Is It Hard to Find a Job as a Zoologist? Exploring the Job Market for Animal Scientists

Are you interested in pursuing a career as a zoologist? Perhaps you have always loved animals and are fascinated by their behaviour and biology. While this profession can be incredibly rewarding, it is important to consider the reality of the job market and the question at hand: is it hard to find a job as a zoologist?

Many aspiring zoologists believe that finding a job in this field will be easy due to their passion and dedication to animals. However, the reality is that the job market for zoologists can be incredibly competitive. With a limited number of positions available and an abundance of qualified applicants, it is essential to have relevant education, experience and certifications in order to stand out from the crowd.

Despite the challenges of finding employment in this field, it is important to remember that zoology can offer a wealth of opportunities for those who are dedicated and committed to their craft. Whether you are looking to work in conservation, research or education, with the right skills and experience, you can build a successful career as a zoologist. Let’s explore the realities of this field and the various paths you can take to secure your dream job.

Job market for zoologists

If you’re considering pursuing a career in zoology, you may be wondering about the job prospects in this field. The job market for zoologists varies depending on the specific job and location, but overall, it can be competitive.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of zoologists and wildlife biologists is projected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations. However, because this field is relatively small, this growth will only result in the creation of about 1,800 new jobs over the next decade.

One factor that can impact job prospects for zoologists is the funding available for research and conservation efforts. When budget cuts occur, it can lead to a decrease in job opportunities within the field. Additionally, many zoologists work for government agencies or non-profit organizations, which can limit the number of available positions.

Factors affecting job prospects

  • Level of education: A higher degree, such as a Ph.D., can improve job prospects and lead to more advanced positions.
  • Specialization: Having a specific area of expertise, such as studying a certain species or ecosystem, can make you a more desirable candidate for certain jobs.
  • Location: Certain areas may have more job opportunities for zoologists, such as those with large national parks or wildlife preserves.

Alternative job options

If you’re struggling to find a job as a zoologist, there are alternative options to consider. One option is to look for jobs that are related to zoology, such as environmental consulting or science writing. Another option is to consider further education or research opportunities, which can lead to more specialized and advanced positions within the field.

It’s also worth noting that many zoologists are passionate about working with animals and may find fulfillment in non-traditional careers, such as working in animal advocacy or animal welfare organizations.

Zoology jobs by industry

Industry Median Salary (2019) Job Outlook (2019-2029)
Scientific research and development services $65,190 6%
State government, excluding education and hospitals $57,440 6%
Colleges, universities, and professional schools; state, local, and private $55,170 5%
Museums, historical sites, and similar institutions $48,350 5%

Source: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary expectations for zoologists

When it comes to pursuing a career in zoology, it’s important to consider the potential salary. Zoologists earn a moderate income, with the average salary ranging from $39,000 to $98,000 per year depending on experience and education level. In this section, we’ll dive into the salary expectations for zoologists in more detail.

  • Entry-level zoologists can expect to earn an average salary of around $39,000 per year.
  • With a few years of experience, the average salary for zoologists increases to around $52,000 per year.
  • Zoologists with 10 or more years of experience can expect to earn an average salary of around $98,000 per year.

It’s important to note that salary expectations can vary based on location and the specific industry you work in. For example, zoologists working for the federal government tend to earn a higher salary compared to those working in state or local government.

Here’s a breakdown of the average salaries for zoologists working in different industries:

Industry Average Salary
Federal Government $88,870 per year
Scientific Research and Development Services $73,050 per year
State Government $56,730 per year
Veterinary Services $53,790 per year

Despite not being the highest-paid field, zoology offers many opportunities for personal and professional growth, as well as the chance to make meaningful contributions to wildlife conservation and our understanding of the natural world.

Education and Training required for Zoologists

For those who dream of a career as a zoologist, proper education and training are crucial. Zoology is a branch of biology that deals with the scientific study of animals – their behavior, structure, function, and evolution. Zoologists investigate the natural world and work with animals to understand their interactions with each other, the environment, and humans.

Here are the steps to become a qualified zoologist:

  • Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree: A bachelor’s degree in Zoology, Biology or related fields is the first step to becoming a zoologist. This degree typically takes four years to complete and includes courses in biology, animal anatomy and physiology, and ecology.
  • Pursue a Master’s Degree: A master’s degree in zoology or a related field is the next step. This degree may take up to two years to complete and gives students the opportunity to specialize in a particular area of zoology.
  • Gain Experience: After earning a master’s degree, students may seek out internships, volunteer work, or entry-level positions to gain more practical experience in the field. This experience can also help them decide which area of zoology they want to specialize in.
  • Obtain a Doctorate Degree: Those who want to become leading experts in zoology may choose to pursue a Ph.D. in Zoology or a related field. This degree typically takes 4-6 years to complete and involves independent research on a specific topic.

Once the necessary education and training have been completed, zoologists can choose to work in various fields, including research, conservation, education, or government agencies. Their responsibilities can range from studying animal behavior and biology to advocating for environmental policies and laws.

Education Level Required Skills
Bachelor’s Degree Biology, Animal Anatomy and Physiology, Ecology
Master’s Degree Zoology or related field, Specialization in an Area
Doctorate Degree Independent Research on a Specific Topic

In conclusion, becoming a zoologist requires dedication, hard work, and a love for animals. It is a rewarding career that allows individuals to make a difference in the natural world by advocating for conservation and promoting a better understanding of animal behavior and biology.

Specializations within Zoology

As a zoologist, there are different paths that you can take depending on your area of interest. Here are some of the specializations within zoology:

  • Ecology: This is the study of how animals interact with their environment. Ecologists may study topics such as the relationship between predators and prey, the effects of climate change on ecosystems, and how animal behavior contributes to the survival of a species.
  • Marine Biology: This is the study of marine organisms and their ecosystems. Marine biologists may study topics such as the effects of pollution on marine life, the behavior of marine animals, and how marine organisms adapt to their environment.
  • Zookeeping: This involves the care and maintenance of animals in captivity, including feeding, cleaning, and monitoring their behavior. Zookeepers may also work on conservation efforts, such as breeding programs for endangered species.

These are just a few examples of the many specializations within zoology. Each specialization requires a unique skill set and knowledge base, so it’s important to explore your interests and find the area that’s right for you.

In addition to specialized fields, zoologists may also work in a variety of settings, such as universities, zoos, government agencies, and private companies.

Career Outlook

The job outlook for zoologists varies by specialization and field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of zoologists and wildlife biologists is projected to grow 4% from 2019 to 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. However, competition for jobs in this field can be strong, especially for positions with higher salaries and greater responsibility.

Salary Information

As in any field, the salary for zoologists varies depending on specialization, experience, and location. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for zoologists and wildlife biologists was $63,270 in May 2020. The lowest 10% of zoologists earned less than $41,410 per year, while the highest 10% earned more than $107,900 per year.

Industry Annual Mean Wage (May 2020)
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools $68,590
Scientific Research and Development Services $73,530
Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation) $86,720
State Government, excluding schools and hospitals (OES Designation) $56,840
Museums, Historical Sites, and Similar Institutions $57,590

Overall, while finding a job as a zoologist can be competitive, there are plenty of opportunities for those who are passionate and dedicated to the field.

Job prospects for zookeepers versus field researchers

For those seeking a career in zoology, there are a variety of job prospects available. Two popular paths are becoming a zookeeper or a field researcher. Here, we’ll take a closer look at the job outlook for each.

Zookeeper job prospects

  • Zookeeper jobs are typically found in zoos, aquariums, and wildlife parks.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 22% growth in employment for animal care and service workers (including zookeepers) from 2016-2026.
  • The average annual salary for a zookeeper is $26,860, with the highest 10% earning more than $39,120.

Field researcher job prospects

Field researchers study animals in their natural habitats, often collecting data to be used for conservation efforts. Here are a few key points about job prospects in this field:

  • Field researchers may work for government agencies, universities, or non-profit organizations.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a projected 8% growth rate in employment for zoologists and wildlife biologists (including field researchers) from 2016-2026.
  • The average annual salary for a zoologist or wildlife biologist is $63,420, with the top 10% earning more than $99,180.


While both zookeepers and field researchers have a promising outlook in terms of job growth, their salaries and work environments differ greatly. Zookeeping work is often more physically demanding and may have less competitive salaries, while field research often requires more education and offers higher-paying jobs, though may have more limited job opportunities overall. It’s important to weigh the options before choosing a career path in zoology.

Job type Work environment Projected job growth 2016-2026 Average annual salary
Zookeeper Zoos, aquariums, wildlife parks 22% $26,860
Field researcher In the field, often outdoors 8% $63,420

Note: Salary and job growth information taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Opportunities for Zoologists in Non-Profit Organizations

Non-profit organizations play a vital role in conservation efforts, and zoologists have numerous opportunities to make a difference while working for these organizations. Here are some of the ways that zoologists can utilize their skills and education in non-profit work:

  • Environmental Advocacy: Zoologists can work for organizations that advocate for environmental causes and work to protect endangered species and their habitats. These organizations often require the expertise of zoologists in order to better understand the species they are working to protect and to develop effective conservation strategies.
  • Wildlife Rehabilitation: Non-profit organizations that focus on wildlife rehabilitation often hire zoologists to help care for injured or sick animals. Zoologists can provide expertise on the specific needs of different species and help to develop rehabilitation plans that will help these animals recover and thrive in the wild.
  • Research: Non-profit organizations also conduct their own research on various species and ecosystems. Zoologists can play a key role in this research, helping to collect and analyze data that can then be used to inform conservation efforts.

Overall, non-profit organizations offer a wide range of opportunities for zoologists who are looking to apply their skills and knowledge to conservation efforts. Whether working directly with animals or conducting research and advocacy, zoologists can make a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of numerous species and ecosystems.

The impact of conservation efforts on zoology job availability

Conservation efforts have had both positive and negative impacts on the job availability for zoologists, depending on the specific area of zoology and the organizations involved. Here are some ways conservation efforts have impacted job availability:

  • Increased demand for conservation biologists: The growing awareness of environmental issues and the need for conservation efforts has led to an increased demand for conservation biologists. These professionals often work in areas such as habitat restoration, wildlife management, and conservation policy.
  • Decreased funding for zoology research: The focus on conservation efforts has led to a shift in funding priorities, with more resources being allocated to conservation efforts than to zoology research. This has resulted in decreased job opportunities for zoologists who are not specifically focused on conservation biology.
  • Decreased job opportunities in certain fields: Conservation efforts have had a negative impact on certain areas of zoology, such as wildlife trade and captive animal management. This has resulted in reduced job opportunities in these fields.

Additionally, the effectiveness of conservation efforts can impact job availability. For example, successful efforts to restore habitats or protect endangered species can lead to increased job opportunities in those areas. On the other hand, if conservation efforts fail to achieve their goals, job opportunities in those areas may decrease.

Overall, while conservation efforts have had mixed impacts on zoology job availability, they have brought attention to important ecological issues and created new opportunities for professionals in the field.

FAQs: Is it Hard to Find a Job as a Zoologist?

1. Are there many job opportunities for zoologists?

Yes, there are many job opportunities for zoologists. However, the competition can be tough due to the high demand for these positions.

2. What kind of jobs can a zoologist get?

Zoologists can work in various fields, including research, conservation, education, and animal care.

3. Do zoologists need to have a PhD to find a job?

While having a PhD can open up more job opportunities, it is not always necessary. Many entry-level positions only require a bachelor’s degree.

4. Is it difficult to get a job in animal conservation as a zoologist?

Animal conservation jobs can be competitive, but there are still opportunities available. It is important to gain experience and network within the field to increase chances of employment.

5. What kind of experience is needed to become a zoologist?

Experience with animals, research, and conservation are all valuable experiences for a zoologist. Internships and volunteering can also provide valuable hands-on experience.

6. Are zoologists in high demand?

Yes, zoologists are in high demand due to their expertise in animal behavior, biology, and conservation.

7. What is the average salary for a zoologist?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for zoologists was $63,270 in May 2020.

Closing Title: Thanks for Reading!

Thanks for taking the time to read about the job prospects for zoologists. Remember, while the competition may be tough, there are still many opportunities available for those interested in this field. Keep gaining experience and networking to increase your chances of landing your dream job. Don’t forget to check back later for more interesting articles.