Due to the broad nature of zoology, there are many careers in zoology to choose from. No matter if you enjoy working directly with animals, working out in the field, or prefer a more controlled setting such as in a lab, there is a career waiting for you in the field of zoology. In this article we explore some of the most common careers in zoology.
You can probably guess from the job title as to what an animal educator does. Simply stated, animal educators teach people about animals. They generally work at public venues such as museums, aquariums, and wildlife parks where new crowds of people come in on a daily basis and want to know more about the animals and the environments they are seeing. Due to the variety of questions that are fired at animal educators every day, they have to really know the animal or animals they are educating the public on. This includes everything from the food they eat, their natural habitats, the way they mate and care for their young, their daily habits, and the list goes on.
Other duties of animal educators might include preparing and giving formal presentations, creating a range of materials to help visitors understand the wildlife they are seeing, and purchasing new animals for the venue at which they work.
Conservationists generally work for conservation companies. Conservation companies are hired by government agencies and other public interest groups to study the nature and status of the Earth’s biodiversity, usually for the purpose of protecting species, their habitats, and ecosystems from excessive rates of extinction. They are required to report back all of their findings, especially if there is something dramatically effecting animals’ lifestyles. This could be anything from cutting down rainforests to drilling oil. With the rapid decline of established biological systems around the world these days, the work of conservationists have become more important than ever.
This is a great job for those who like having direct contact with animals. Their main goal is to care for injured, orphaned, or sick wild animals and release them back into the wild once they are able to care for themselves and survive on their own. The tricky part about this job is that it takes people who really love animals and want to care for them yet are able to not get too emotionally involved with them, as they have to be released once the animals have had full recoveries. It’s a very rewarding job, but it’s one that can also pull at the heart strings. Some wildlife rehabilitators also have the duty of contacting agencies who might be willing to fund their operations.
There are many avenues that wildlife researchers might choose to explore. They could specialize in anything from researching disease among animals, to researching ecosystems, to researching population control. Their daily tasks may include any of the following:
- Breeding and raising specimens
- Collecting or cataloging species
- Collecting specimens to study in the lab
- Dissecting animals and preserving their bodies
- Identifying new data from research
- Preparing collections of preserved specimens or slides for identification and study
- Researching species in their natural surroundings
- Running experiments
- Using computers, microscopes, and other equipment to analyze and record their findings
- Using data to help solve issues
- Writing papers and give speeches
Wildlife researchers usually work for private organizations or as professors at universities.
This is one of the most sought after careers in zoology. Zookeepers have the responsibility of looking out for and taking care of the animals at the zoo. Since they are the ones who feed the animals and make sure that they are happy, they are much like the animals’ parents at the zoo. Some of their daily tasks include:
- Preparing animals’ meals
- Caring for the animals
- Cleaning enclosures
- Monitoring and recording behavior
- Ensuring that animals are healthy
- Grooming, exercising, and training the animals
- Talking to visitors about the animals
If you would like to explore other careers in zoology, please read our article entitled “Zoology Jobs” where it gives a more extensive list of possible jobs and careers in zoology.