find a Job

A number of careers are available in the field of zoology. Some of the jobs that you might qualify for include researcher, university professor, teacher, zookeeper, wildlife educator and wildlife rehabilitator. You may find employment with government agencies or with private companies. You may also find work that is not directly related to zoology. For example, you may advise companies on how to operate in an environmentally friendly manner, or you may help regulate environmental laws.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Related careers that only require a bachelor’s degree include agricultural/food scientists and conservation scientists/foresters. Agricultural and food scientists discover ways to improve plant growth, food products and farm crops. Conservation scientists and foresters focus on land quality and natural resources.

Do you love animals and wildlife? Do you often wish you could go out to live and work with animals? Well, if you become a zoologist you can do just that!

A zoologist is often referred to as a wildlife biologist and is one of the natural sciences where you have to study various animals in their natural habitats, as well as their behavior when in captivation, or in laboratories. Most entry level jobs require you to have an undergraduate degree in biology majoring in zoology, but for most research jobs you will be required to have your PhD. The job outlook for zoologists is good, with a predicted 13% increase in jobs over the next 8 years, so now is the perfect time to go become a zoologist.

How to become a zoologist

A zoologist is not simply an animal behavior expert, but also studies animal diseases, life process, reproduction, feeding habits, and the number of certain animals. Most zoologists tend to specialize in one type of animal that appeals to them and interests them the most, for example, mammalogists study mammals, ichthyologists study fish, ornithologists study birds, and herpetologists study reptiles. Some zoologists go one step further and decide to only study elephants, or sharks.

To become a zoologist you should start out when you are in high school volunteering at zoos, animal shelters, kennels, and aquariums to gain experience working with animals. Subjects you should take include mathematics, chemistry, biology, and physics.

The next step is to get your undergraduate degree in zoology or biology with suggested additional classes like genetics, botany, anthropology, evolution, animal psychology, stats, chemistry, mathematics, ecology, conservation and biochemistry. If you want to get accepted into the best jobs, you should also think about taking extra courses in English, a foreign language and technical writing, as you will need top communication skills in this line of work. If you want to teach zoology, go into management positions, or conduct research you will need to advance your qualification with a Master’s and Doctorate degree.

A zoologist has the ability to work in government and may eventually get to head up a national wildlife refuge facility once they have enough experience. Currently the federal government offers the highest number of zoologist jobs, but you can also find work in zoos, national parks, nature reserves, research labs, and museums. If you decide to move into the research side of things, then you also need to understand how to write and apply for government funding and acquire the necessary grants in order to carry out the research. Some zoologists end up becoming vets, animal dentists, or go into teaching biology or science at schools or colleges.

With zoology being an important job, there are also various scholarship programs offered by various organizations including The National Science Foundation, The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, The Association for Women in Science, Iowa Lakes Community College, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, and the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab just to name a few.

It is common for a zoologist to work a regular 40 hour week, but sometimes when conducting research or in the field longer hours are expected, with zoologists working into the night, and occasionally over weekends and holidays.

An important part of being a zoologist is working outdoors in the field and you have to be prepared to travel extensively and work outdoors for periods of time in cold or hot conditions. You should be fit and healthy with a calm personality that sooths the animals you are working with. Depending on what animals you study, the job can have a certain element of danger, so extra precautions and preventative measures should always be taken. You should also be prepared to dissect dead animals to learn more about them.

Becoming a zoologist is something that many people think about because they love animals, but then never do. Don’t let this be you.

Zoologist Salary Information

Quick Zoologist Employment Facts

Job Title: Zoologist
Office: Laboratory, an office, or out in the field.
Description: The study of wildlife and animals.
Certifications/Education: A Bachelor degree in zoology or biological sciences is needed for entry level jobs, but for managerial positions and research, a Master’s and PhD is required.
Necessary Skills: Dedication, patience, able to communicate effectively, knowledge of computers, must be a team player, able to lead, and have an analytical mind.
Potential Employers: Zoos, National Parks, Nature Reserves, Museums, Research labs, and Government Organizations.
Pay: The annual average income of a zoologist is $61,000 with Maryland being the highest paying State offering $91,000 on average for a zoologist.

Alexandra has taught middle school science and has a master’s degree in Math and Science Education.

What Is a Zoologist?

Have you ever visited a zoo? What did you see there? You probably saw all sorts of exotic animals, like tigers, monkeys, and giraffe. Zoologists are the scientists who study these and other animals! Zoology is the study of animals and their behavior, and the word comes from the Greek zo, which means animal. Zoologists study these animals in both the wild or in laboratory settings. Learn more about what zoologists do each day and how to become one yourself!

Some zoologists study animals that are captive, like this polar bear in the zoo. Zoologists may study what the polar bear likes to eat, games it likes to play, and other behaviors.

How to become a zoologist

What Do Zoologists Do?

Zoology is a life science, like biology. All zoologists study animals in some way. This includes researching animals and writing reports. There’s a wide range of jobs that zoologists may have. Some specialize in one particular animal, and others focus on a certain group of animals. Zoologists may even study diseases in animals. Here are some example of activities that zoologists may engage in:

  • Collect information about animals in their natural habitat, which is the place where an animal lives.
  • Teach the community about animals, including those that may be endangered.
  • Conduct experiments using animals in the lab or in the wild to learn more about their behavior.
  • Study groups of animals and how they interact with one another.
  • Determine the impacts of humans on animal populations due to factors like pollution and hunting.
  • Create plans to help save animals that may be sick or in danger.

Some zoologists study animals in their natural habitat, such as these elephants in Africa.

How to become a zoologist

How to Become a Zoologist

If you think you want to be a zoologist when you grow up, there are already steps you can take to get there! Science and math are both very important for this job, so do your best in school! You may even do a great deal of writing, so your English class is also something you should work hard in. Once you are in high school, see if there are any advanced biology courses that you can take. There may even be some special classes about animals!

If your school has a science fair, this is a great chance to practice the job of a zoologist to see if you like it. Study the behavior of your pets or animals in your community to see what you can find. There may even be some clubs or programs after school that you could join that are about animals or other science fields. Lastly, do you have a zoo in the area? Ask if you can volunteer in the summer to see what it’s like to work there!

Lesson Summary

Being a zoologist is an important job that helps us understand animals and their behavior, both in their natural habitats and in controlled environments. If you are interested in studying zoology, start observing the animals around you and learn as much as you can!