Field Assistant Career Summary

Do you want to work as a Field Assistant?

READ: This page helps you to read about the career and the info you need to decide on whether this is indeed the career you want to follow.

RESEARCH: ​Learn about the skills required and minimum subjects to enter this career, as well as the places where you can study further after school.

PREPARE: If you want to plan and prepare for your career, then join the OZT Community! Members have access to tools while chatting with other students and experts from around the world. Prepare to be amazed!


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UPDATED: 24 April 2022

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What is a Field Assistant?

A Field Assistant accompanies researchers or scientists to assist them in various tasks, such as in collecting samples and recording data.

Alternative Names

Depending on the industry and often the country where the job is situated, this career can be known as a:

  • Field Officer
  • Research Assistant

What does a Field Assistant do?

With which Groups of animal can a Field Assistant work with?

Mammals List Icon OZT
Birds List Icon OZT
Fish List Icon OZT
Reptiles List Icon OZT
Amphibians List Icon OZT
Insects List Icon OZT
Arachnids List Icon OZT
Crustaceans List Icon OZT
Mollusks Link Icon OZT
Myriapods List Icon OZT
Nematodes List Icon OZT

Career Categories

The Field Assistant falls within the following Career Categories:

  • Farming and Livestock Management
  • Marine Conservation
  • Wildlife Conservation

What does a Field Assistant focus on?

The main focus of a field assistant is to help senior employees with the hands-on work, which includes collecting samples and data, process information and writing basic reports.

What are the daily tasks of a Field Assistant?

  • Discuss brief with supervisor and clients
  • Collect necessary samples for storage or processing
  • Collect data and record for research
  • Field mapping
  • Attend meetings and take notes
  • Assist in compiling and organizing reports
  • Administration and filing

In which environment does a Field Assistant work in?

What are the environment and places of employment like?

Environment –

Field Assistants work outdoors to collect the data and samples, but need to do a significant part of their work indoors to process the data and help with writing, reporting and administration.

Places of Employment –

Most Field Assistants work for research institutions, academia, government, environmental consultancies.

What is the Average Salary for a Field Assistant?

The average annual salary of Field Assistants is around US$32,000 but will be different in other countries.

Can a Field Assistant be promoted?

Promotion to senior levels are available in most careers. The levels of each promotion might differ from organization to organization, but generally are the following for ecologists who work for an organization:

Junior or Intern > Senior Field Assistant > Project Coordinator > Head of Department, Manager or Research Director

What difficulties does a Field Assistant face?

Field Assistants might need to work with animals that can get stressed and difficult to handle.

They also might need to work long hours at sea in rough weather.

Future Growth and Possibilities of the Career

Jobs in this field are limited and competition is strong. Annual growth is around 5% per year.

New possibilities are opening for Field Assistants with a strong focus on research in environmental sustainability and solutions.

Job Availability


Which Skills do Field Assistants need?

The skills required for a career as a field assistant 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.

Life Skills:

  • Self-awareness
  • Empathy
  • Critical thinking
  • Creative thinking
  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Effective communication
  • Interpersonal relationship
Life Skills

Career Skills:

  • animal handling
  • coordination to handle instruments
  • physical health
  • customer service
  • computer literacy
Career Skills

Which Subjects must I have at School to help me prepare for this career?

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!

What will I need to Study to become a Field Assistant?

Minimum educational qualification

The minimum required qualification is a College Diploma which should open up some of the entry level jobs.

Good positions that require extensive field work might require at least a Bachelor’s Degree.

Subject focus

Major – 

The most important subjects to focus on will be animal sciences, biology, zoology, environmental science and ecology.

Short Courses –

It is important to try and complete as many short courses as possible. You might be allowed to do some of them while still in school.

Study duration

The duration of a Diploma is 2 to 3 years, a Bachelor’s Degrees can be up to 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 Paths:

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 Field Assistant 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 a junior assistant 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 or Internship

Even though it is important to study to get into some of the animal careers, most of the skills you will need as a Field Assistant 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.

Internship is also possible where you need to learn skills from a more senior researcher.

Join the Field Assistants Group in the OZT Community to learn more and even interact with the educational institutions that will help you secure your dream career!

Average level of education of those entering the career:

High School Certificate 0%
Diploma or Short Courses 0%
Degree or Higher Studies 0%

Licenses, Certifications, Registrations 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.

Learn more about requirements by joining the Community.

Professional Associations

  • If you know of specific associations, please leave their details in the message section below

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 field work, research and administration.

Do you have information that you would like to contribute to this course? Please click on the red beetle to access the contribution form.

OZT Community Logo

Join the OZT community & Group

Join us as a special member and learn more about becoming a Field Assistant.

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 Field Assistant, 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.

  • Group logo of Field Assistants

    Field Assistants

    Public Group / 1 member

    active 3 months ago

    The Group was created to bring together all those interested in learning more about the career while having access to free resources, short courses, expert advice as well as the option to interact with other students from around […]

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