There are a number of duties wildlife coordinators undertake, such as drafting wildlife plans, enforcing local laws, and educating the public about conservation issues. Earning a bachelor's degree in wildlife management, zoology or related subject area is a good first step in becoming a wildlife coordinator. However, relevant work experience can be just as beneficial when pursuing work in this field.
Wildlife coordinators assess zoological, botanical and environmental needs and concerns on wildlife reserves, parks and other designated areas. Coordinators research the local ecology and design an appropriate plan of action to meet challenges, such as overhunting and overfishing. Successful wildlife coordinators generally have a bachelor's degree in wildlife management or a related field, though experience is highly considered by employers.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in wildlife management or equivalent professional experience|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||4% (for zoologists and wildlife biologists)|
|Median Salary (2016)**||$49,923 (for wildlife biologists)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **PayScale.com
Duties for a Wildlife Coordinator
Wildlife coordinators may begin a project by meeting with local officials, gaming wardens and other parties in order to establish the requirements of a wildlife plan. For example, wildlife coordinators concerned about a local population of animals, such as wild turkeys, may listen to hunters, local environmentalists and government agencies in order to assess the situation. This may also include additional research into the number of hunting licenses issued, the natural supply of food for an animal population and statistical data on population trends.
Once the research phase is complete, wildlife coordinators may begin developing a plan of action. This generally includes formulating ways to monitor wildlife populations, human-animal interaction and pollution control. For example, wildlife coordinators may recommend adjusting the number of hunting permits based on animal population levels.
Wildlife coordinators may also be responsible for disseminating information and enforcement of laws and regulations. Accordingly, coordinators may educate local schools, government departments and hunting organizations on wildlife programs. These professionals may also prepare reports and news releases for television programs, newspaper articles and other media. Lastly, wildlife coordinators may meet with enforcement departments and agencies in order to help implement wildlife plans.
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Wildlife Coordinator Requirements
Wildlife coordinators generally have attained a bachelor's degree in wildlife management, zoology or a related field. After completing core courses in biology, zoology and botany, students cover topics in soil conservation, habitat protection and wildlife ecology. Students may also consider internship opportunities with local conservation programs in order to gain hands-on experience in daily wildlife coordinator functions.
Some employers hire job seekers who don't hold a degree, but have an equivalent number of years in wildlife conservation or coordination. Employers may favor candidates who have some supervisory and public relations experience. Additionally, candidates who have experience writing grant proposals may have an added edge over competitors.
Employers may also prefer candidates who have completed a year-long master's degree program in wildlife management or a related field. Master's degree candidates can specialize in a particular aspect of wildlife management, such as fish science or avian biology. In order to prepare for conducting research and writing papers, students may consider participating in or directing an independent research topic on wildlife conservation, zoology or a related field.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that job opportunities for zoologists and wildlife biologists will increase by 4% between 2014 and 2024, which is slower than the national average for all careers. According to a 2016 search on PayScale.com, the median salary for wildlife biologists was $49,923.
Although a formal education is not necessarily required to become a wildlife coordinator, there are master's degree programs that could be advantageous for career advancement in the field. Topics of specialization within wildlife coordination include subjects like fish science or avian biology.