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How to train for a career in zoology

Zoologists are life scientists whose job it is to study animals either by observing them in a laboratory setting or in their natural habitat. Zoologists study the habits, behaviours and interactions of species, as well as their origins and development. Zoologists may also research animal diseases. Find out about how to train for a career in zoology.

Job profile

All zoology specialisations involve working with animals, either in nature or in the laboratory. Some zoologists study entire organisms while others study only specific parts of an organism. Zoology does not just encompass the study of evolution, but it is also a field that requires analytical research and experimental laboratory skills, similar to other fields which fall under the umbrella of biological sciences.

Work activities

Work activities for a zoologist may include: - Monitoring the health of wildlife and creating recovery plans, - Communicating with the general public by embarking on field trips to teach them about zoology, - Setting up scientific equipment to monitor pollutants, - Conducting experimental studies both indoors and outdoors, - Studying the life histories of animals, their interrelationships, diseases, genetics and distribution through basic research. Daily tasks vary according to a zoologist’s chosen career pathway.

Skills

A prospective zoologist requires a sound understanding of biology, ideally gained through a Bachelor’s or Master's zoology degree. Many zoologists go on to study for PhDs. Zoologists are required to work with a variety of different age groups, meaning that good communication skills are essential. An interest in animals and enthusiasm for teaching is necessary to work in zoology jobs.

Work environment

Zoologists who choose to work outdoors in the field may find themselves conducting field research in a range of remote areas and harsh climates. Field zoologists must therefore be able to cope with strenuous physical activity in order to research the natural habitat of the animals that they are studying and primitive living conditions.

Employers

Zoology is a wide-ranging field of study, offering a broad selection of career opportunities in research. A career in zoology provides those interested in animals with the chance to make a difference to the world as a whole through conservation work. The majority of zoologists are employed by universities and animal conservation centres where they are paid to carry out research and teach zoology to students, colleagues and the general public.

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