Zoologist

wildlife expert naturalist natural historian biologist ecologist herpetologist entomologist parasitologist paleozoologist ornithologist

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would study animals, their habits and the places they live.

You could use your skills to:

  • Develop medicines
  • Improve the quality of crops and farm animals
  • Control diseases and pests
  • Protect wild animals and their homes
  • Support animal rights
  • Write policies for charities or the government

You would:

  • Study animals in the wild or in a zoo or laboratory
  • Collect, record and study information
  • Use manual and computerised methods to look at cells, fertilise eggs and more
  • Write technical reports
  • Give presentations and publish information in journals and books
  • Manage assistants

You could become an expert in one area, for example reptiles, insects, fossils, or the environment.

Working conditions

Hours

In industry, research and higher education you would usually work regular hours from Monday to Friday. As a field researcher you would work variable hours. For example you would need to work at night if you are studying nocturnal animals. If you work in conservation you may have to work evenings, weekends and public holidays, for example to attend evening meetings, supervise volunteers or host public open days.

Environment

You could work indoors in a lab or office, or outdoors researching the behaviour of animals in the wild.

Travel

Some research posts and jobs may require living overseas for periods of time.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Attention to detail
  • Understanding
  • Analysing
  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Cooperating
  • Researching
  • Observation
  • Working with numbers

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Qualifications

You would need a degree (SCQF level 9/10) in a subject such as:

  • Zoology
  • Animal ecology
  • Animal behaviour
  • Conservation

Many people who do this job also have postgraduate qualifications such as a Master of Science (MSc) (SCQF level 11) or a doctoral degree (SCQF level 12) in relevant subjects.

Most undergraduate courses ask for at least four Highers at B or above (SCQF level 6). Some universities may require AABB (first sitting) for entry.

The University of Dundee offers a BSc Life Sciences course which only requires two Highers at B including Biology or Chemistry and one other subject; this course has been developed for those with high academic potential who experienced disadvantage.  

Useful subjects

Most courses require two subjects from:

  • Biology
  • Maths
  • Chemistry
  • Physics 

Other science and technologies subjects may also be of value.

Helpful to have

You will normally have to get some voluntary experience before getting any work in this area, possibly volunteering on field survey trips or working in a research lab.