Agricultural Careers Wildlife Biologist By: Dr. Frank Flanders and Ms. Anna Burgess Georgia Agricultural Education Curriculum Office Georgia Department of Education June 2005 START
Job Duties & Responsibilities • Apply principles used in the management of wildlife and fish populations • Understand the ecology of game and non-game species, and ecological and socio-economic factors affecting habitat and populations • Interaction among the public, resource management agencies, and wildlife and fisheries resources • Understand the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of lakes, ponds, and streams • Study and apply state and federal programs affecting wetland drainage and preservation • Know and apply research, laboratory, and statistical methods as they relate to wildlife and fisheries management
Qualities and Skills A wildlife biologist must be able to effectively plan and organize work activities, organize and analyze available information, draw sound conclusions, and write clearly and concisely and in a logical sequence to inform others of their findings. They should also be task-oriented with the ability to prioritize task completion to meet schedules and deadlines. They must be patient and persistent, as much of their work may include observation.
Salary Starting income for a position with the federal government is about $25,000 a year with a bachelor's degree, $32,000 a year with a master's degree, and over $40,000 a year with a Ph.D. In the state government, positions usually range from $22,000 to $29,000 a year. Beginning assistant professors begin at about $40,000 a year. The average income for wildlife biologists is $44,500 a year in the federal government, $40,500 a year for state governments, and $52,000 a year for associate professors. Top earnings are $65,000-$85,000 a year in government and academic teaching.
Work Environment • Work is done both indoors and outdoors. • Since field work must be conducted according to the schedule of the animal and not the scientist, it may be necessary to work odd hours at night or in the early morning • May involve dangerous encounters with wild animals • Field work in this occupation may be done in all climate conditions • Travel is often required • Universities and colleges offering wildlife curriculums hire wildlife professionals with advanced degrees for teaching and research positions
Becoming a Wildlife Biologist To be a wildlife biologist, you need a college education. Since most wildlife resources and conservation problems relate to people, you need courses in English, geography, statistics and economics, as well as in physical and biological sciences. Communication skills, especially speaking skills, must be part of your training. Entry level positions require a Bachelors degree while higher paying jobs in research and teaching at colleges and universities usually require a doctorate degree.
Career Resources Environmental Careers Organization Internet: http://www.eco.org/ National Fish and Wildlife FoundationInternet: http://www.nfwf.org Environmental Protection AgencyInternet: http://www.epa.gov/ Student Conservation AssociationInternet: http://www.theSCA.org/ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Internet: http://www.fws.gov/ Wildlife Society Internet: http://www.wildlife.org/