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How To Become a Zoologist

Published By Team Setmycareer on Sep 20, 2023

If you love animals and want to work in wildlife conservation, a career in zoology may be perfect for you. This comprehensive guide explains what zoologists do, the education and skills required, potential career paths, and tips for securing a job in this rewarding field.


A Zoologist is someone who studies the behaviour, origins, genetics, diseases and life progression of animals and wildlife. There are a variety of ways that a zoologist can specialize and there are many diverse jobs in this field. A zoologist may devote their lifetime to the study of a single species, or work can be more generalized. Zoologists work at zoos, participating in the direct care of animals. They will observe them, organize and conduct experimental studies in either controlled or natural surroundings.

A zoologist may also help to develop educational materials for zoo staff or visitors. Others work overseeing wildlife reserves, counting animal populations or studying the behaviour of certain animals. There are many different types of zoologists, identified by the types of species they study.

The following are a few of those specialize, Mammologist- one who studies mammals, Herpetologist - one who studies reptiles and amphibians, Entomologist - one who studies insects, Ichthyologist - one who studies fish, Ornithologist - one who studies birds. There may be an assumption that a zoologist is always outside working with animals, but that is not necessarily true. Many may work in a lab-based environment, studying certain biological aspects of animals. Others may work as professors at universities and colleges, teaching zoology instead of being out in the field. Others will write reports and scientific papers or journal articles.

The duties of Zoologist includes to study the behavior of animals in their natural habitat, conduct experiments on animals in captivity or dissect animals. Research zoologists may also be wildlife educators. In addition to research, they would create presentations and displays for visitors on field trips or exhibit animals they have raised. Other zoologist careers include zookeepers and wildlife rehabilitators.

As a zookeeper, you would prepare food for and feed captive animals, monitor their health and discuss animal care with zoo visitors. As a wildlife rehabilitator, they would care for injured or ill animals and release them back into the wild. In some occupations, they might not work directly with animals. For example, they might gather data about animals for environmental impact studies or monitor emissions and effluvia around a factory to make sure they are within safe tolerance levels for animals.


Steps To Become Zoologist

  1. Educational Foundation:
    • Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent. Focus on biology, chemistry, and mathematics courses to build a strong science foundation.
  2. Bachelor's Degree:
    • Enroll in a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) program in biology, zoology, or a related field.
    • Take relevant coursework in animal biology, ecology, genetics, and wildlife conservation.
    • Gain practical experience through internships or research opportunities.
  3. Networking and Experience:
    • Connect with professors and professionals in the field through networking events and conferences.
    • Join zoology or biology clubs and organizations to expand your knowledge and network.
  4. Advanced Degrees (Optional):
    • Pursue a master's or doctoral degree if you want to specialize in a particular area or engage in advanced research.
  5. Gain Experience:
    • Seek internships, part-time jobs, or volunteer positions at zoos, wildlife rehabilitation centers, research institutions, or conservation organizations.
    • Hands-on experience is invaluable in this field.
  6. Develop Skills:
    • Hone your skills in data analysis, fieldwork, and laboratory research.
    • Learn to work with a variety of animals and their habitats.
  7. Stay Informed:
    • Keep up-to-date with the latest research and developments in the field of zoology.
    • Attend workshops, seminars, and conferences.
  8. Build a Portfolio:
    • Document your research and fieldwork through publications, presentations, or reports.
    • A strong portfolio can enhance your career prospects.
  9. Job Search:
    • Start searching for job opportunities in zoology-related fields such as wildlife biologist, zoologist, conservation scientist, or research assistant.
  10. Continuing Education:
    • Consider taking continuing education courses to stay current and advance in your career.
  11. Licensing and Certification (if required):
    • Check if your state or country requires licensing or certification for zoologists and meet those requirements.
  12. Persistence and Passion:
    • Zoology can be a competitive field, so stay persistent in your job search and maintain your passion for working with animals and studying their behavior.

Work Environment

  • Some Zoologists work as professors, preferring the classroom instead of being out in the field. Others work in a labbased environment. Yet others prefer working outdoors, studying and working in wildlife reserves. Zoologists who do work out in the field or in remote areas can be away for long periods of time, sometimes weeks or months. And of course, some zoologists actually work at zoos, observing and taking care of animals.

Entry Level Education

  • Bachelor’s / Master’s Degree in Zoology.
  • Ph.D. in Zoology.

Is This Career Right For You?

Are you feeling uncertain about your career path? Not sure which direction to take? Take the first step towards a fulfilling future


Pursuing a career as a zoologist can be an incredibly rewarding path for those who are passionate about wildlife and conservation. Though the road may be challenging at times, the ability to work hands-on with animals and make a real impact is well worth the effort. By obtaining the right education, getting relevant experience, networking with other professionals, and remaining persistent, aspiring zoologists can turn their dreams into reality.



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