What does a Zoologist do?
Zoologists typically work for zoos, aquariums, wildlife rehabilitation facilities and other establishments within an office or laboratory environment. They work closely with other Zoologists to create hypotheses, conduct research and use their knowledge to enhance animal care at their workplace. Their job is to use their passion for wildlife to ask important questions that drive research initiatives. They may also be responsible for compiling their research into scientific reports or more conversational articles so both their colleagues and the general public can learn more about a species and its characteristics.
Zoologist skills and qualifications
There are a few prerequisite skills needed to be successful as a zoologist. Zoologists must be effective communicators, particularly in writing, as publishing research reports and papers is a major component of the job. Candidates should be observant in order to notice changes in animal appearance, behaviors and the surroundings. A zoologist must be good at analyzing and drawing conclusions from observation, experiments and research. Candidates must be problem-solvers and have the ability to provide solutions in regards to possible threats. The zoologist should be comfortable with technology and adept at handling data management software. Other qualifications needed include:
- Proficiency with statistics and mathematics for advanced data analysis
- A portfolio of published research papers with excellent communication skills
- Attention to detail with advanced observation skills
- Excellent social skills
- An aptitude for continued learning
Zoologist salary expectations
There is no data on Zoologists’ salaries published on Indeed.com, however, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for Zoologists in the U.S. is $63,420 a year. The publication is from May 2018. The salaries depend on the state and industry in which candidates work, as well as the branch of zoology.
The training for a career as a Zoologist includes having a master’s degree in Zoology, and a Ph.D. is preferred. Some entry-level positions specify an undergraduate degree as a minimum requirement. Courses in the field of zoology or wildlife biology include anatomy, ecology, cellular biology and wildlife management. Entry-level candidates should be well-grounded in these fields.
Additional courses in veterinary animal science, animal husbandry, animal behavior and ecology may be required for completion of the degree. Networking and certification through the Wildlife Society is an asset, and The Association of Zoos and Aquariums offers animal management information sessions, conferences and business benchmarking data to further participation in the field. Other resources for training and education are the Zoological Association of America and the International Society of Zoological Sciences
Zoologist experience requirements
Candidates should have previous experience working as a zoologist for a minimum of four years or have some experience in a related field. Those with experience volunteering at either animal shelters or the Humane Society may also be considered. Having worked part-time at a zoo or conservation camp will also be beneficial.
Job description for similar positions
There are different branches of Zoology, and growth in the field may be slower than other areas. This description may not be totally suitable for the position you’re seeking to fill, but there are scores of similar job descriptions on Indeed from which you may choose