If you are considering a major in zoology or you have already embarked on your education, it's only natural to ask what kind of careers may be open to you. While there are a vast number of jobs available for professional zoologists and animal biology, but this is really just the start. Studying zoology can give you a great start for almost any career that requires a firm understanding of science and animal biology.
An Education Based in Zoology
Zoology is the study of animal biology, including vertebrate and invertebrate species, which includes humans. Zoologists understand how animal biology works from the cellular level up through tissues and organs and how they have evolved through the millennia. They also understand how animals interact with each other and their environments and the importance of biodiversity. With a bachelor's degree in zoology, you have the option to take your studies further with master's and doctoral programs in which you can specialize your studies in areas like genetics, physiology and ecology.
Zoology and Animal Biology Careers
With a bachelor's degree in zoology, you can begin a career as a professional zoologist or animal biologist. Zoology jobs include doing work in conservation, studying animal behavior, or human effects on animals and their environments. If you want to do higher level scientific or investigative work, you will likely need a master's degree. To do research at a university or to lead an independent research team in your field, you should have a doctorate degree.
In 2017, there were 19,400 zoologists and animal biologists working in the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They earned a median income of $62,290 that year, meaning half made more than this amount while half made less. Job opportunities are expected to increase by about 8 percent in the next ten years. More than half of these jobs are available from state governments and the federal government. Other employers include colleges and universities, research and develop firms, as well as management, scientific and technical consulting services.
Other careers working with animals include being an animal trainer or border, zookeeper, or an animal rescuer. A degree in zoology can be ideal for any of these positions.
Careers as a Health Professional
If you would like to be a veterinarian, a bachelor's degree in zoology is usually your best way to get started. After graduating, you will then need to apply to a specialized veterinarian program to earn your Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree.
Because a bachelor's degree in zoology covers human biology, it can be an ideal stepping stone towards other careers specific to human health. A bachelor's degree in zoology can qualify you for a further studies in dentistry, or medical school, to become a dentist or a medical doctor. You also have the option to continue studies in optometry, podiatry or pharmacy studies.
Additional Zoology Careers
Additional education beyond a bachelor's degree in zoology isn't necessary for many of the career opportunities open to you. A major in zoology can make you qualified to work as a research technician in a laboratory or to do research in the field. Product developers and quality control officers in pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology firms often have a degree in zoology. You can also get a job in government agencies related to the environment, public health or agriculture. In fact, any job that requires scientific training may be perfect for someone with a zoology degree, including sales positions at pharmaceutical or biotechnology firms, or laboratory equipment manufacturers. If you enjoy writing, you may also be able to get a job as a writer or an editor for scientific publications.