Emphasizing ecology and biology, wildlife science is concerned with preservation of endangered species of animals and plants, management of ecosystems, and environmental regulations and policies. There are no educational prerequisites for bachelor's-level programs in wildlife science beyond a high school diploma or equivalent, although a science background is advantageous. Students may have to submit an essay.
Courses in wildlife science cover management and operation of forest preserves and wildlife conservatories as well as major science disciplines. Some programs require students to select an area of concentration; fisheries and wildlife is a common option.
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Bachelor's Degree in Wildlife Science
Bachelor's candidates in wildlife science programs complete coursework in geography, history, and English in addition to chemistry, earth sciences, and biology. The core curriculum covers the following subjects:
- Fisheries science
- Forest systems
- Wildlife management
- Fundamentals of genetics
- Wildlife resource policy
Popular Career Options
Bachelor's degree holders in wildlife science can pursue employment opportunities in agriculture, business and government. They can work, for instance, in governmental agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service, or for nonprofit organizations such as Greenpeace or the Sierra Club. Possible occupations include:
- Park ranger
- Wildlife biologist
- Research assistant
- Conservation lobbyist
- Museum educator
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that wildlife biologists should see 4% job growth from 2014-2024, which is a slower-than-average rate (www.bls.gov). Wildlife biologists earned a median salary of $59,680 in May 2015, per the BLS. Conservation scientists were expected to see 7% job growth from 2014-2024, and earned an annual median salary of $61,110 in May 2015, according to the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
Certification is available for wildlife science graduates through organizations such as the Wildlife Society and American Fisheries Society. Both societies confer certification titles - such as Associate Wildlife Biologist and Associate Fisheries Professional, respectively - to candidates holding at least a bachelor's degree in a relevant field. Work experience in addition to a degree is necessary to obtain higher credentials such as the Certified Wildlife Biologist and Certified Fisheries Professional.
Graduate degrees are available in a number of fields related to wildlife science, such as biology, ecology and marine biology. Students can also earn master's and doctoral degrees in wildlife science. Completing graduate programs in wildlife science prepares students for career opportunities in research, teaching and management.
Bachelor degree programs in wildlife biology cover wildlife management and policy to prepare students for careers in research or wildlife organizations. Students with bachelor's degrees can also pursue additional certification or education at the graduate level.