Becoming a Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Biologists study wildlife with other animals in relation to their natural surroundings as well as ecosystem. They observe various characteristics of animals, such as their interactions with other species, reproduction, population dynamics, diseases, and movement patterns. They collect blood from an animal to analyze the state of its health. They study how human activity impacts the wildlife. They may also be responsible for conducting census projects, research studies, and complex data analysis of wildlife and habitats. These professionals may be involved with managing forests or wetlands, developing land and water use plans, working to save endangered species, evaluating the impact of commercial ventures on local wildlife, or studying wildlife disease transmission. They may also interact with wildlife rehabilitators, environmental scientists or other related professionals on the issues of wildlife conservation and environment protection.
Wildlife Biologists may find employment in private sectors as well as public sector. They can be employed at zoos, community centers, environmental research facilities, consulting firms, educational institutions. Since these professionals spend significant amounts of time in the field gathering data and studying animals in their natural habitats, they travel to remote locations in both warm and cold climates and in all types of weather. Most of these professionals work full time.
To become a Wildlife Biologist, the aspiring candidates need to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a wildlife biology, zoology or related field, such as ecology. A master’s degree is required at higher level investigative or scientific work while a Ph.D. is necessary for research positions in this profession. The Wildlife Society offers exam-based certification to these professionals.
The course work includes ecology, anatomy, genetics, animal behavior, environment, statistics, wildlife management etc. The candidates need also be familiar with the use of various computer based technologies and advanced methods of data manipulation.
Job Outlook and Salary
According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities for Wildlife Biologists may rise 4% from 2014 to 2024. The average annual salary of a Wildlife Biologist was $58,270 in 2014.