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Zoology And Wildlife Biology Careers

Career Description

Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists study the origins, behavior, diseases, genetics, and life processes of animals and wildlife. May specialize in wildlife research and management, including the collection and analysis of biological data to determine the environmental effects of present and potential use of land and water areas.

Common Work Tasks

  • Study animals and wildlife—their origin,  behavior, diseases, and life processes
  • Experiment with live animals in controlled or natural surroundings
  • Dissect dead animals to study their structure
  • Collect and analyze biological data to determine the environmental effects of current and potential uses of land and water areas
  • Inventory or estimate plant and wildlife populations
  • Make recommendations on management systems and planning for wildlife populations and habitat, consulting with stakeholders and the public at large to explore options
  • Disseminate information by writing reports and scientific papers or journal articles, and by making presentations and giving talks for schools, clubs, interest groups and park interpretive programs
  • Study characteristics of animals such as origin,  interrelationships, classification, life histories and diseases, development,  genetics, and distribution

Other Job Titles

Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists are also known by other titles, including:

  • Biological Scientists
  • Biologists
  • Biochemists and Biophysicists
  • Mammalogists

Education,  Training, and Experience

Education and Training
A Ph.D.  degree usually is necessary for independent research, industrial research, and college teaching, as well as for advancement to administrative positions. A master’s degree is sufficient for some jobs in applied research, product development, management, or inspection; it also may qualify one to work as a research technician or a teacher. The bachelor’s degree is adequate for some non-research jobs.

Zoologists and wildlife biologists should be able to work independently or as part of a team and be able to communicate clearly and concisely, both orally and in writing. Those in private industry, especially those who aspire to management or administrative positions, should possess strong business and communication skills and be familiar with regulatory issues and marketing and management techniques. Those doing field research in remote areas must have physical stamina. Zoologists and wildlife biologists also must have patience and self-discipline to conduct long and detailed research projects.


The median annual salary for a Zoologists and Wildlife Biologist is $55,000. The top 10 percent earn more than $89,000, and the lowest 10 percent earn less than $34,000.  Median earnings in the industries employing the largest number of zoologists and wildlife biologists are:

  • State Government  - $50,150
  • Federal Executive Branch - $69,630
  • Scientific Research and Development Services - $61,230
  • Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services - $70,670
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools - $47,910

Job Outlook

  • 2006-2016 Employment growth:  9%
  • Number of new jobs created 2006-2016: 1,700
  • Employment 2006 : 20,000
  • Employment 2016:  22,000

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