Wildlife biologists are professionals who focus on the study of life processes and genetic origins of animals. Many of these professionals seek careers in field research or education. Aspiring wildlife biologists seeking entry-level jobs usually complete Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs in Wildlife Biology, or an undergraduate degree program in biological science or other related major. Employers for some positions demand candidates to have advanced degrees. In this article, we will discuss the steps that prospective wildlife biologist needs to take to pursue their career.
These professionals work to determine a range of population and environmental dynamics in specific regions; they accomplish this by monitoring and researching animal and plant habitats. For instance, wildlife biologist may perform a predator-prey relationship analysis in regard to a particular species within a specified area. Alternatively, they may involve themselves in observing how pollution affects the health of a population, within such area. During the course of these activities, wildlife biologists are required to collect data and look out for recurring behavior patterns among animals. Their research culminates with the formulation of conclusions and publication of results.
While entry level positions in the profession can be sought by those completing a bachelor degree program in wildlife biology or a similar field of study, employers for more advanced positions require candidates to have earned a master degree, and quite often, even a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Coursework for aspiring wildlife biologists covers topics such as ecology, biology, and zoology. A requisite number of credits are also demanded in statistics and organic chemistry. Within the field, students can choose for majors including microbial ecology and land conservation.
Besides field work, these professionals often involve themselves in planning and conducting experiments in medical laboratories. Such lab work could focus on increasing knowledge on the spread of diseases by microorganisms including bacteria; it could also involve research on a specific ecosystem funded by a government agency. Wildlife biologists may be involved heavily in research work; they can work on subject areas such as disease control and biotechnology.
Wage & Job Potential
Private companies, university research departments and government agencies are the most common employers of wildlife biologists. In May 2010, wildlife biologists earned an average annual salary of $61,660 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) (www.bls.gov)). The minimum annual average salary earned by the top ten percent was $93,450. Job growth for wildlife biologists and zoologists was projected to be thirteen percent during the decade from 2008 to 2018 (source: BLS).