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Animal

Zoologist

Zoologists study animals and their behaviour.

Annual Salary

£18,000 to £48,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

38 to 40 variable

You could work: evenings / weekends / bank holidays; attending events or appointments

Day to day tasks

You could work in sectors like agriculture, conservation, pharmaceuticals or for the Government and you'll usually specialise in an area like:

  • ecology - animal environments
  • herpetology - reptiles
  • entomology - insects
  • ornithology - birds
  • parasitology - parasites
  • paleozoology - fossil remains

Your day-to-day tasks will vary depending on your role, sector and specialism. You could:

  • carry out field and laboratory research
  • study animals in their natural environment or in captivity
  • identify, record and monitor animal species
  • gather and interpret information
  • use complex procedures, like computerised molecular and cellular analysis, and in-vitro fertilisation
  • produce detailed technical reports
  • give presentations and publish information in journals and books
  • supervise technicians

Working environment

You could work in a laboratory or at a research facility.

Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and you'll travel often.

You can get into this job by doing:

  • a university course
University

You could study for a degree in a subject like:

  • zoology
  • animal ecology
  • animal behaviour
  • conservation
  • marine biology
  • environmental biology

You'll need a relevant postgraduate qualification like a master's degree or PhD for some jobs, particularly in research.

Some degree courses offer a placement year where you can gain relevant experience in areas like conservation.

Doing an internship during the summer of your second or last but one year at university can also help you gain useful knowledge and skills. Your university careers department may have links with wildlife or conservation organisations in the UK or overseas.

You can also look for opportunities on websites like:Conservation Jobs

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, including biology for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information
Volunteering and work experience

Volunteering in conservation work is a good way to strengthen your application for university courses.

Many opportunities will go unadvertised, so you may need to contact organisations direct.

You can also use sites like:

More information

Further information

You can find more details about careers and training in zoology from the Institute of Zoology or from other specialist organisations, depending on your interest:

British Ornithologists' Union

British Herpetological Society

British Ecological Society

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With experience, you could move into other jobs like management, marketing, sales, scientific journalism or consultancy.

You could also work and study overseas.

You can find more details about careers and training in zoology from the Institute of Zoology.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of biology
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • science skills
  • the ability to read English
  • maths knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent written communication skills
  • concentration skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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