Wildlife Ecologist Career Summary

Do you want to work as a wildlife ecologist?

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 Wildlife Ecologist?

A wildlife ecologist studies the relationship between the various species of terrestrial animals and plants and the environment they occur in.

Alternative Careers

Although ecologists may specialize in specific fields, OZT discusses only 3 of these profiles. Besides wildlife ecologists, the other two are:

Click on the one you want to read up on, if working in the oceans doesn’t suit you.

Arcadian Ecology

Gilbert White developed the Arcadian ecology view - advocates for a “simple, humble life for man” and a harmonious relationship with humans and nature

Imperial Ecology

Francis Bacon' developed the imperial ecology - to establish through reason and by hard work, man’s dominance over nature

What does a Wildlife Ecologist do?

Groups of animals a Wildlife Ecologist works with

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

Career Categories

The Wildlife Ecologist falls within the following Career Categories:

  • Wildlife Conservation
  • Specialists

What does a Wildlife Ecologist focus on?

Wildlife Ecologists focus on the study of the different terrestrial animals (including birds and freshwater fish) and plants and then analyze how they impact (or are impacted by) their surrounding environment.

What are the daily tasks of a Wildlife Ecologist?

  • Research important academic material
  • Study animal and plants within an environment
  • Gather and analyze data
  • Compose reports
  • Publish scientific findings
  • Report to clients
  • Administration and filing

In which environment does a Wildlife Ecologist work in?

What are the environment and places of employment like?

Environment –

Wildlife Ecologists work primarily outdoors, but can spend time indoors doing tests.

Places of Employment –

Most Wildlife Ecologists work for research institutions, government, environmental consultancies.

What is the Average Salary for a Wildlife Ecologist?

The average annual salary of ecologists is around US$70,000 but will be different in other countries.

Can a Wildlife Ecologist 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 Ecologists > Head of Department, Manager or Director

What difficulties does a Wildlife Ecologist face?

Wildlife ecologists might need to work with animals that can get stressed and difficult to handle. They also might need to work long hours and over weekends with a tight deadline and budget.

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 marine ecologists with a strong focus on environmental sustainability.

Job Availability

Average

Which Skills do Wildlife Ecologists need?

The skills required for a career as a wildlife ecologist 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
40%

Career Skills:

  • animal handling
  • good coordination to handle instruments
  • excellent physical health
  • basic customer service
  • computer literacy
Career Skills
60%

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 Wildlife Ecologist?

Minimum educational qualification

The minimum required qualification is a Bachelor’s Degree which should open up some of the entry level jobs (mostly administrative and research based).

Good positions that require field work will require at least a Masters Degree.

Subject focus

Major – 

The most important subjects to focus on will be biology, botany, 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 Bachelor’s Degrees can be up to 4 years, and another 4 years for a Masters and/or Doctorate. 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):

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 an ecologist 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 ecologist.

Join the Wildlife Ecologists 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

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 ecology.

Do you have information that you would like to contribute to this Profile? 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 Wildlife Ecologist.

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 Ecologist, 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 Marine Ecologists

    Marine Ecologists

    Public Group / 1 member

    active 2 months, 4 weeks 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 […]

Other interesting Careers

Career Profiles and Resources

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List of Career Mentors/Educators who have contributed to this Career info:

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A few pictures about the Career:

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