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Zoology as a Career

For those having studied in a field focused either in medicine, animals or the environment, the career possibilities are endless.

Zoology is the scientific study of the lifestyle of animals, including behavior, structure, physiology, classification, and distribution. Zoology falls under the biological category of the sciences; in short, it is the study of everything related to animals. A career in zoology is typically related to something involving animals and their environments. Within the field of zoology, one can choose to remain in the broad span of study; the overall concept of zoology within biology. However, there are numerous areas of focus or directions to take with a career in zoology. At a minimum, full careers in zoology require a bachelor degree; higher levels of education are preferred and experience is a plus.

Career Options

As far as options, zoology poses a wide range of career paths, with the most stereotypical being an employee at a zoo: tending to and monitoring animals, maintaining environments, studying health and ecosystem habits. Employment through an established zoo provides on-site study and hands-on access to work with animals and their environments. Building upon the popular options, wildlife centers, parks and aquariums all are possibilities for a zoology career. Beyond the stereotype, a career in zoology is like many other science fields: a typical career path can move to further research and in-field study. Many zoologist careers involve hands-on work, traveling and monitoring animals in their natural habitats to understand the environment and how everything affects lifestyle. Research not only provides for methods to understanding different animal lifestyles and behavior but can also affect the way humans co-exist and alter the environment.

Salary

As with the many career paths through zoology, salaries for zoologists can vary greatly depending on the level of expertise, schooling, location and specific field of employment. The lowest level for a recent graduate with a bachelor degree entering the workforce at an entry-level position ranges from $30,000 to $45,000 (again, depending on location, employer, and specific focus). Higher levels of education, like graduate programs, begin around $50,000. The combination of high levels of study and extensive experience in the desired field place the largest salaries of zoologists within the range of $90,000 and up.

Major Employers

Though location does affect the salary and type of career path within zoology, overall the state and federal governments are the largest source of employment for those seeking employment in zoology. Government employment focuses on national parks and wildlife refuges, preserves, national and international studies and research foundations; agencies like the Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service and the Environmental Protection Agency all provide employment to zoologists. Research companies hire zoologists as well to complete studies and tests to see the extent that new products and operations affect nature and animal life.

To fulfill the duties required of a zoologist in any career, a strong skill set is required. Strong mathematical skills are a plus. One should also be technologically proficient; much of zoology requires calculations and input of data, as well as learning new equipment and methods to study animals and habitats by causing the least amount of disturbance. A zoologist should have strong physical endurance, especially when completing research and studies on sites; gathering information can take long, strenuous periods of time and effort.

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