If you're passionate about working with animals, there are many wildlife-related jobs that can offer a comfortable living. Consider several rich and rewarding possibilities.
Wildlife Forensic Scientist
Wildlife forensic scientists are responsible for evaluating biological samples collected from crime scenes involving wildlife species. This job may involve testifying as an expert witness in legal proceedings. Wildlife forensic scientists may work in federal, state, or local government agency laboratories. A bachelor's degree is required for this position, which fetches a median annual salary of 58,230, as of 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Zoo directors manage entire zoo facilities, overseeing animal collections and supervising staffs. These positions may be applied to traditional zoos, aquariums, animal parks, marine facilities, and other animal-related operations. Most zoo directors hold advanced degrees in applicable fields, and many have extensive management, communications, and financial planning experience. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track salaries for zoo directors specifically, but zoologists and biologists earn a median annual salary of $75,850, as of 2018.
Marine Biologist or Marine Mammalogist
Marine biologists study a wide variety of aquatic species, while marine mammalogists exclusively focus on marine mammals. Both positions may be found in research fields, academic institutions, and private sector operations. Advanced degrees and extensive training typically are required. Pay can be expected to be within the range of other zoologists and biologists, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Wildlife biologists conduct research on animal populations in the wild. Their roles may involve monitoring population dynamics, tracking animal movements and developing strategic plans for habitat maintenance. Wildlife biologists may find employment in research facilities, educational institutions, or governmental agencies. Pay can be expected to be within the range of other zoologists and biologists, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Zoologists—biologists who study animal species—are typically employed by zoos, aquariums, marine parks, governmental agencies, and educational institutions. Roles commonly deal with research, academia, and animal management. This position requires a bachelor's degree, while advanced degrees usually are necessary for senior positions and research roles. Pay can be expected to be within the range of other zoologists and biologists, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Fish and Game Warden
Fish and game wardens patrol designated areas to ensure wildlife species are protected from human behavior. These operatives are authorized to arrest individuals who violate laws and they may seize weapons from hunters who fail to comply with regulatory statutes. They may also assist wildlife biologists with research projects and data collection. Furthermore, they can help investigate the damage caused by wild animals. A two-year degree is generally necessary for entry to this field, and prior law enforcement experience can help people attain such positions, which may be found with local, state, and federal governmental agencies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track data specifically for fish and game wardens, but since they often work with law enforcement, their pay can be expected to be comparable to the median annual salary of $63,380 that police and detectives earned as of 2018.