How to Become a Zoologist

Zoologist careers are interesting, rewarding and demanding. In order to follow this career path, you need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in zoology from an accredited university. Find out everything you need to know about zoology…

Education and training

Entry requirements for zoology courses vary according to the university, however the basic minimum requirements are as follows:

  1. 5 GCSE (grades A–C)
  2. 3 A levels (including biology)
  3. Volunteering or any form of related work experience (although not a prerequisite) will work in your favor when applying to university.

All entries to UK universities for zoology courses are done through UCAS. You should also note that most zoology courses are 4 years, although additional courses can be taken which may extend your study period.

If you want to progress into a career as a researcher, you will likely need to obtain a master’s degree of PhD so be sure to research the exact requirements for the area of zoology you want to work in.


It is advised that, upon graduation, you aim to become a member of a professional organisation such as the Institute of Zoology (IoZ) and the Society of Biology. Memberships with these organisations can help you to build up your professional network and enhance your career opportunities.

Choose your specialism

As a zoologist, you will typically enter the field by specialising in one particular are:

  • Ecology
  • Herpetology
  • Entomology
  • parasitology

What you can expect as a zoologist

Depending on you specialisation, you can work in the following areas:

  • Disease and pest control
  • Conserving endangered species
  • Animal welfare
  • Developing and testing new drugs
  • Improving agricultural livestock and crops
  • Developing policies and enforcing regulation for government agencies

Typical duties include:

  • Studying animals (often in their natural environment)
  • Gathering information and carrying out field and laboratory research
  • Identifying and recording animal species
  • Carrying out complex procedures including in-vitro fertilization
  • Writing up technical reports


In the UK, the average starting salaries for zoologists are between £21,000 and £25,000 per year. Researchers can make between £25,000 and £30,000 per year while senior researchers and teachers can make in the region of £45,000.

Required skills and characteristics

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You will need to obtain these skills to succeed as a zoologist:

  • An interest in animals and the environment
  • An aptitude for science, particularly biology and chemistry
  • Ability to carry out detailed work accurately and methodically
  • Strong communication and it skills
  • Ability to plan research, analyse and interpret data, and write reports
  • Ability to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team
  • Problem-solving skills

If you love animals and don't mind risking your life rough housing with lion or two then this could be your calling.