Opportunities for Advancement for a Zoologist

Zoologists study wild animals. Some zoologists may wish to advance their career by focusing on environmental science or by studying to become a wildlife veterinarian or a college professor.

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Career Growth Opportunities for Zoologists

Zoologists play an important scientific role in the study and research of wild animals. They typically work in the field gathering data. Many zoologists focus their research on one specific species of animal. After working as a zoologist, some professionals may wish to further develop their careers. They might consider other roles studying and caring for animals as wildlife veterinarians or continue to work on conserving the environment as environmental scientists and specialists. Others may wish to share their knowledge of animal research with others as postsecondary teachers. Details on each of these professions are provided below.

Job Title Mean Salary Job Growth (2016-2026)** Education or Experience
Environmental Scientists and Specialists $76,220 (2017)* (Environmental Scientists and Specialists, including Health) 11% (Environmental Scientists and Specialists, including Health) Optional certification in hazardous materials management
Wildlife Veterinarian $97,050 (2018)** (Research Biologist/Wildlife Veterinarian) 19% (all veterinarians) Professional degree and certification
Postsecondary Biological Science Teachers $93,010 (2017)* 15% Doctoral degree

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **Glassdoor

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Career Information

Environmental Scientists and Specialists

Zoologists have extensive information regarding the life of animals in the environment and strategies for their protection. This information could be easily translated into a role as an environmental scientist. Environmental scientists examine data to determine the nature of environmental problems and then develop plans to remediate those concerns. They relay important information about the environment to various audiences, including governmental agencies, the public, and the scientific community. Environmental scientists typically have a bachelor's degree in a scientific field and often have experience with specific tools such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

Wildlife Veterinarian

Zoologists have deep knowledge of animals and their study. Preparing to become a wildlife veterinarian might be a great next step. Wildlife veterinarians focus on the care of wild animals both in the natural environment and in artificial environments such as zoos and aquariums. Veterinarians are responsible for diagnosing and treating the health concerns of a wide range of animals. They may also administer medications or perform surgical procedures. They also conduct research regarding the best care practices for animals. Becoming a wildlife veterinarian requires earning a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, which typically takes four years after a bachelor's degree. Potential veterinarians must then pass a state licensure examination. After earning this certification, the candidate will then serve a one-year internship and three- to four-year residency in zoological medicine. During this time they are expected to conduct research and publish articles. Upon meeting these credentials, the potential wildlife veterinarian may sit for the examination offered by the American College of Zoological Medicine.

Postsecondary Teachers

Zoologists may wish to conduct further research and educate others about wildlife. These individuals may wish to consider preparing for a role as a postsecondary teacher. Postsecondary teachers plan a syllabus for a course and then instruct students in college-level courses. They meet with students to help them understand the material in the course. Postsecondary teachers also conduct research studies in their area of interest and publish papers or books to increase the knowledge of the community. Postsecondary teachers typically possess a Ph.D. in the area in which they are teaching. At the community college level, some teachers may hold a master's degree.

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