Careers in Wildlife Biology

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Graduates with a degree in wildlife biology qualify for an expanding variety of careers. A wildlife biologist can enjoy an exciting and challenging career working in the wild or in a zoo, wildlife nursery or research facility. It is a job that requires research, creative problem solving and old-fashioned common sense. Anyone who wants a career in wildlife biology should have a strong commitment to animal welfare and species conservation.

Wildlife Biologist

  • Wildlife biology is the study of wild animals and their environments. Wildlife biologists typically conduct research and perform investigations into man's impact on wildlife. Work may be available anywhere, and jobs may include extensive travel, but some wildlife biologists man a desk or a research lab. The more valuable you make yourself with education and experience, the better chance you have of more career excitement.

Qualifications

  • To get a job in wildlife biology, you'll need a bachelor's degree at minimum, and most places won't even consider hiring you without a master's degree for a research position. Before you decide on what school to attend, find out how much they have to offer. A school with a great research program and nearby internship opportunities is best. School curriculum can vary widely. Some schools offer generalized programs geared to a broader range of careers, others have the specific programs you need for a career in wildlife biology. Shop around until you find the school that best fits your career objectives.

Communication

  • Communication skills are crucial to the career advancement of any scientist. Research grants and lecture opportunities often depend on communication skills, so funding for your research may ride on how well you can present your material. Courses in public speaking, writing, journalism and presentation will help ensure a more successful long-range career.

Experience

  • Competition for jobs is fierce. To separate yourself from the crowd, spend some time in the field acquiring practical, hands-on experience. Take a summer internship between semesters, accept a part time volunteer position, or seek work as an apprentice. Another good way to show your skill and knowledge is by keeping a blog up-to-date with intelligent commentary and observations in your chosen field. Potential employers will Google you. Make sure that what they find is what you want them to know.

Salary Expectations

  • This is one of those jobs you do for love, not money. The number of superstar biologists is small. The most you can hope for is about $32,000 to start. But once you have some experience and a solid resume, your earning potential goes up to between $41,400 and $67,200 on average and top earners in the field pull in an average of $84,000.

Alternate Careers

  • With a bachelor's degree you can qualify for various jobs such as conservation officer or game warden, bird conservationist or fisheries biologist. Potential duties may include upholding fish and game laws, studying animals, fish and birds, working as a lab technologist or caring for animals in a zoo. The possibilities are endless, but it's a field of study with more candidates than openings.

References

  • Photo Credit law_keven/flickr.com creative commons
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