Wildlife Biologist: Job Description & Career Info
Wildlife biologists study genetic origins and life processes of animals. Many also work as educators or field researchers. Prospective candidates may enter the field with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Wildlife Biology or a related undergraduate degree in an area such as biological science. Some positions may require advanced degrees.
Job Description for a Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife biologists research and monitor plant and animal habitats in a given region to determine various environmental and population dynamics. For example, wildlife biologists may observe the effect of pollution on a population's health or analyze the predator-prey relationship for a specific species within an area. During this process, these professionals may be responsible for collecting data and looking out for repeating animal behavior patterns. Once their studies are done, they may begin formulating conclusions and publishing their results.
Aside from field work, wildlife biologists may frequently work in medical labs, planning and conducting experiments. Topics may range from advancing knowledge on the spread of bacteria or other microorganism-related diseases to conducting government-funded research on a particular ecosystem. Those heavily involved in research departments may also focus on topics in biotechnology and disease control.
Wildlife biologists frequently work for government agencies, university research departments and private companies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that as of May 2012, the mean annual salary for a wildlife biologist or zoologist was $62,500 (www.bls.gov). The top ten percent earned $95,430 or more. The BLS also noted that job opportunities for zoologists and wildlife biologists were expected to increase by 7% between 2010 and 2020.
Required Education for a Career in Wildlife Biology
While completing a bachelor's degree in wildlife biology or a similar field is sufficient for some positions, most wildlife biologists hold at least a master's degree and more often a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). Required courses for prospective wildlife biologist include zoology, biology and ecology. Students may also need to complete a certain number of credits in organic chemistry and statistics. Concentrations within the field range from land conservation to microbial ecology.
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