Do you want to work as a wildlife forensic specialist?
- Read about the most important info you need to decide on following this career.
- Follow the 7 points below and search for a tertiary institution near you for future studies. If you already are graduated, you may also search through our list of Jobs in the main menu.
- If you want to PLAN the way you need to prepare, then join our community in step 8 where you will learn everything, while chatting with other future specialists from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!
UPDATED: 1 September 2020
1. What is a wildlife forensic scientist?
A wildlife forensic scientist uses scientific techniques and equipment to investigate wildlife related crimes, where animals were hurt or killed, such as in illegal smuggling, poaching and animal cruelty.
Also known as:
- Wildlife Forensic Specialist
- Wildlife Forensic Investigator
2. What do they do?
Health / Law and Enforcement / Specialist
The primary focus of wildlife forensic scientist use scientific procedures to investigate wildlife-related crimes.
- Discuss brief with client/supervisor
- Investigate crime scene
- Gather necessary samples
- Identify species specific material
- Research possible causes of death
- Write reports for clients
- Testify in prosecutions
- Administration and filing
Where they work:
Forensic scientists work equal amount indoors as outdoors. As most of the cases will be in the wildlife, they will spend a good time travelling in the field.
Places of Employment –
Most places of employment will include research laboratories, wildlife and marine conservation societies, government.
On average the income per year is around $58,000. This will differ from country to country.
The most difficult part will be working with dead animals. Specialists will also need to work long hours and on short notice. They will also need to be willing to travel, including in difficult terrain.
Future growth and Possibilities:
Since wildlife forensic science is a relatively new field, the number of new jobs will be determined by funding. On average, the possible future growth can sharply increase as governments and non-governmental actors take on environmental issues.
3. Which Skills are required?
The skills required for a career as a wildlife forensic scientist can be divided into two very important groups. The first is the group containing life skills, which are the core skills that are necessary or desirable for full participation in everyday life. The second group is career skills, or the specific skills required to allow a person to enter and operate effectively within a specific career. Some or maybe even all of the life skills can assist in strengthening the career skills, and they might even be the same for specific careers.
- Critical thinking
- Creative thinking
- Decision making
- Problem Solving
- Effective communication
- Interpersonal relationship
- Basic customer service skills
- Good health and physical fitness
- Excellent computer literacy
4. Which Subjects must I have at School?
The subjects you choose at school are important as they lay the foundation for further studies at college or university. While still at school, it’s also important to learn more about the animals you will work with, as well as gain some experience.
OZT has a list of various tertiary institutions where you can study further, after school. Each of these institutions also have their own Group page on OZT where you will find the exact subjects they require of you to have passed in school. Keep these requirements in mind, and discuss it with your school, guidance counselor and parents to ensure that you are prepared!
5. What will I need to Study?
A Bachelor of Science degree is the minimum educational requirement for careers in forensic science, and many wildlife forensic scientists have earned more advanced degrees (Masters or Ph.D.)
major in wildlife sciences, biology, forensics, biochemistry, animal science or criminal justice.
Short Courses –
Courses in wildlife management, crime prevention
The duration of Bachelor’s Degrees can be up to 3 or 4 years. Short Courses are usually between a few weeks and a year.
Possible Career Preparation Paths:
If this is your dream career that you want to pursue, then it’s important to plan the way forward.
Why is planning important?
To ensure that you understand the requirements for your career, and that you are always prepared for the next step on the road towards your dream. A Preparation Path is like your road map to where you want to be.
Possible Combined Career Paths:
It is possible to sometimes combine two or more related careers. This normally happens when you study and practice a specific main career, but the knowledge and experience gained also help you to have a paying hobby or secondary income career.
Possible Alternatives (there are a lot more):
Training and apprenticeship:
Even though it is important to study to get into some of the animal careers, most of the skills you will need as a wildlife forensic specialist will be acquired through practice. This means that you will learn how to perform some of the daily tasks by actually doing it a few times and learning the steps.
In some cases entry level positions require training sessions even before you are allowed to actually perform your job duties. These sessions are offered by the place of employment, after you have successfully applied.
Apprenticeship is also possible where you need to learn skills from a more senior experts.
Join the Wildlife Forensic Scientists Group in STEP 8 to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!
Average level of education of all the people who enter the career:
6. Licenses, Certificate, Registration and Professional Associations
Certain animal careers require some form of legal certification to prove that you can indeed do the work, and work with the necessary equipment.
Although not required by law, certifications may help workers establish their credentials and enhance their skills.
Learn more about requirements by joining OZT in STEP 8.
7. Where can I study further?
All of the above information will help you understand more about the Career, including the fact that there are different paths to take to reach it. But if you are almost done with High School (Grades 11 or 12), you also need to start thinking about further studies, and WHERE you will study.
See the List of Universities, Colleges and Online Training Academies who offer courses towards crime prevention.
8. Join the OZT community
Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a wildlife forensic scientist.
Members of the Platform have special access to:
- Info on the best places where you can study (colleges, universities and online)
- Expertly designed advice to prepare you for the career, and links to places where you can gain valuable experience. For some career experience is necessary, otherwise you wont get the job!
- Top notch info on each of the different species you will work with
- Make friends around the world and share knowledge
- Compete and win points, badges, games, prizes and certificates. Be the best of the best, while you learn and prepare!
If you have decided on being a Wildlife Forensic Scientist, please click on the JOIN GROUP button. Members will be directed to the Group, while non-members will be assisted to register first.
If this career is NOT the career for you, then you may return to the MAIN CAREER menu, and search for something different.
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