4 Top Jobs for Ecology Majors

job biologist

A biologist puts a tracking collar on a wild mountain lion. Photo by MyFWCmedia, Flickr

With more people, companies, and governments “going green” a renewed focus on clean energy, conservation, and preservation has led to a boom in environmental fields. Degrees in ecology have become very desirable in the job market. The breadth of potential employment opportunities in the field of ecology will likely only continue to grow in the coming years. Jobs for ecology majors are diverse and range from employment geared towards science and mathematics to careers in direct contact with flora and fauna.

Ecological Consultant

An ecological consultant’s main task is to ensure that their clients comply with environmental standards and regulations. Providing construction services, producing due diligence reports, and consulting with commercial real estate firms are among the more common areas of focus for ecological consultants.

While ecological consultants are typically required to hold a bachelor’s ecology degree or in another related field, many also pursue master’s degrees as well. The median salary of an ecological consultant in the United States is $48,000 annually.

Wildlife Communications Specialist

Wildlife communications specialists focus on the education aspect of ecology. They often write, review, and prepare literature, curriculums, programs, and materials for wildlife educators and organizations. They frequently focus on sustainability in the fields of fisheries and hunting

Wildlife communications specialists are typically required to hold a bachelor’s degree in ecology or fish and wildlife management. Some background in public relations is also preferred for this position.

Although their job is rather different from that of an ecological consultant, they receive similar pay, with the average wildlife communications specialist making $46,000 per year in the U.S.

Environmental Analyst

The environmental analyst career path is one that is more heavily oriented towards science and mathematics than some of the other jobs in the ecology career field. Focused primarily on pollution, analysts plan and develop research models, identify and analyze pollution sources, and use synthesized data to set environmental standards and solve ecological problems related to pollution.

Although a bachelor’s degree in ecology is sufficient for some entry levels positions, particularly within the public sector, many private companies require a master’s degree in a specific job related focus area. The highest end positions, primarily those that involve making important policy decisions, often require a doctorate degree.

In the case of the environmental analyst, the higher education required for the job also leads to a considerably higher salary. Environmental Analysts make a median of $68,000.00 annually.

Wildlife Biologist

Often called a zoologist, the wildlife biologist is responsible for studying wild animals and their habitats.  They determine environmental and population dynamics upon animals in their natural habitats, including the effect of pollution and other human activities.

A bachelor’s degree in a discipline such as ecology is the minimum requirement for a career in wildlife biology, however many positions, especially those that are research or academic based, require a master’s or doctorate.

Salaries of wildlife biologists vary widely dependent on the sector in which one is employed. The average salary of a wildlife biologist working for the U.S. Federal Government is $44,500. Those who work academically as professors typically see salaries closer to $60,000.

As you can see from this list of top jobs for ecology majors, they are many, interesting, and even lucrative. As businesses, governments, and private individuals move towards more sustainable practices, ecology degree jobs will be more in demand.

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