Zoologists study animals and their behaviour.Job Category:
What you will do:
You could work in a range of areas like:
- developing and testing new drugs
- improving agricultural crops and livestock
- disease and pest control
- conserving endangered habitats and species
- animal welfare and education
- developing policies and enforcing regulations for government agencies
You’ll usually specialise in an area like ecology (animal environments), herpetology (reptiles), entomology (insects), parasitology (parasites) or paleozoology (fossil remains).
Your day-to-day tasks will vary depending on your role, sector and specialism. You could:
- carry out field and laboratory research
- study animals in their natural environment or in captivity
- identify, record and monitor animal species
- gather and interpret information
- use complex procedures, like computerised molecular and cellular analysis, and in-vitro fertilisation
- produce detailed technical reports
- give presentations and publish information in journals and books
- supervise technicians
- knowledge of biology
- science skills
- the ability to read English
- maths knowledge
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
As well as:
- excellent verbal communication skills
- the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- excellent written communication skills
- organisational skills
You’ll usually need a degree in a subject like zoology, animal ecology, animal behaviour, marine biology, environmental biology or conservation.
Experience volunteering in conservation work or a related area may help when applying for courses.
For some jobs, particularly in research, you’ll need a relevant postgraduate qualification, like a master’s degree or PhD.
Doing an internship during the summer of your second or last but one year at university can also help you gain useful knowledge and skills. Your university careers department may have links with wildlife or conservation organisations.
Working Hours and Environment:
In industry, research and higher education you’ll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week from Monday to Friday. As a field researcher you’ll work variable hours. For example you would need to work at night if you’re studying nocturnal animals.
If you work in conservation you may have to work evenings, weekends and public holidays, to attend evening meetings, supervise volunteers or host public open days.
You may need to live overseas for periods of time for some research roles.
Career Path & Progression:
With experience, you could move into other jobs like management, marketing, sales, scientific journalism or consultancy.
You could also work and study overseas.