What Is the Average Salary of a Wildlife Biologist?
Wildlife biologists can have a range of duties, from preserving wild animals' habitats to studying exotic plants. Read on for a career description, detailed salary information and job outlook data.
Wildlife Biologist Defined
As a wildlife biologist, you'll work to manage wildlife populations and preserve their natural habitats. Your job duties could include studying the behavior or life processes of animals or plant life. You might also study diseases or threats that affect animals and plants in a certain location. Wildlife biologists often assume research or consultant positions with universities or the government.
To become a wildlife biologist, you'll need at least a bachelor's degree. With experience, you may receive a promotion and higher responsibilities, though earning a master's degree can also prepare you for career advancement. If you're primarily interested in scholarly research, you'll need to earn a PhD to lead independent research teams.
Important Facts About Wildlife Biologists
|Work Environment||Laboratory, office setting, outdoors|
|On-the-Job Training||None provided|
|Key Skills||Outdoor skills, observation, problem solving, emotional stability|
|Similar Occupations||Conservation scientist, food scientist, environmental scientist|
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that wildlife biologists and zoologists earned an average annual income of $67,760 as of May 2018 (www.bls.gov). The top ten percent of wage earners made a yearly income of $102,830 or more, and the lowest ten percent earned $40,290 or less per year.
The computer systems design industry was the top-paying industry for wildlife biologists as of May 2018, offering workers a mean yearly salary of $95,580, according to the BLS. The Mississippi Gulf Coast region was the best-paying region for wildlife biologists, where workers earned a mean wage of $107,310 per year. The states that provided wildlife biologists with the highest average salaries were the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut and Alaska. The District of Columbia offered an annual mean wage of $109,420, while wildlife biologists in Massachusetts made a yearly mean income of $87,950. Maryland paid professionals in the field a mean salary of $83,850, and Connecticut provided a slightly lower mean wage of $78,830 annually, all listed by the BLS.
Job Outlook Information
The BLS reported that 19,400 zoologists and wildlife biologists were employed in the United States in 2016, and as of 2016, it predicted that around 1,500 more jobs would be created by 2026, which is an 8% increase in employment. The job growth is expected in this field due to the increasing concern for wildlife conservation in the face of human population growth and industrial development.
Per the BLS, the five industries that had the highest levels of employment for wildlife biologists as of May 2018 were state governments; the federal government; management, scientific, and technical consulting services; local governments; and academia. If you want to work in one of the states with the highest concentrations of wildlife biologists, then you might want to apply for jobs in Alaska, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana or Washington.