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Wildlife Science Jobs: Career Options and Requirements

Degrees in wildlife sciences typically cover ecology, wildlife and evolutionary topics. Find out about the curricula of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for wildlife science graduates.

A career as a wildlife biologist, conservation scientist or wildlife technician are all options for those interested in a job in wildlife sciences. Postsecondary training is required for all of these careers. Wildlife technicians need an associate's degree, while wildlife biologists and conservations scientists are required to have a bachelor's degree.

Essential Information

As a wildlife technician, individuals get to work in different environments, giving them direct contact with wildlife. Students who enjoy working with different kinds of plant and animal life would fit into this career field. Associate, bachelor and master degrees are available to students - prepping them for entry-level positions. Associate degrees take two years to complete, which may offer courses in ecology and wildlife management. Bachelor degrees emphasize balanced topics in wildlife and fisheries. Advanced degrees, such as a Master of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Science, are geared towards individuals looking to teach and conduct research.

Career Forestry and Conservation Technician Wildlife Biologist Conservation Scientist
Education Requirements Associate's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Other Requirements Physical stamina Outdoor skills Licensing and registration required
Job Growth (2014-2024)* -6% 4% 7%
Mean Salary (2015)* $38,260 annually $64,230 annually $63,800 annually

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Wildlife science careers give people the chance to work one-on-one with nature in some beautiful environments. Most careers in this field require at least a bachelor's. Some career titles might include wildlife technicians and environmental consultants. Read on to discover possible career options for wildlife science graduates.

Wildlife Technician

Wildlife technician is an entry-level career opportunity for those with an education and interest in wildlife science. These professionals often work directly in the air, sea or land environments in which wildlife exist. They can split time working between the field and lab work, depending on their area of specialty.

Similar career titles include natural resources technician, wildlife associate or research assistant. Wildlife technicians may observe and tag wild animals, count members for accurate inventories or assist in research, gathering specimens for lab analysis. They can work with other wildlife biologists as well as the public.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of forest and conservation technicians, which can include wildlife technicians, is expected to see a six percent decline in the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). The mean annual salary for forest and conservation technicians as of May 2015 is $38,260, also per the BLS.

Wildlife Scientist

Wildlife scientists work in a number of specialized study areas involving wildlife science and their related biological processes. They conduct research in and outside of wildlife habitats. They might focus on curing disease, which requires an in depth understanding of animals' behaviors and their environments.

Wildlife scientists may work with either living or deceased animals. The wildlife sciences have a growing number of specialties. Some alternate career title examples include marine biologist, zoologist, ecologist and wildlife biologist. According to BLS projections, employment of zoologists and wildlife biologists is expected to increase by 4% from 2014-2024. The BLS also reports that the mean annual pay for this field was $64,230 as of May 2015.

Environmental Consultant

Environmental consultants help make the environment safer. They work with consulting firms as well as both private and government agencies. Similar 'green' career titles include wildlife consultant and natural resources conservationist. They help companies to best be able to utilize natural resources while reducing or eliminating environmental damage. For instance, an environmental consultant might work with a government agency to reduce water pollution in rivers and streams populated by wildlife.

Environmental consultants may also be called conservation scientists. As of May 2015, the BLS-reported mean annual salary for conservation scientists was $63,800. Employment of conservation scientists and foresters, which the BLS groups together for statistical purposes, was expected to increase by 7% from 2014-2024.

Wildlife science jobs can involve working with animals that are living or dead. Some careers involve research, such as trying to identify a cure for a disease that's affecting a species, while other professionals are involved in tagging and tracking animals. Most positions require a bachelor's degree in a relevant field.

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