Education and Training: Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology or similar field, Master’s degree with specialty in Wildlife Biology, Doctorate degree (for higher positions)
Average Salary: Average pay ranges from $6000 – $9000 per month
Job Outlook: Good
Wildlife biologists are well employed in the wildlife and resource conservation industry in various parts of the world. With the recent concerns for the deterioration of the animal population across the globe, the need for research and observation of the diets, habitats, life processes, genetics, and diseases of all wild animals has become of utmost importance.
The primary responsibility of a wildlife biologist may vary according to the employment agenda. While the more senior candidates are likely to be involved in research work for Wildlife institutions, new hires may be employed and engaged in evolving management systems and planning for wildlife populations and habitats, or performing administrative duties such as fundraising, public relations, budgeting, and supervision of zoo/wildlife reserve staff.
Education and Training Requirements
For one to be eligible for the position of a wildlife biologist, it is desirable that a person have a science background in their schooling, or more specifically have biology as one of the qualifying subjects. Since this is a specialized field, it is best to have a Bachelor’s degree in either wildlife biology itself, or an associated field like zoology. Most wildlife institutions would not consider candidates that do not have these basic qualifications.
Most employers in this field, especially those looking to employ candidates for higher posts, would look favorably upon one having a Master’s degree specializing in wildlife biology. Those holding the senior-most positions in the field are likely to have a Ph.D, with a research topic closely related to wildlife.
Getting the Job
For anyone who wishes to be a wildlife biologist, it is best to approach wildlife institutes directly or through employment agencies. The openings in such organizations are usually well advertised, and thus, one should focus on following up on the opportunities listed in the varied advertising media. There is little scope for individual initiative or self employment in this field.
Job Prospects, Employment Outlook and Career Development
Given the nature of the employment under question, there is much scope for growth in this profession. Since the exact responsibilities of a wildlife biologist are not well defined, one could begin with the more humble employment options like managerial duties in wildlife institutions such as zoos, animal reserves, wildlife research organizations and so on. With more experience in the field, one could graduate to higher posts where they are in charge of key decisions regarding the institutional policies and more.
For those who are more research oriented, they can begin their professional journey, by either seeking primary employment as mentioned above, or as research assistants to senior faculty. Again, with experience, a young researcher could then graduate to heading a specialized research team or carry out individual research on any sub-domain of wildlife biology.
Working Conditions and Environment
A wildlife biologist is most likely to work in very diverse environments. There is likely to be a fair degree of field exposure, where those so employed work in or frequent the natural habitat of wild animals. Also, laboratories will most probably be part of the work place, since all records, observations, and studies are conducted in such closed, specialized environments.
Salary and Benefits
Since the work of a wildlife biologist is mostly a full time occupation, remuneration is on a monthly basis. The salaries vary greatly, depending upon the exact job duties that a person is employed for. The average salaries range between $6,000 and $9,000 per month, while top management may earn much more.
Where to Go for More Information
National Geographic Society
1145 17th St. NW
Washington, D.C. 20036-4688
U.S. Geological Survey
601 National Center
Reston, VA 20192