Zoology degrees open a wild array of possible career choices for working with animals. These professionals love working with wild animals in their natural habitat or a man made one. Some zoologists prefer to share their knowledge with the world through education. Others find themselves more at home working in a laboratory. Regardless of the specific job, zoology jobs entail science and research.
Anyone hoping to work in zoology should prepare themselves with a strong educational background with emphasis on natural science. Entry level jobs often require a bachelor degree. This includes technicians, research assistants, and animal caretakers. A master’s degree is needed for many jobs above entry level.
Animal researchers work in laboratories, state department of fish and game, and exotic locations like the African savannas and Brazilian jungles. They conduct experiments, study animal behavior, and discover new species. Research can involve genetics, biology, psychology, or environmental science. Other duties include specimen collection and data analysis. A master’s degree is often required for this profession. Animal researchers are employed by non-profit organizations, government organizations, scientific publications, and museums. Those with a Ph.D. can earn an average salary of $75,000.
Research or Lab Technician
With a bachelor degree it is possible to gain experience by working as a research technician. Lab techs assist researchers in observation, specimen collection, and animal care. These jobs usually pay minimum wage or slightly higher. Internship opportunities are also available at many research facilities. Technician jobs and internships are great first steps to becoming a research scientist.
Zookeeper jobs vary greatly based on location and experience. Some college plus experience with wild or exotic animals is usually required for entry level positions. In larger zoos, zookeepers are assigned to one species or a small group of related species in a zoo, such as primates, reptiles, or pachyderms. The duties of a zookeeper revolve around the animal’s daily care. Tasks include feeding animals, observing animal behaviors, and cleaning cages. They must be vigilant for any sign of injury or illness in the animal. Keeping the animals entertained is also a part of their job. Zookeepers provide toys, and play games like hiding food to provide mental stimulation known as behavioral enrichment. At this level, the average salary for a zookeeper is $21,000. Zookeepers working in larger zoos may find supervisory positions. They ensure animal care through the direction of technicians, custodians, and other zookeepers. Supervising zookeepers can earn on average $45,000 per year.
Zoologists concerned with wildlife care often choose to work in rehabilitation. These men and women rescue injured animals and prepare them to be returned to the wild. They work with animals after wildfires, oil spills, hurricanes and other disasters. They also raise orphaned animals that are not mature enough to care for themselves in the wild. The goal for a rehabilitator is to enable animals to live in their natural habitats. Most earn a position as a wildlife rehabilitator by first becoming a volunteer in the facility. Pay is generally low.
Wildlife educators work in a variety of places like museums, universities, parks, and zoos. They teach the public about all aspects of wild animals. They may also educate through published articles or television shows. Many wildlife educators hold a bachelor’s degree. Salaries for these positions range from $20,000 to $40,000 on average. Income levels greatly depend on educational background, experience and employer.
Zoology degree jobs offer flexibility and excitement. An individual may choose to keep their field of expertise broad or they can specialize in any of the hundreds of animal families. They can work locally at their city’s zoo, or their job can take them all over the world. There are limitless possibilities for those working in zoology degree jobs.