Wildlife Science, General

If you're concerned about wildlife and sustainable natural resources and enjoy working outside, then a career in wildlife sciences may be a good fit for you. Read on to learn more about wildlife sciences, including employment and education options, useful coursework and potential earnings.

Is Wildlife Science for Me?

Career Overview

Wildlife science takes an ecological approach to the conservation and management of mammals, birds and other living creatures in their natural habitats. Wildlife scientists, also known as wildlife biologists, try to achieve a balance between the needs of people and the protection of wildlife populations. The results of their research can help to enhance our understanding of man's relationship with nature, as well as our use and conservation of natural resources.

Career Options

As a wildlife biologist, you may find yourself working in wildlife management, inventorying animal populations and working on conservation programs. As a graduate of a wildlife sciences program, you might be employed by a federal or state land management agency, environmental consulting firm, nonprofit environmental organization or in private industry.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), approximately 58% of zoologists and wildlife biologists worked for the federal or state government in 2012. Nationwide, employment of these professionals was projected to increase by just 5% between 2012 and 2022. As reported by the BLS in May 2013, the median annual wage for zoologists and wildlife biologists was $57,430 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Work in Wildlife Science?

Education

A minimum of a bachelor's degree in wildlife science is generally required for employment as a biological scientist. Earning a graduate degree in wildlife biology may enhance your standing in the job market. If your interest is in academia or research, a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) will most likely be necessary.

A biological or wildlife science curriculum can include topics in animal and plant ecology, conservation biology, math and chemistry. You may also learn how to manage habitats and vegetation while studying ecosystems, natural resources, environmental policies and soil sciences.

Certification

Once you have completed your degree, you may wish to pursue a certification through the Wildlife Society (www.wildlife.org). While this certification is not required to work in the field of biological sciences, it may provide you with a competitive advantage when looking for a job. Although voluntary, the certification can serve as proof of competency in wildlife management, as well as your understanding of relevant technology.

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