Zoology is a very broad field with many subcategories and many career opportunities. Zoologists, or Wildlife Biologists, are typically classified by the type of animal they study. For example, a herpetologist studies reptiles, a mammalogist studies mammals and an ichthyologist studies fish. Within each subcategory of zoology, however, the goal is the same: to study the animal either in their natural habitat or within a more controlled lab setting.
The basic Job description of Zoologist:
Generally speaking, a zoologist’s job in any of the numerous subcategories is to study the life processes of the animal, to include growth, movement, reproduction, respiration, circulation, and other functions, as well as how the environment affects their life processes and functions. As a professional, a zoologist may work at a zoo, a nature reserve, national park, a college, or a conservation organization. Below are a few of the fields in which a zoologist might work:
Jobs in Colleges and Universities
Most zoologists are employed by colleges and universities as professors who simultaneously conduct research.
The professor may have a specific area he specializes in, and may be researching a particular issue relating to a particular species. He may also be continuing extensive research on a project he began as a doctoral student.
Jobs in Zoos
Within a zoo, job titles can range from zookeeper, zoo curator, or zoo administrator. A zookeeper cares for animals in a zoo setting. A zookeeper’s duties may include feeding the animals, monitoring and assessing animal behavior, as well as exercising and training the animals.
Oftentimes, a zookeeper will educate the public about the animals on display. A zoo curator is responsible for acquiring the animals that will come to live at the zoo. The collection, trade, and transport of animals within zoos are regulated by government agencies.
The zoo curator acts as a liaison between these agencies and the zoo. A zoo administrator is responsible for the daily operations of the zoo.
Jobs as Wildlife Rehabilitator:
A zoologist working as a rehabilitator will provide care for sick or injured animals, with the goal of reintroducing them back into the wild.
A rehabilitator usually works out of a rehabilitation center, where he will perform other duties as needed, including assisting with medical care, locating and picking up sick or wounded animals, cleaning cages, administrative paperwork and giving presentations to the public.
Job as Researcher:
Many zoologists work in labs where extensive research can be done on any number of related wildlife topics. Researchers perform experiments, breed and raise specimens, dissect animals, analyze and record findings, research species in their natural habitats, write papers and deliver speeches.
Jobs at Animal Behaviorist:
Animal behaviorists generally focus on animal behavior within the animal’s natural habitat, known as ethology. Their firsthand experience and knowledge of animals provide them the necessary skills to train employees at zoos and museums to handle, interact with and care for animals.
Jobs as Animal Conservationist:
Animal conservationists work to protect both the habitats and the animals so that they can exist as they were intended within their natural environment. Some responsibilities may include ensuring the habitat is free of diseases and harmful insects, as well as protecting them from fire, soil, and water contamination.