Zoologist Salaries

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If you are mapping out a career in zoology, one of the things you will surely want to know is what kind of a salary you can expect to earn as a zoologist or animal biologist.  A zoology salary can vary quite a bit according to what state you live in, your level of education, your work experience, and the type of employer you work for.  As a general rule of thumb, no matter where you live, the more education and expertise you have in a particular area, the higher your salary will be.  There are many statistics out there which show various zoology salary ranges, but the statistics we give are all based on facts taken from actual surveys.

Entry Level
Most people who seek out careers in zoology receive master and doctorate degrees, since it’s difficult to earn a good living with the types of jobs you can get with just a bachelor’s degree.  If you don’t have a graduate degree, then you will most likely be stuck in an entry-level position.  According to a CALS career survey, the average annual salary for people who have a bachelor’s degree in zoology is between $30k and $31k.  This is below the 10th percentile of the average zoologist salary, which is why many people in the field of zoology don’t stop at a bachelor’s degree.

Average Zoology Salary Ranges
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for a zoologist or animal biologist in 2011 was $57,420.  The middle 50 percent earned between $45,460 and $72,710.  The lowest 10 percent earned less than $36,310, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $94,070.  The median hourly wage for geologists in 2011 was $27.60.

The states with the highest average salaries for zoologists and animal biologists are listed below.

  1. Maryland                               $97,940
  2. Connecticut                          $87,250
  3. Massachusetts                      $78,930
  4. Hawaii                                   $76,710
  5. New Jersey                           $71,390

According to salary.com, the average salary for zoologists in the United States is $65,308.  The middle 50 percent earn between $53,488 and $80,540, while the top 10 percent earn more than $94,408 and the bottom 10 percent earn less than $42,727.  These figures include a base salary plus bonuses.

Zoology Salaries According to Industry
Salaries in the field of zoology vary according to the type of employer you work for, so we have broken down the average salaries according to industry.

  1. The Federal Government                                                          $77,590
  2. Scientific Research and Development Services                       $70,480
  3. Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services   $58,500
  4. Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools                     $55,420
  5. Social Advocacy Organizations                                                $52,940
  6. State Governments                                                                   $52,180

Hours and Benefits
Most zoologists and wildlife biologists work on a full-time basis.  Those who have management or laboratory positions generally work regular office hours.  Those who work in the field may work long and irregular hours.  The upside for field workers is that they often times get to travel to interesting and/or exotic locations, and their work is anything but monotonous.

Their benefits are usually quite good.  They generally include paid holidays and vacations, insurance, and retirement plans.

What to Expect
Some prospective zoologists may be surprised at the average salary levels for zoologists, since many research science positions in other areas have average salaries that are closer to the six-digit range.  This is something to keep in mind as you go into meetings to discuss your salary.  Be careful not to demand too much in the beginning, especially if it’s a job you really want.  Once you have some experience under your belt, you will be able to demand higher salaries.

While zoologists are able to earn a nice living, it’s probably not a career that will lead to lots of riches.  The professionals in the field of zoology are there because they love their jobs and they are passionate about what they do.