What Can I Do with a Zoology Degree?

Zoologists may study animal aggression.
People with a zoology degree may choose to work as a veterinarian.
Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in zoology go on to work with animals.
Some zoologists work in wildlife conservation.
Zoology is one of many science degrees that provides a solid foundation for a variety of graduate studies.
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  • Written By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 24 April 2015
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Although many zoology degree recipients end up working directly with animals, the career options that the education opens up are vast and far-reaching. Zoology degrees can lead to careers in research, graduate studies in medicine or veterinary science, or work in cell biology. Most students enter careers in the life sciences, but not all do. Your studies can take you to pharmacy or law school or can lead to advisory careers in national or local governments. With a bit of persistence and creativity, there is little limit to how you use your education.

There are usually as many ways to use a zoology degree as there are reasons for pursuing the degree in the first place. Some students enter the program because they like animals or want to work with wildlife conservation efforts. Others are looking to satisfy their curiosity about organic processes or are fascinated by the science of how animals and insects function on a cellular level.

Students with a bachelor’s degree in zoology are usually eligible to work in zoos, in animal parks, and on wildlife rehabilitation teams in entry-level positions. They may also find jobs doing basic research for organizations looking at animal population, migration, and habitat. Most students who leave school with only a basic zoology degree go to work directly or indirectly with animals.

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Like many science degrees, zoology offers a robust background for a number of graduate studies, as well. If you want to do more than simply entry-level work with animals, you should think about pursuing a zoology master’s degree, or even a zoology Ph.D. These advanced studies programs will equip you to work in the highest levels of wildlife organizations and exercise greater control of complex animal studies and care programs. The highest paid zoology jobs are usually held by individuals with a graduate zoology degree.

A zoology degree can also open the doors to a variety of other science programs and careers outside of the traditional scope of animal studies. Doctors and veterinarians must have the keen knowledge of biological processes taught in zoology classes, and many advanced cell and molecular biology programs depend on that knowledge, as well. The science underlying most animal biology programs can be leveraged in a number of different directions.

Depending on your interests, your degree might lead you to a career outside the traditional scope of zoology. Programs like law, for instance, often require only a bachelor’s degree for admission. Zoology students can also usually go into teaching or science writing rather easily.

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lluviaporos
Post 3

@pastanaga - Not necessarily. It depends on what you want to do and where you are willing to do it. You have a much higher chance of getting somewhere if you're willing to go to where the job markets are hiring, rather than trying to stay in one place.

I would also consider getting additional qualifications depending on the job you want. You don't necessarily have to get a Masters degree in order to work as a park ranger, for example, but there are various diplomas and other courses that could bump your chances.

A degree in zoology is really just a first step and you've got to decide where to go with it afterwards. One way to help you decide is to investigate what previous graduates from the same or similar programs ended up doing.

pastanaga
Post 2

@Mor - Zoology as a subject major isn't really going to be all that different from any other basic science degree, so you can do it and still expect to have relatively wide opportunities for work.

But I agree that if you really want to take up a specific position in a zoo, or working with wildlife or whatever, you will probably have to at least get a zoology masters degree, and spend a lot of time in the field as well.

Mor
Post 1

Some of my favorite classes at university were zoology based, particularly Animal Behavior. We actually got to go to the local zoo and do field work with the rhinos and a colony of Capuchin monkeys. There aren't many classes where you get to spend several days hanging out in the zoo as part of the curriculum.

I didn't end up completing a degree in zoology though, because it can actually be very difficult to find work with animals, unless you specialize and are willing to do a lot of voluntary work, or go into some kind of agricultural role. I know our local zoo has something like a three year waiting list for volunteers because so many people want to work there. I can't imagine it would be any easier getting a paid job.

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