Careers in Zoology

Zoologists research or study the selection, breeding, feeding, management, and marketing of livestock, pets, or other economically important animals. They study nutritional requirements of animals and nutritive management practices, processing methods, feed, and environmental conditions on quality of animal products, such as eggs and milk. Zoologists may research and control selection and breeding practices to increase efficiency of production and improve quality of animals. These scientists develop improved practices in incubation, brooding, and artificial insemination. They will also develop improved practices in feeding, housing, sanitation, and parasite and disease control of animals and poultry. They may also perform genetic research to increase desirable characteristics in animals and minimize undesirable one’s such as susceptibility to certain diseases.

Zoologists are life scientists who study animals. They observe animals both in the laboratory and in their natural habitat in an effort to learn as much information as possible about a given species. Zoologists study the origin and development of animal species, the habits and behaviors of animals, and the interactions between animals and their environment. They also do research to learn how animal diseases develop and how traits are passed from each one generation to the next.

Zoologists are sometimes known as animal scientists or animal biologists. Their field is zoology, or animal biology. Like botany and microbiology, zoology is a major division of biology. Zoology is a broad field including the study of animal species as varied as protozoa (one-celled animals), elephants, and rare birds. These animal scientists work in all areas of animal life, studying both simple and complex processes. For example, a zoologist might examine the overall structure of a cat or just the microscopic cells in its brain. Zoologists study the life functions of a single animal, such as an insect, as well as the behavior of whole colonies of ants, flocks of birds, or bands of gorillas.

Most zoologists are employed by colleges and universities where they teach and conduct research. Large numbers of zoologists work for government agencies in such areas as wildlife management, conservation, and agriculture. A few work for private companies, such as pharmaceutical companies or biological supply houses that sell animal specimens to laboratories. Some zoologists are employed by museums and zoos.

Although their jobs may differ widely, most zoologists spend at least some of their time in research or laboratory work. They dissect and examine animal specimens. They prepare slides so that they can observe such things as diseased tissue and chemical reactions under light or electron microscopes. Since they often perform experiments with animals, many zoologists keep laboratory animals such as mice, fruit flies, and guinea pigs. They may breed these animals, raise their offspring under controlled conditions, or test the effects of drugs on them. Some zoologists observe animals in their natural habitat, studying mating practices, aggression, life histories, and group behavior. Zoologists may make use of computerized information as well as a wide variety of special laboratory equipment and scientific methods.

Jobs Descriptions for this Major

Pathologists concentrate on the effects of disease on cells, tissues, and organs of plants and animals.
Geneticists study heredity and how traits or inherited characteristics vary in all forms of life. They expand our knowledge about how traits originate and are passed on from one generation to another.
Anatomists study the structure of living things, ranging from single-celled plants and animals to human beings and redwood trees.
Nutritionists study how food is used and changed into energy. They examine ways in which living tissue is built and repaired by its use of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and other nutrients.
Pharmacologists study the effects of drugs and other substances, such as poisons and dusts, on living organisms.
Ecologists are life scientists who study the relationship between plants and animals and their environment.
Marine biologists, or biological oceanographers, study the organisms living in the ocean.
Zoologists are biologists who study animals.
Taxonomists, or systematists, specialize in the identification, description, and classification of animals and determines how a given species fits into the scheme of nature.
Food Scientists. Food scientists and technologists usually work in the food processing industry, universities, or the Federal Government, and help meet consumer demand for food products that are healthful, safe, palatable, and convenient.

Necessary Skills

Curiosity, Strong Aptitude for Science, Deductive and Inductive Reasoning, Patience, Fluency of Ideas, Mathematical Reasoning, Good Writing and Speaking Skills.

Special Training/Certifications

Graduating from college with a bachelor’s degree in zoology will qualify you to work in many jobs related to the field of zoology and biology. For example, you can become a sales or service representative, an inspector, or an advanced biological technician. In many states, a bachelor’s degree will qualify you to teach a biological science in a high school. You must also meet your state’s requirements for certification before you can get most teaching jobs.

Typical Job Titles in the Field

Environmental Analyst
Fisheries Biologist
Food & Drug Inspector
Marine Biologist
Medical Illustrator
Natural Resources Manager
Park Ranger
Patent Specialist
Pest Control Inspector
Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
Public Health Assistant
Quality Control Specialist
Quarantine Specialist
Research Assistant
Scientific Reporter
Technical Sales Representative
Technical Writer
Wildlife Biologist
Zoo Assistant

Types of Firms and Organizations

Air Pollution Control
Biotechnology Firms
Bureau of Land Management
Centers for Disease Control
Department of Health
Department. of Environmental Protection
Dept. of Agriculture
Education Institutions
Environmental Advocacy Groups
Environmental Consulting Firms
Environmental Education Centers
Environmental Protection Agency
Food & Drug Administration
Food Manufacturers
Land Use Planning Commission
Marine Life Centers
National Institutes of Health
National Park Service
Pharmaceutical Companies
Public Utilities
Recycling Centers
Research Foundations
Scientific Journals
Testing Laboratories
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
U.S. Forest Service
Veternary Research Centers
Waste Management Facilities
Water Resource Council

Salary Range for TAMU Grads

View the most recent Salary Survey results for TAMU graduates that majored in Zoology.

Job Outlook

Job opportunities for biologists are expected to increase at a faster rate than average for all occupations through the year 2006. However, the federal government has recently tightened its budget and reduced the number of grants awarded to researchers. At the same time, the number of advanced degrees awarded has continued to increase. As a result, there should be considerable competition for the highly desired research positions. Colleges and universities will add only a few positions each year.

Opportunities for those with bachelor’s or master’s degrees in biology are expected to be better than the opportunities for those with doctoral degrees. Jobs will be plentiful in private industry, large hospitals, and medical centers. There will be a great number of sales-related positions in sales, marketing, and research management. Increased public awareness and interest in preserving the environment are also likely to provide the stimulus for increased spending by private companies.

Student Organizations and Professional Associations

Zoology Club
Aggie REPS
TAMU Dairy Science Club
Women’s Equestrian Team
Institute of Food Technologists Student Association
Texas Aggie Cattle Women
Judging Teams
Saddle and Sirloin Club
Horsemen’s Association

American Society of Animal Science
Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS)
Institute for Animal Science and Health ID-DLO
Animal Welfare Information Center - U.S. Department of Agriculture

Web Resources
Science magazine's Professional Network
Nature magazine
Society for Conservation Biology (SCB)
Society for Developmental Biology
Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB)