How To Become A Zoologist


The Job

Zoologists study the behaviour, physiology, classification and distribution of a wide range of animal groups, from the smallest microbes to the largest animals on the planet. To become a zoologist you will need to be interested in animals and also in science as important related subjects include biology, physics, chemistry and statistics.
As a zoologist, you could work in a wide range of areas from animal welfare and education to developing and testing new drugs, conservation work or pest control. Tasks carried out by zoologists could include research in the lab, studying animals in captivity or their natural environment, collecting and analysing information, producing in-depth reports and fundraising.
Zoologists need to love animals and have a good level of scientific knowledge. You should also have good practical and problem-solving skills and be able to work on your own initiative and as part of a team on complex, long-term projects.

Annual Salary

Zoologist Salary

Minimum Education Level

Level: Level - 6

Recommended Qualifications

You will need a degree in a relevant subject (Level 6) to work as a zoologist. For a research post you will need additional postgraduate qualifications, such as a PhD. Subjects you could study include zoology (obviously), animal ecology, conservation or animal behaviour. To be accepted on a degree course, you will normally need a minimum of five GCSEs (grades A-C), and two or three A levels (including biology). Alternative qualifications include Access to Higher Education in Science. It will also help to have volunteered in conservation work or a similar area.

Useful resources:
ZSL Institute of Zoology

Average Working Hours Per Week = 30-40


Common Working Pattern

Common Working Pattern

Time Taken To Qualify

3-4 years

What Next/Career Development

As a qualified zoologist, you could find work with government agencies, charities, universities, museums, wildlife trusts, environmental protection agencies and zoos. With additional training you could go into teaching and research, or specialise in a particular area such as the conservation of an endangered species or the control of pests in agriculture. Associated career opportunities include roles in agriculture, fisheries, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. If you have good communication skills and the ability to engage people in the subject you could move into journalism or even become a TV presenter.

Facts And Figures

The word ‘zoology’ comes from Greek words meaning ‘animal’ and ‘knowledge’.

Only 14% of the world's species have currently been identified - and only 9% of species in the oceans.*

21,286 of the world’s species are thought to be threatened with extinction.**

(*BBC. **Source: International Union for Conservation of Nature)