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Zoology Degrees and Careers

Zoology is an umbrella field of biology studying all types of animals around the world, from flamingos to sea sponges. Every category of animal has its own line of zoological study, such as entomology, marine biology, and mammalogy. Zoology also encompasses different focus areas, such as cellular biology, epidemiology, genetics, and physiology. Finally, zoology includes applied sciences such as animal nutrition and environmental conservation.

While only a 1-2 year degree is required to work in the field, the majority of technical and support positions require a Bachelor’s degree. University and research positions generally require a PHD.

How to Become a Zoologist

Certificate and AA Programs

1-2 year programs focus on hands-on, practical skills in animal care and training. Program admission is highly competitive due to small class sizes. Most low-level zoology programs have college-level prerequisites in math and science. The following programs provide field training under close supervision:

1-2 Year Zoology Programs in the United States

Bachelor’s Degrees and Technikons

The vast majority of zoology work is performed by Bachelor’s degree holders, though Technikons (3-year degrees) are becoming more common. Zoology is an umbrella field encompassing numerous subjects. You may consider a generalized zoology degree or select a specific field of interest. All zoology degrees involve math, physics, chemistry, and biology.

Example Bachelor’s Degrees

  • Animal Nutrition
  • Biology
  • Environmental Conservation
  • Ethology
  • Marine Biology
  • Ornithology
  • Zoology

Example Technikon Degrees

  • Animal Care
  • Museum Skills
  • Oceanography
  • Nature Conservation

PHD in Zoology

A PHD is required to receive research funding, publish in academic journals, and teach zoology at a university. Doctoral coursework is flexible, allowing students to focus their studies on a specific point of interest. For inspiration, explore this database of Zoology theses.

Zoology Careers

Zoologists play a vital role in keeping animals healthy both in the wild and in captivity. Modern study is becoming more vital as environments change and animals are displaced, causing ripple effects in their new environments. The vast field of zoology has people working in nature, in laboratories, in schools, and in zoos around the world.

  • Cellular biologists generally work in a lab, observing functions and responses in a controlled environment.
  • Consultants help businesses provide proper care for animals in captivity and develop safe disposal practices.
  • Epidemiologists have the important job of studying the spread of disease. Controlling and stopping diseases is critical to the health of people and livestock. Most spread of disease in the wild is studied but not interfered with.
  • Taxonomists discover new species and explore how they relate to known types of animals. Samples are collected in the field and brought back to the lab for examination. A lucky few have the chance to explore deep in the jungle and underwater for undiscovered species.
  • Toxicologists provide an important service studying the effects of pesticides, aerosols, and other chemicals on wildlife. This research helps decide which chemicals are permitted and under what conditions.
  • Zookeepers monitor and maintain the physical and emotional health of animals in captivity, providing enrichment activities and training for all types of animals.

 Interested in a career in zoology? Search our list of international job postings related to the field!