Top wildlife biologist skills needed to get the job.

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What are the top 3 traits or skills every wildlife biologist must have to excel?

Can you suggest any tips or insights to develop your wildlife biologist expertise?

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Marshrat in Colorado Springs, Colorado

88 months ago

Love for the outdoors and outdoors people; ability to communicate with a variety of groups and educational levels; thick skin to deal with politics of government work.

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WildlifeGuy in Mt. Washington, Kentucky

67 months ago

First off, I disagree with a lot of the posts I see about "not making any money" as a wildlife biologist. That is simply not true. No, you are not apt to get rich, but you can certainly make a decent living? The truth is that to get your foot in the door, you often have to start as a Wildlife Technician or an entry level biologist, and these positions don't pay all that well. Like with most careers, however, there is a ladder, and you simply have to work your way up it. Just go take a look at the federal Wildlife Biologist jobs on USAJobs. They range anywhere from $37,000/yr up to $100,000+/yr. No, your not going to start out at $100,000/yr, but there is room for growth as you increase your experience. So don't let all the negative talk about salary discourage you.

As far as the three skills, the previous posters have hit on the most important ones in my book.

1) The first is probably the ability to communicate well with different groups of people - whether that be sportsmen, reporters, general public, landowners, etc.

2) If you are seeking government work, then you certainly need to be prepared to deal with beauracracy. Its depressing sometimes, but its a part of the job. You just have to learn to do the best that you can within the boundaries that you are given.

3) Most positions now require excellent computer skills, with experience in word processing, databases, and it definitely helps to have experience with GIS software such as ArcView, ArcGIS, etc.

Really, other skills that you will need are dependent upon the type of work you plan to do, as there are so many niches within the field of wildlife management. Certainly, if you are going to be a field biologist, then you have to have a love for the outdoors, and be willing to work in sometimes extreme conditions. If you are seeking working with private landowners to improve habitat on their property, then you need to know basic farming practices, Farm Bill programs, etc.

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Carly Elledge in Ware Shoals, South Carolina

54 months ago

Tania in San Carlos, Costa Rica said: People skills

Analytical skills

Love to live outdoors. And this means, not for a week, for looong time. Get wet, get dirty, get stinged, get bad food, get low pay.

Study and work a lot, and not get paid for it

Patience to repeat to people the same information again and again and in diferent ways so they understand nature is worth preserving.

Ability to cope with no good salary

Physicall condition

Able to love animals and outdoors and like what you do because you only get paid like 80,000 a year

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Carly Elledge in Ware Shoals, South Carolina

54 months ago

Tania in San Carlos, Costa Rica said: People skills

Analytical skills

Love to live outdoors. And this means, not for a week, for looong time. Get wet, get dirty, get stinged, get bad food, get low pay.

Study and work a lot, and not get paid for it

Patience to repeat to people the same information again and again and in diferent ways so they understand nature is worth preserving.

Ability to cope with no good salary
Physicall condition

ABSOLUTELY LOVE outdoors, able to work outdoors with animals, and your gonna make a pretty decent salary

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AC in Stockton, California

42 months ago

I would agree that probably the first 3-5 years of your career(and I mean a full 12 months each) are going to be spent making 10-25k a year which probably means more like 5 total years to get 3 full years of experience unless you get lucky and land a year round job right away. So if you are doing it for the money, switch careers NOW. However most people get into wildlife because they love the outdoors, and want to see it preserved for the present and future. The three things that I would want in a future employee are 1. ability to communicate with lots of different people (be able to interact with many, sometimes bizarre personalities).2. Love the outdoors and working in dirty, and even sometimes uncomfortable conditions while keeping a sense of humor.3.Want to continue to learn regardless of whether it is in an academic setting or in the field in the biological sciences as well as keep up to date on computer technologies.

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jerry wills in Owingsville, Kentucky

41 months ago

Wildlife Biologists earn bachelor's degrees in wildlife management with classes in mammalogy, zoology, animal management and mathematics.

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Marie in Miami, Florida

36 months ago

Carly Elledge in Ware Shoals, South Carolina said: Able to love animals and outdoors and like what you do because you only get paid like 80,000 a year

To only get paid 80,000 a year? The pay doesn't matter as long as you love what you're doing. Truthfully, 80,000 is above average in my scale.

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Dhurin in Ahmadabad, India

28 months ago

Money doesn't matter as long as you love your job.Most people earn a lot but end up doing jobs that don't interest them.If you enjoy what u do and get paid at the same time,then I think its the way to go.

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Rachael in Narragansett, Rhode Island

28 months ago

Any job your doing shouldn't matter, as long as you love what you're doing and want to learn more about it.=]

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621 in Austin, Texas

27 months ago

heloow

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Jessica in Laurel, Maryland

27 months ago

Marie in Miami, Florida said: To only get paid 80,000 a year? The pay doesn't matter as long as you love what you're doing. Truthfully, 80,000 is above average in my scale.

80K that's HUGE!

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Jessica in Laurel, Maryland

27 months ago

Hi everyone,

I'm a Marine Molecular Biotechnologist by training, have been a lab rat for several years, a teacher of ecology for a year, an environmental Biologist for Brownfields and Environmental Assessments of Military Installations for 2.5 years, and am currently honing my PM and writing skills further working for several IT companies. Obviously I've not yet found my passion. I've had glimpses in the lab work, conservation and teaching which I truly excel at, but I am in a Master's of Environmental Management wondering why we're not learning about range lang management, but I now know an inordinate amount about environmental issues and the Public Sphere vs. the Scientific and Political Spheres.

Given that I started this Masters Program and I'm by no means well off, I'm pretty much scared brainless about the idea of dropping my job and my current masters program to head off to say VT, MT, CO or other locales to pursue wildlife biology. I have a completely crazy love of big critters, working WAAAAY too hard, and generally teaching and explaining ecological biology and even molecular to everyone I can get my hot little hands on. So I'm pretty sure I might just be able to hack it in this Wildlife Biology arena, and really really really love it. But I feel like for a life change of this magnitude I need to carefully and objectively come to a complete understanding of what to expect as a Wildlife Biologist. This is where you all come in. I'm in Maryland no where near the various schools which have wildlife biology programs.

I'm interested in getting my feet wet so I can objectively analyze if yes I can be a great Wildlife Biologist. Do the myriad individuals in this forum have suggestions for specific types of volunteer work, courses, activities, etc. that I can pursue to test my mettle and figure out if this really is for me?

I'm also curious if anyone would be interested in speaking one-on-one and potentially becoming an adviser to me?

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Rachael in Wakefield, Rhode Island

26 months ago

Me again, it was my goal to become a wildlife biologist.I still wish to be one, except I might not be able to...

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Megan in Pasadena, California

22 months ago

Jessica in Laurel, Maryland said: 80K that's HUGE!

Depends where you live. In CA , 80K is paycheck to paycheck. In N. Carolina, or upstate NY, well, you are very comfortable.

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