10 Career Options for Zoology Degree Holders in the U.S.

10 Career Options for Zoology Degree Holders in the U.S.

Your love for animals probably encouraged you to pursue a zoology degree. But, after having studied it, you would’ve realized there are a lot fewer cuddly animals in the course of your study.

A zoology degree, like any other STEM major, is not for the weak-willed. You will have challenging subjects, but there is a silver lining; you finally get to interact with the animals you joined the course for.

Not all, but most career options have you working in close association with animals. Here are the 10 best career options for a zoology degree holder.


Has this been a dream job for you ever since you visited the zoo as a child? Zookeepers get to work closely with animals, supervising their health, care, and comfort.

As you start out, all you may be asked to do is to clean the enclosure and feed the animals. But, as you get used to the routine of the zoo you work in, you will take on more animal-care duties.

You will need to keep track of the animal’s behavior and deduce any illnesses based on behavior changes. Deciding and administering special diets will also be part of your responsibility.

Most often, you will be allocated to a specific species or species group. Your specialization in the degree will decide this.

You cannot be a zookeeper without having respect and passion for animals. 

Average annual salary: $32,453


This job is very similar to that of a zookeeper, except your place of work will be at an aquarium. You will be in charge of monitoring and maintaining the water quality and temperature.

Deep knowledge about the animals is required since you will be asked to give informational tours to the visitors. Beyond this, you will be expected to clean the tanks, feed the animals, and look after their health.

Since it is an aquarium, there will be less physical handling of the animals than a zookeeper is required to do, but you will need to know how to handle them to assist with veterinary procedures.

Average annual salary: $31,823

Marine Biologist

This is a job for someone who is more interested in the research side of things. A common assumption is that marine biologists spend most of their time out at sea, studying animals in their natural environment.

However, that’s not all that there is to the job.

You may study aquatic organisms in natural or controlled environments. Recording your findings is a major part of this job.

The type of work you do depends on the sector you work in – private, research, or academia.

Average annual salary: $41,780

Environmental Scientist

Keen observation and data collection skills are vital to be a successful environmental scientist.

One part of your job will be to study the effects of external influences on the environment. This includes things like human activities and foreign species introduction. You will collect samples, conduct tests, and report your findings.

Average annual salary: $62,872

Scientific Technical Writer

If you have a knack for writing, then this is a good career option for you.

A technical writer is expected to be an expert on the subject they’re writing about. Since your specialization will be zoology, you will be asked to formulate reports and documents that adhere to certain scientific formats.

Educational writing is another format you can work in. Creating materials for textbooks and notes for educational websites is a part of this job.

Average annual salary: $58,080

Animal Trainer

As cute and cuddly as it may be, animal training is a grueling job. You need to build a bond and trust with the animal, which doesn’t come easily.

Animal trainers are employed in many organizations. These include zoos, aquariums, animal shelters, and rescues. Depending on your specialization, you can work with a variety of animals like horses, dogs, and birds.

Training service and security dogs is another line of work in this career path. You need to have high levels of patience to get into this career.

Average annual salary: $37,500

Veterinary Technician

As a veterinary technician, you will assist vets to perform procedures on the furry patients. You will also collect samples and perform tests to help in diagnosing the animals.

You will need to know how to perform medical procedures, like drawing blood or administering an injection. If it is a boarding clinic, you will also be responsible for the upkeep of the enclosures and the safety of the animals while they’re there.

To become a veterinary technician, you will need a certification besides your zoology degree.

Average annual salary: $30,244

Wildlife Biologist

A wildlife biologist’s main job is to observe animals in their natural habitat. For this, you need to have infinite patience.

You should also have a good understanding of the species you’re studying. This includes feeding, sleeping, and migration patterns. You should also be able to identify and handle any aggression the animal may show.

After your observation, you should be able to present detailed reports on the species, and come up with conservation efforts for them. Most often, you will be asked to study a single species or a group of organisms living in a single environment.

Average annual salary:$69,181

Wildlife Rehabilitator

Intrusion into wildlife habitats is greater than ever. With this comes unpleasant human-animal interaction, which usually ends badly for the animals.

Animals that are found badly hurt are usually taken into rescue facilities. As a wildlife rehabilitator with a zoology degree, you will be responsible for examining and providing medical care for these animals.

The primary goal of a wildlife rehabilitator should be to return the animal to its natural environment. For this, both physical care and therapy are required for the animal.

You must have the training and a valid license to work as an on-field wildlife rehabilitator.

The type of animals you deal with will vary depending on your geographical location, but having well-rounded knowledge about various species will improve your employment opportunities.

Average annual salary: $47,716

Animal Nutritionist

Every living being needs access to a balanced diet for a healthy life. In the wild, an animal can get what it needs by itself. But, once brought into human care, it is our responsibility to give them what they need.

As an animal nutritionist, it is your job to ensure that the animals under your care get the food they need. An injured animal will need different food from a healthy one, and an older animal might need to be fed differently. Ensuring that all this happens properly is your job.

Animal nutritionists are usually employed by zoos, aquariums, or any other place an animal is held in captivity.

Physical examinations aren’t often required, but you may need to occasionally feel the animals for fat and bone assessment.

Average annual salary: $75,023

The salary might not seem extravagant for many of these career options, but if working with animals is where your passion lies, then these are all good options for you.

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