A career in the wildlife field is definitely not for everyone. People who are considering this career should really love wildlife and the outdoors, and has the physical capability to live rough. Those who dream of cushy jobs behind a desk in air-conditioned offices better look elsewhere.
Understanding the Wildlife Management Degree
A Wildlife Management degree opens the door to many job opportunities related to the protection and conservation of wildlife and the environment. Most job opportunities are with government agencies and involve regulation enforcement, research and managing wildlife populations. Another major source of employment is the various foundations set up for the protection of wildlife of almost every type. There are also companies who work in the land, like logging and mining companies who need environmental impact data and their effects on wildlife.
Some of the wildlife management careers available may require additional specialized training, so any person aspiring for such careers should really be determined. One of the benefits of wildlife protection is having a ‘green’ job as opposed to one in mining, for example, which are usually maligned for allegedly being destructive to the environment.
Actually the term ‘wildlife management degree’ covers a number of formal college courses that lead to careers in wildlife conservation. One of these is the Wildlife Biology degree offered by Humboldt State University, which teaches students all they need to help preserve wild animal species, improve and maintain their habitats, and intervene whenever wildlife problems occur.
A wildlife management degree can help you land the following exciting jobs in the great outdoors:
1. Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists
The job involves studying and working with wild animals and their habitats. Zoologists and wildlife biologists do the whole spectrum of research functions with regard to animals and their habitats. They collect samples, gather, analyze, and interpret data, and study animal behavior. Their work impacts regulations to control hunting and fishing quotas, land use and development at or near established wildlife habitats, and pollution control laws for industrial companies.
Requirements for the job include at least a 3-5 year bachelor’s degree; spending 1-2 more years for a master’s degree or another 4-5 years for a doctorate degree increases chances of landing the choicest positions. Mean salary is estimated at @ $62,000.
2. Wildlife Manager
A Wildlife Manager maintains wild animal populations at optimal levels. They take steps to control the habitat to ensure a healthy population of wild animals. Their duties also include regulating the number of animals hunted, ensuring adequate food supply, and controlling nuisance animals (think of bears encroaching on nearby human settlements). Wildlife managers are also sometimes asked to collect data on wildlife, and prepare research to help in the formulation of conservation policies. A bachelor’s degree in a wildlife or biology field is the minimum requirement. Postgraduate (master’s or doctorate) degrees are a plus. Salary is within the range of $30,500-$49,500 annually.
3. Fish and Game Warden
This is mostly a law enforcement position in a wild environment. As such, a high level of physical fitness is required as wardens spend a lot of time patrolling wildlife areas, which may sometimes be accessible only by foot or horse. Routine duties will involve protection and preservation of wildlife and habitats by patrolling protected areas, serving warrants, arresting the odd poacher or two, monitoring habitat conditions, confiscating illegal equipment and catching problem animals. As long as there are parks and wildlife areas, there will always be a need for game wardens. The average salary for Fish and Game Wardens was around $56,000 in 2011.
4. Wildlife Technician
Wildlife Technicians assist in the management of wildlife and the maintenance of their habitats. They usually work under the direction of wildlife biologists. They collect samples, maintain and calibrate scientific equipment and collect a lot of different forms of data. Some days they may be asked to capture, tag and release animals being monitored for studies. They also assist in the maintenance and improvement of habitats, and caring for sick animals. Again, most Wildlife Technician jobs require a bachelor’s degree as a minimum, with master’s and doctorate degrees as desirable. Entry level salaries are estimated at $45,000.
A Wildlife Management degree can lead you to several exciting outdoor jobs. But it takes a genuine love for the outdoors and animals, as well as, a high level of physical fitness for you to really excel in this field.
If you have what it takes, then go get it.