The Advantages of Being a Zoologist

Zoologists may study a specific animal or  work with many animals.
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Zoologists may study a specific animal or  work with many animals.

Zoology is a broad field of research that includes studying animals in their natural habitats to assess behaviors, living conditions and interactions with other wildlife. Zoologists also spend time working in offices, labs -- and zoos. While some find jobs after earning bachelor's and master's degrees, a doctoral degree is needed if you want to teach or do research. In addition to the adventure of working with animals, other advantages await those who enter zoology.

High Pay

Although pay is not always the driving force, it is nice to know that you can make a decent living in many zoology jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics noted a median annual salary for zoologists and wildlife biologists of $57,430 in 2010. Higher-paying work is possible in academic fields and with special government programs funded by grants. The projected growth rate for all zoology jobs is 7 percent from 2010 to 2020, which is below the average 140 percent for all occupations.

Working with Animals

Your level of enjoyment for zoology will naturally be much greater if you have a passion for the subjects of your research and time -- animals. Your passion may lie with animals in general, or with a particular category of animals. On field studies, it is common for zoologists to spend weeks or months in the wild observing and occasionally interacting with their subjects to better understand behaviors. Your love for animals also provides motivation for lab research study of diseases that affect animal populations.

Project Variety

The overall nature of zoological work is broad. If you work with many types of animals, you may spend time on one project studying lions and tigers in the wild, then head to the lab to research disease factors in monkeys. As a professor, you can share your passion and research with eager students by teaching classes and leading class projects.


Not all zoology careers provide a "Jurassic Park"-like experience, but some do satisfy a person's sense of adventure and wonderment about nature. Studies may take you to a variety of locations and continents. Head to African jungles to study elephants and snakes, for instance. Mobile locations in natural animal habitats add to the adventure.

2016 Salary Information for Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists

Zoologists and wildlife biologists earned a median annual salary of $60,520 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, zoologists and wildlife biologists earned a 25th percentile salary of $48,360, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $76,320, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 19,400 people were employed in the U.S. as zoologists and wildlife biologists.

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