Do you want to work as a wildlife inspector?
- 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 potential inspectors and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!
UPDATED: 31 August 2020
1. What is a wildlife inspector?
Wildlife inspectors are the government officials who have to inspect imports and exports of live animals and goods to ensure everything is legal. They also routinely inspect luggage of passengers to ensure that they do not smuggle animal or plant material into another country.
2. What do they do?
Health / Law & Enforcement
The primary focus of wildlife inspectors is to review shipments of live wild animals at international points of entry, inspect personal luggage of passengers, as well as to monitor shipments of products produced from animals.
- Clearing legal imports and exports
- Stopping shipments that violate federal or international laws
- Verifying that shipment contents match with declaration forms
- Ensuring that all wildlife imports and exports are accompanied by the required licenses and permits
- Ensuring that animals in transit are treated humanely
- Search passenger luggage for contraband items
- Send items for analysis
- Liaise with police services for arrest of suspects
- Administration and filing
Where they work:
Wildlife inspectors work mainly indoors, but may be stationed at ports of entry where they can move around more freely to inspect containers.
Places of Employment –
They are employed by government.
On average the income per year is around $45,000. This will differ from country to country.
The most difficult part is always to work with suspicious people, as well as having to come in contact with foreign substances. They may work long hours and over weekends and holidays to finish work within tight deadlines.
Future growth and Possibilities:
The current growth is good at around 7%.
3. Which Skills are required?
The skills required for a career as a wildlife inspector 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?
The minimum requirement in some countries remains at a High School certificate, but other require a minimum of a College Diploma. Senior inspectors go on to study a Bachelor’s Degree.
There is an extensive list of possible majors, of which most will either be in animal science, environmental science, or criminology.
Short Courses –
As most investigators will enter and progress through an enforcement Department (such as immigration, forestry, or the police), short courses in criminology, handling a firearm and zoology will be necessary.
The duration of College and 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):
Stepping Stone Career:
Being a wildlife inspector can also be used as a stepping stone career. A stepping stone career is one which is used to help you get to another career, normally because the other career is too difficult to reach (sometimes due to things like high fees etc).
You can begin as an intern after basic short courses and expert guidance (maybe working under a mentor). The money made can then be used to pay for studies towards a promotion or another career, and the experience helps in gaining knowledge. One paying to help get to the other.
Some of the possible paths:
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 inspector 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.
Join the Wildlife Inspectors 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 law and enforcement.
8. Join the OZT community
Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a wildlife inspector.
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 Inspector, 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.
Other interesting Careers
Career Profiles and Resources
Career Mentors are Members who assist by volunteering to keep each Career Page factual and current, while mentoring Students in the related Career Group.
Contributions by expert members are always appreciated to allow the Students to make informed decisions. Please add your contribution through the attached Form:
List of Career Mentors/Educators who have contributed to this Career info:
One Zoo Tree