Certified Wildlife Biologist: Certification and Career Facts

Certified wildlife biologists work in animal care, ecological study or conservation. Continue reading to learn about education requirements, available programs and potential careers. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Becoming a certified wildlife biologist requires having several years of experience in the field and meeting educational requirements. A degree in wildlife biology or a related subject can prepare you for a career working hands-on with exotic animals or in a research or academic capacity.

Degree Options Bachelor of Science in Biological Science, Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology, Master of Science in Microbiology, Master of Science in Zoology, Ph.D. in Microbiology
Certification The Certified Wildlife Biologist (CWB) is a voluntary designation offered by The Wildlife Society
Career Outlook (2016-2026)* 8% job growth expected for zoologists and wildlife biologists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Requirements to Become a Certified Wildlife Biologist?

If you're pursuing certification, you'll probably go through The Wildlife Society (TWS), which offers the Associate Wildlife Biologist and Certified Wildlife Biologist (CWB) designations. Both levels of certification require at least a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree, but the CWB requires five years of experience in addition to the completion of an undergraduate program.

No particular bachelor's degree is required, but TWS requires the completion of a specific amount of credit hours in particular areas of the field. Work or educational hour substitutions that may qualify you for certification may be determined on a case-by-case basis. Re-certification for CWBs must be completed every five years.

What Programs Are Available?

Although no specific bachelor's degree program is required to obtain the CWB title, you may consider a biological sciences or wildlife biology program in order to meet TWS's academic requirements. Bachelor's degree programs in either of these subjects can prepare you to meet TWS's mandatory credit hours in:

  • Zoology
  • Botany
  • Ecology
  • Conservation
  • Wildlife management

What About Graduate Programs?

To meet the five years of work experience required for certification, TWS accepts time spent earning a master's degree or Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), as well as the research and clinical experiences gained through them. Certification candidates may also submit up to 12 months of volunteer work to meet the 5-year experience requirement. You may choose from these possible areas for your major:

  • Molecular biology
  • Neuroscience
  • Marine biology
  • Evolution

What Careers Can I Pursue?

A CWB designation allows you to pursue a wide variety of careers and can enhance your professional image with employers. With a bachelor's degree, you may work for a zoo, museum, government agency or conservation group as an environmental educator, animal rights advocate, conservationist, fish and game warden, zoologist, marine biologist or ornithologist. With master's or Ph.D. degree, you can work as a researcher or pursue a career as a professor of wildlife biology.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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