Become a Cryptozoologist: Education and Career Roadmap
Research the requirements to become a cryptozoologist. Learn about the job description and duties and read the step-by-step process to start a career in cryptozoology.
Do I Want to Be a Cryptozoologist?
Cryptozoology, or the study of unknown animals (referred to as cryptids), involves the application of hard science in the pursuit of finding new species and hybrid animals. While this field has been criticized by others, several species presumed to be nonexistent have been discovered by these scientists, including the gorilla and the okapi. Cryptozoologists travel around the world following reports of strange sightings, documenting scientific evidence and sharing their findings with the public. Additionally, they may investigate known species that are reported out of their natural environments or look unusual in appearance. Travel may include working long hours in remote areas under all types of weather conditions; additionally, some areas of study may not offer modern amenities.
While a degree isn't necessarily required for this career, earning at least a bachelor's degree in areas such as biology or zoology can improve credibility as a dedicated scientist. The following table outlines common requirements to become a cryptozoologist:
|Degree Level||No degree is required, but college-level training may be helpful*|
|Degree Field||Biology, zoology or related field**|
|Key Skills||Strong verbal and written communication skills, critical-thinking, observation and problem-solving skills**|
Sources: *Salisbury University, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Step 1: Earn a Degree
Because cryptozoologists study currently undocumented animals, they need significant knowledge of animals in general. Although a degree isn't required, students interested in cryptozoology may pursue undergraduate or graduate degrees in either zoology or biology. It's important to note that degree programs specializing in cryptozoology are practically nonexistent, but students may be able to find elective courses in this topic through a zoology program.
- Take communications courses. Zoologists and biologists often receive research funding through grants; good communication skills may help cryptozoologists successfully propose a research project. Additionally, cryptozoologists interview witnesses who claim to have seen mysterious creatures, and communication skills may be helpful.
- Get field training. Aspiring cryptozoologists should learn how to gather samples and document sightings. Some acquire this training in zoology or biology degree programs in which students go on field trips to observe animals and note behaviors. Others volunteer at zoos, aquariums, museums and nonprofit organizations. Volunteers may learn how to catalog and organize animal specimens, explore animal habitats and prepare samples for testing.
Step 2: Research Hidden Animals
After learning about different types of known animals, such as mammals, insects, fish and marsupials, cryptozoologists may research undocumented species and talk to people about possible sightings. These hidden animal species are usually based off of local experiences or legends. Some famous cryptids that cryptozoologists have devoted their lives to finding include Bigfoot, the Yeti, the Mothman and the Loch Ness Monster.
Step 3: Obtain Funding
With so much negative press surrounding the field, it's difficult for cryptozoologists to earn a regular paycheck or fund research trips. While some of these individuals may seek grants, research in this field is often self-funded.
Step 4: Publish Your Findings
There are few, if any, reputable scientific organizations that publish cryptozoological research findings. In most cases, cryptozoologists may self-publish their work or submit their findings to consumer magazines or journals.
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