Wildlife Technician: Job Description, Duties and Requirements
Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a wildlife technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about job duties, salary and career outlook to find out if this is the career for you.
Wildlife technicians work independently or assist other wildlife and environmental conservation professionals in information gathering, wildlife monitoring and habitat protection. An associate's degree in wildlife management or similar field is typically required to gain entry into the profession.
|Required Education||Associate's degree|
|Projected Job Growth* (2012-2022)||-4% for forest and conservation technicians|
|Median Salary* (2013)||$34,910 for forest and conservation technicians|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Wildlife technicians observe and monitor wildlife in their natural habitats. Technicians must know laws and regulations relevant to wildlife and ensure that their employers are compliant with these regulations. Natural resource companies, environmental consulting firms and local, state and federal government agencies employ wildlife technicians.
These conservationists survey wildlife areas by land, sea and air to compile data and inspect wildlife habitats. They count members of wildlife communities, compile accurate inventories and report their findings. They may physically corral and tag animals or simply monitor animal activities.
Technicians may speak to the public on wildlife issues and interact with others in the wildlife industry. They analyze maps, which depict the land areas where animals traverse. Wildlife technicians manage computer databases of wildlife inventories. They create, analyze and distribute reports based on this information.
Wildlife technicians work with mapping and GPS equipment to monitor and track animals. Educating individuals and groups on local wildlife may also be part of the job. National parks and nature centers often have education programs led by wildlife techs. In addition, techs might be required to coordinate and lead researchers and visitors on tours of wildlife areas.
These technicians identify animals within their habitats and search for habitat problems, such as inaccurate animal inventories or something more severe, such as physical dangers caused by animals, humans or other causes. They might need to physically manipulate or repair structures that house wildlife.
Depending on the specific duties and habitats for which they are responsible, wildlife technicians work in laboratories and in the field. Technicians might collect samples of vegetation from the field and process them in the lab. In labs, they can work with equipment such as microscopes and computerized robotic systems.
Wildlife Technician Education Requirements
A 2-year associate's degree in wildlife management, biology or a related field is typically enough to get started as a wildlife technician. Some technicians may be required to hold a bachelor's degree for long-term and more complicated jobs. Courses required for wildlife techs may include:
- Wildlife management
- Natural streams and plants
- Wildlife management techniques
- Natural resource conservation
- Wildlife populations
- Forest ecology
Salary and Employment Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of job opportunities for forest and conservation technicians, including wildlife technicians, was expected to decline 4% from 2012-2022. As of 2013, the BLS found that forest and conservation technicians earned $34,910 as a median annual income.