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Zoology Degree: Careers in Zoology, Zoology Colleges, Education

A zoology degree program allows students to work in the fields of research and in-depth study of animal biology and wildlife. Many zoology colleges are extensions of a life science program and college, and allow students to earn a comprehensive zoology education with both hands-on experience working in a lab setting, along with classroom instruction. Students learn how to apply the scientific method and conduct research in a diverse range of subjects such as wildlife management, environmental study, veterinary training, and animal biological sciences. Principles of evolutionary biology, embryonic development, and ecosystems are other areas of study, giving students a chance to gain a well-rounded perspective in the zoological sciences.

Zoology degree programs are commonly found in the science and veterinary departments of colleges and universities, but are also available at a variety of zoology colleges. Here, students have an opportunity to specialize in a particular field of research and supplement their studies with a range of programs and science-based courses.

What is Zoology?

Zoology is the study of animal biology and environmental study, with opportunities for lifelong research and application in many different fields. A zoology education can be applied to a variety of organizations and work environments including medical research, government programs, public policy for environmental awareness, and conservation management. Zoologists and wildlife biologists are involved with research and data collection after experiments, as well as the study of animal origins, genetics, diseases, and behaviors of animals. Common pursuits and specializations of zoology degrees include:

  • Animal biology
  • Cell biology
  • Animal behavior
  • Neurosciences
  • Evolutionary biology
  • Population biology
  • Ecology
  • Embryonic development

Zoology Careers

A zoology education can lead to a variety of career paths and research opportunities in the field of natural sciences and animal studies, and many zoologists do work in environments other than zoos and animal clinics. The increased demand for well-trained professionals in the field of environmental and ecological studies offers more opportunities for students interested in enjoying a rewarding career in the field.

Attending zoology college gives students an opportunity to explore a variety of disciplines and narrow down their focus to one or two specializations. Students who are interested in pursuing an advanced zoology degree may choose to continue studies and research with a Ph.D program or extensive research; this can lead to additional options for careers in the field such as environmental research, agricultural lab work or medical research.

Careers in zoology can lead to jobs in fields and positions such as:

  • Working at a zoo
  • Veterinary practice and medicine
  • Forensic science
  • Medical research
  • Fisheries and aquaculture
  • Conservation and ecological management
  • Chemical industry research
  • Teaching
  • Manufacturing industry research
  • Pest control and agriculture
  • Cell biology and molecular research
  • Embryonic development in animals
  • Research in Parisitology
  • Research in Ornithology

Pursuing a Zoology Degree

Zoology degree programs require students to have specific traits and characteristics in order to pursue a successful career. The most successful zoology college students are strong in:

  • Critical thinking and independent investigation

  • Communicating with team members, students, and faculty members

  • Observation and data collection

  •  Working in a lab environment for extended periods of time

  • Reporting data and taking comprehensive notes during trials and experiments

  • Formulating thesis and reports for review

  • Presenting and communicating observations and research results

Zoology Education Programs and Classes

Zoology degree programs and curriculum are designed to help students gain a thorough understanding and experience in research methodology, direct application of research, and narrow down the field choices to a specialization. Many graduate and advanced zoology degree programs allow students to work in attractive positions with academic, biomedical, and government organizations.

Classes within a zoology degree encompass a range of courses from biology, chemistry, physics, and life sciences. Common programs available at a zoology college include:

  • General Chemistry

  • Organic Chemistry

  • Cells and molecules

  • Plant Ecology

  • Fundamental Genetics

  • Fundamentals of Soil & Science

  • Biology of Mammals

  • Marine Ecosystem Management

  • Environmental Geochemistry

  • Marine Biology

Education Requirements and Salary Information for Careers in Zoology

Zoology careers require at least a bachelor's degree in the life sciences, wildlife conservation, or related field along with hands-on experience through field research or an internship. Most zoology colleges and universities offer programs that allow students an opportunity to complete a zoology degree in 4-5 years, and students may choose to specialize in a particular field after completing the basic core science curriculum. Graduate degrees allow students to conduct their own research, and these often lead to teaching or other zoology education opportunities. Biology is the most important class for all zoology students and requires in-depth study and understanding, along with extensive research abilities and skills. While many schools are phasing out a formal zoology or wildlife science program, zoology education opportunities are still available with a Bachelor of Science in biology or natural science degree.

The average starting salary for a zoologist is $28,000 per year, with steady increases to $36,000 to $49,000 after 5-10 years of work and experience in the field. Related occupations for zoology careers include:

  • Animal caretaking

  • Wildlife biologists

  • Animal trainers

  • Animal breeders

  • Veterinarian

  • Lab technicians


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