Wildlife Biology

Wildlife biology has diverse career paths for those passionate about animals and maintaining their natural environments. Read on to discover more about education and careers in conservation and research.

Inside Wildlife Biology

Wildlife biologists study wild animals and plants in their natural environments. They concentrate on protecting wildlife surroundings and observing animal populations. Wildlife biologists are regularly hired as educators and researchers and often work as government employees. Because this profession frequently requires lengthy research, successful wildlife biologists are patient and self-disciplined, with high stamina.

Education Options

Colleges and universities offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs in wildlife biology. Depending on their career goals, some students choose to obtain an undergraduate degree in biology and work on a wildlife specialization in graduate school. Courses typically include ecology, zoology, wildlife management, animal behavior, mammalogy and botany. Students usually participate in fieldwork experiences and labs as well.

While a bachelor's degree is sufficient for many wildlife biology jobs, some positions require a master's or PhD degree. These are typically research or teaching jobs that require extensive wildlife knowledge. Wildlife biology graduate degree programs involve internships and field exploration in addition to biology courses. Below are links to articles about some of the degree programs available.

Distance Learning Options

Wildlife biology degree programs are fieldwork-intensive, but there are many core science courses that students must take. Here are some virtual education options related to wildlife biology.

Career Information

A career in wildlife biology can lead to many different employment opportunities, such as field research, consulting work, and postsecondary teaching. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a large percentage of wildlife biologists - close to 58% in 2012 - work for government agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service (www.bls.gov). Here are some articles describing career options.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The BLS has estimated a 5% employment increase during 2012-2022 for wildlife biologists and zoologists; this is slower than for the average profession. However, the BLS predicts that with increased concern about climate change and other environmental issues, wildlife biologists will likely have good job opportunities. The BLS also noted that wildlife biologists and zoologists earned a mean annual wage of $62,500 in May 2012.

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