What Is Zoology?

Zoology is the study of animals—what’s not to like about that?!  Animals are divided into two different sub-categories:  those with backbones (like fish, reptiles, bird, amphibians, and mammals) and those without backbones (like insects, spiders, crustaceans, worms, shellfish, and other squishy creatures).  Zoologists study everything about animals like how they stay alive (what they eat, do, and how they reproduce), how their bodies are structured, and how they interact with the environment and other animals. Some focus on wild animals, some on your pets like Gizmo (who you know from this site), or some study farm animals.  You can get a certificate or several degrees in zoology or related fields like ecology, but what can you do with it?  You can work at a zoo, aquarium, or nature preserve, either caring for the animals and their habitats, or doing research studies on various animals in the wild to determine which ones are doing well and which are not.  You might do a lot of lab work to develop foods and drugs to help sick animals in different settings.  You might work in a university setting, teaching zoology and animal biology and doing research into animal behavior.

You need a Bachelor’s degree in Zoology as a minimum qualification, and some Bachelor’s programs allow you to specialize in one type of animal. These degrees will probably qualify you to work directly with animals in a zoo, aquarium, or preserve setting.  But to work in research, college teaching, or to advance in your career, you’ll need at least a Master’s degree or PhD. in Zoology, Animal Biology, or Biology.  The demand for this kind of work is expected to increase about like most fields—maybe a 5-8% increase over the next 10 years or so.  This average growth is because many of the organizations that need zoologists are those that count on government money for projects.  So, will there be loads of employers vying for your services if you go into this field?  Maybe not.  But, if you love animals and feel a calling to go in this direction, go for it.  Some job titles that you might see are Zoologist, Zoo Keeper, Nature Conservation Officer, Marine Scientist, Ecologist, Environmental Consultant, Animal Care – Aquarist, Research Scientist – Life Sciences, Wildlife Biologist, Wildlife Educator, Animal Science Technician, and Animal Toxicologist.

What Degrees Relate to Careers in Zoology?