Wildlife Biologist and Zoologist

Wildlife biologists and zoologists study the characteristics and habitats of animals and wildlife.


Sample of Reported Job Titles

Wildlife Biologist, Zoologist, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, Fisheries Biologist, Fishery Biologist, Wildlife Manager, Aquatic Biologist, Assistant Research Scientist, Conservation Resources Management Biologist, Environmental Specialist



Wildlife biologists do research that helps us better manage our natural resources. They may specialize in fields such as physiology, genetics, ecology, behavior, disease, nutrition, population dynamics, land use, and pollution. They are curious, patient, and persistent. While they enjoy working out-of doors with wildlife, much of their job involves interactions with people. They collect, analyze, and interpret facts objectively and skillfully, and they can report them clearly to other people.

Traditionally, most wildlife positions were civil service jobs with state, provincial, or federal agencies. Many other opportunities are now available. Some city, town, and county agencies hire wildlife management specialists, and many parks hire them for wildlife interpretation (for example, leading nature walks). Universities and colleges offering wildlife curriculums hire wildlife professionals with advanced degrees to teach and do research. After the enactment of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, environmental and other consulting firms began employing more wildlife specialists to produce environmental impact statements and other planning documents. Private employment with large firms dealing in timber, ranching, mining, energy production, paper production, and chemical production is also increasing. Each year opportunities increase in community nature or conservation centers, zoos, and a growing number of private and public conservation-related organizations around the world.

Many zoologists and wildlife biologists are identified by the types of species they study. The following are examples of those who specialize by species:

  • Entomologists study insects.
  • Herpetologists study reptiles and amphibians, such as snakes and frogs.
  • Ichthyologists study fish.
  • Mammalogists study mammals, such as monkeys and bears.
  • Ornithologists study birds.

Some wildlife biologists study animals by where they live. The following are examples of those who specialize by habitat:

  • Marine biologists study organisms that live in saltwater.
  • Limnologists study organisms that live in freshwater.

Other zoologists and wildlife biologists are identified by the aspects of zoology and wildlife biology they study, such as evolution and animal behavior. The following are some examples:

  • Ecologists study the ecosystem, which is the relationship between organisms and with the surrounding environment.
  • Evolutionary biologists study the origins of species and the changes in their inherited characteristics over generations.


Educational Requirements

Zoologists and wildlife biologists need at least a bachelor's degree. Many schools offer bachelor's degree programs in zoology, wildlife biology, or ecology. An undergraduate degree in biology with coursework in zoology and wildlife biology is also good preparation for a career as a zoologist or wildlife biologist. Zoologists and wildlife biologists typically need at least a master’s degree for higher-level positions. A Ph.D. is necessary for most independent research and for college teaching positions.


Salary Range 2010



Want to know more?

O*NET-Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

Bureau of Labor Statistics-Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

British Ecological Society

Princeton Review-Zoologist


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Belonging to professional organizations & LinkedIn groups can provide you with networking, informational interviewing, & job shadowing opportunities, as well as assist you with finding internships and jobs.

The Wildlife Society

Professional Societies for Wildlife Ecologists

The Wildlife Society LinkedIn Group

Wildlife Professionals LinkedIn Group

List of Professional Organizations

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Information retrieved from http://www.agriculture.purdue.edu/usda/careers/wildlifebiologist.html, http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/19-1023.00,


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