Wildlife Conservation and Management Jobs

Jobs with animals

Wildlife biologists put a tracking collar on a mountain lion. Photo by USFWS Mountain Prairie, Flickr

The field of wildlife conservation and management offers a wide range of careers that are both rewarding and challenging. These men and women can be found working with animals in wildlife preserves, state and national parks, zoos and aquariums. However, not all wildlife conservation jobs involve working directly with animals. Many positions focus on education, public relations, or data collection and analysis.

Wildlife conservation and management is a career choice in which competition is fierce. The top jobs  in wildlife conservation require higher education degrees and practical experience in wildlife management or a specialty within this vast field. Many hold a bachelor degree or higher in fields of study such as:

  • Environmental Science
  • Wildlife Conservation and Management
  • Wildlife Biology
  • Veterinary Medicine

Jobs You Can Get with Wildlife Management Degrees

Animal Control Specialists

Animal control specialists often work for city or county governments, but may also find employment with private companies. They protect citizens by removing wild animals from human domains and relocating them to the wild when possible along with their domestic animal duties. The national average salary for an animal control specialist is $35,000. They are trained in animal handling safety and must be knowledgeable in wildlife and domestic animal laws and ordinances. Most employers will require a minimum of an associate’s degree.

Wildlife Biologist

Wildlife biologists can be found working in a laboratory or in the field. Research and nonprofit organizations, hire them to conduct experiments and study animal biology. In the field, they research animal behavior, ecosystems, and how humans and animals interact. The expected salary for a wildlife biologist is around $60,000. This career path requires at bachelor degree for entry level positions.

Biologist Supervisors

Biologist supervisors are lead scientists who oversee laboratory and field work performed by wildlife biologists and technicians. They are often department heads in government agencies or private research firms. A master’s degree is required for this position which pays an average salary of $72,000.

Game Warden

A game warden is a wildlife conservation and management officer whose duty is to enforce local, state and federal laws in regard to hunting and fishing regulations, pollution, wild animal possession, and habitat protection. They are often seen patrolling campgrounds and parks, as well as locally known hunting and fishing areas. The national average salary is $54,000. Most states require a bachelor’s degree in any field, but they give favor to those with degrees related to natural science.

Wildlife Educator

Wildlife educators are employed by zoos, aquariums, and animal advocacy agencies, to name a few. They work to educate the public on issues related to ecology, wildlife conservation, animal behaviors, and natural resources. Compensation for these positions greatly depends on education and experience, with degree holders earning the highest wages.

University Professor

University professors educate students. They work in educational settings teaching subjects like biology, conservation, wildlife Law, and ecology. This job most often requires a master’s degree or Ph.D. and many institutions also require a teaching certificate. A professor can make as much as $125,000 per year, depending on the institute in which he or she works.

Wildlife Inspectors

Wildlife conservation jobs

Federal wildlife inspectors are stationed at ports of entry. Photo by Bill Butcher/USFWS, Flickr

Wildlife inspectors work at international ports of entry such as airports and seaports. They conduct inspections to identify illegally transported live animals or animal parts. They use forensic investigation techniques to discover the origin the smuggled animals and provide the findings to law enforcement. An advanced degree with specialty education in forensics is needed to work as a wildlife inspector. The average salary earned is $80,000.

According to the Department of Labor, entry level jobs in wildlife conservation and management require a bachelor’s degree. In most cases, a master’s degree is needed to advance in this field. Therefore, a sound education is the first step to finding a career in wildlife conservation and management.

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