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. Schools offering Biology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

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

Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that wildlife biologists and zoologists earned an average annual income of $63,230 as of May 2014 (www.bls.gov). The top ten percent of wage earners made a yearly income of $96,720 or more, and the lowest ten percent earned $38,080 or less per year.

The federal government was the top-paying industry for wildlife biologists as of May 2014, offering workers a mean yearly salary of $80,210, according to the BLS. The District of Columbia was the best-paying region for wildlife biologists, where workers earned a mean wage of $100,870 per year. The states that provided wildlife biologists with the highest average salaries were Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Maryland offered an annual mean wage of $93,150, while wildlife biologists in Connecticut made a yearly mean income of $86,860. Rhode Island paid professionals in the field a mean salary of $84,110, and Massachusetts provided a slightly lower mean wage of $81,040 annually, all listed by the BLS.

Job Outlook Information

The BLS reported that 18,970 zoologists and wildlife biologists were employed in the United States in 2014, and as of 2014, it predicted that around 800 more jobs would be created by 2024, which is a 4% 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 2014 were state governments; the federal government; management, scientific, and technical consulting services; scientific research and development services; 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.

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