Careers in Wildlife: Advice on Getting Your First Wildlife Job

Careers in wildlifeCareers in wildlife can take you around the world or have you working close to home. For some the career path to working with wildlife started when they were young and felt a connection to animals and nature. For others, it started when they were done with working inside an office all day. The lure is understandable, as these jobs make a difference and allow people to get outdoors doing what they love. However, it’s also not a conventional career choice and taking that first step can be overwhelming. You may not even be sure what first step you should take. Learn how to start in a career working with animals and where that career can take you.

Consider the Many Opportunities Available to You

You may first think of zookeeping or wildlife veterinarian as a way to work with wildlife. However, this field actually has many opportunities. If you want to work directly with the animals, there’s zookeeping, wildlife education, veterinary medicine, biologist, and wildlife rehabilitation as career choices. However, many other jobs also directly affect wildlife and their habitat even if you don’t work in contact with that wildlife. These types of jobs include green energy development, environmental planning, legal work, and park ranger.

How to Start a Career with Wildlife

To start a career with wildlife will take gaining both specialized experience and education. Most jobs want applicants to have some of both. Some jobs will require postgraduate work and many years of experience. You can start your career today by volunteering at a local zoo, wildlife rehab center, or wildlife preserve. At the same time, start taking class in related subjects such as biology, zoology, chemistry, and other sciences.

Know the Salary Range

Starting salaries in these positions are not usually high. Many start in the $20,000 to $35,000 a year range. Senior biologists and other project management positions can make in the $60,000 to over $100,000 range. However, most in these higher salary ranges have more than 10 years of experience in their particular field of working with wildlife and a masters or Ph.D.

*Owl photo by airwolfhound, Flickr

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