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Ecologist: Job Description, Info, & Job Openings

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A career as an ecologist is a great way to help promote sustainability and biodiversity among the public.

Ecologists play a vital role in educating the public about the natural world, and may work in zoos, museums, or colleges.

Ecology is not an easy field to get into.

Ecologists must fulfill several requirements before employers will consider them for a position.

To learn more about these requirements, read on!

Ecologist: The Basics

A career as an Ecologist can be rewarding for people who are suited for it.

As an ecologist, you will study the mechanisms of the natural world and help spread scientific knowledge.

However, there are some things to know before you get into the field!

What is an Ecologist?

An ecologist is somebody who studies the relationship between animals and their environments.

What is an Ecologist Called?

Ecologists are often also known as naturalists, conservationists, environmentalists, or even just scientists!

Ecologists may also be known as “biologists,” as ecology is a sunset field of biology.

What Does an Ecologist Do?

The work ecologists do vary wildly from person to person.

Some ecologists work in a lab to study animals in a controlled environment, while others operate in the field and observe their subjects in the natural world.

As a whole, ecologists work tirelessly to better understand the links between nature and teach others about its importance.

Work Opportunities in the Ecologist Industry

Ecology is a constantly-growing field, even as scientists continue to learn more about the world around them.

With each discovery of a new organism, living or extinct, an ecologist has more work to do.

This ever-growing desire to understand the world means that ecologists are always in demand, with positions available in private, public, and educational contexts.

Ecologist Job Description

Ecologists will use an outdoor or laboratory environment to study the relationships between organisms and their habitats, whether natural or invasive.

Ecologists need to be familiar with the natural behavior and habitat of many different species of animal and have a great amount of patience.

Top Ecology Jobs and Careers

  • Zookeeper
  • Paleontologist
  • Environmental engineer
  • Wildlife biologist
  • Marine biologist
  • Forester
  • Restoration ecologist
  • Ecology consultant

The skill set of an ecologist allows them to thrive in many different fields.

As sustainability becomes more and more fashionable, ecologists gain more job opportunities!

Where Can an Ecologist Work?

Ecologists are welcome in many fields, whether they are based on nature and conservation or not!

  • Zoological facilities
  • Laboratories and research stations
  • Wildlife reserves
  • Nature parks
  • Government parks departments
  • Any natural environment
  • Museums
  • Green-minded companies
  • Colleges and other educational facilities

Ecologists benefit from a growing tendency toward environmentally-friendly behaviors that put them in a great position to enter the corporate world.

Additionally, ecologists can easily enter any field that is already geared towards conservation!

What It’s Like to be an Ecologist

Ecology is an unforgiving position- while working with nature and animals seems fun, it can mean long, stressful hours and low pay.

With that being said, many ecologists report that they love their job.

Despite all of the shortcomings, ecology has one of the highest job satisfaction ratings!

Is Being an Ecologist Hard?

While being an ecologist may not be as demanding as being a firefighter or stuntman, it is certainly no walk in the park- though that might be in the job description!

Ecology is an arduous, stressful, and tiring field, and when yielding a lack of results, it can make ecology seem even more challenging and unrewarding.

Is an Ecologist’s Job Stressful?

Ecology can be an extremely stressful position, especially for newcomers.

The long hours, low pay, and potential lack of results can stress a young ecologist.

Common Ecologist Work Day

For many ecologists, their workday consists of clocking in at the zoo or aquarium during the early hours, taking care of the animals all day, and clocking out late at night.

For ecologists in academic fields, they may show up at the laboratory or research center when necessary.

Their day-to-day activities could consist entirely of research or meetings, depending on the day.

Ecologists who work in the field may have a work day that consists of attempting to track down a specific species of antelope or one that consists of watching tigers stalk and hunt their prey.

As ecologists work with nature and animals, the exact schedule of their day-to-day life can be hard to pin down.

Nature does not follow any schedule beyond day and night, and ecologists need to be able to adapt to that.

Ecologist Tasks & Duties

The tasks of an ecologist are directly related to their main duty of promoting conservation and biodiversity.

  • Capturing and tagging wild animals
  • Studying population sizes
  • Research impact of construction on certain environments
  • Build models that reflect their data
  • Apply for grants and funding
  • Educating others on the environment
  • Survey plants and animals

Ecologists in the government or in private industry may also advise their superiors on actions that help promote sustainability.

Ecologist Work Hours & Schedule

While ecologists tend to have a flexible schedule, long days are expected; some ecologists report working 60-65 hours per week.

For ecologists in the field, these long days may extend into nights when studying nocturnal animals.

Ecologists working in a laboratory setting may experience a more traditional 9-5 schedule.

Plasterer Dress Code

Ecologists may experience different dress codes depending on their work environment.

Ecologists who work in an office, a zoological facility, or a museum will often wear a uniform.

In a zoological facility, this could mean khaki shorts and a polo shirt.

Ecologists in a laboratory setting will need to wear a lab coat and the proper personal protective equipment, including goggles, gloves, and potentially a respirator or mask.

Does This Career Field Embrace Work/Life Balance?

With the long hours of ecology and occasional long-distance trips to study their subjects, ecology is not a great option for work/life balance.

In many cases, ecologists will claim that their work and their life are indistinguishable.

Ecology is a field where you have to really love what you do.

Ecologist Salary & Income

Do Ecologists Make Good Money?

Depending on how long they have been in the field, ecologists can make good money; ecologists with the most experience in high positions can make six figures per year.

However, the vast majority of ecologists do not make this much.

When you are starting out as an ecologist, your income is yet another stressor to worry about.

How Much Do Ecologists Make?

While experienced and high-ranking ecologists could make $110,000 per year, the starting salary could be as low as $28,000 per year.

In terms of an hourly wage, field ecologists average out at $23 per hour while ecologists in general average at 32.

While your initial wages may be concerning, you might be happy to know that they are not permanent.

Overview of the Ecologist Industry

Ecology Field: Career Progression

In the setting of a zoological facility or research center, ecologists have plenty of room for progression.

While you will start out at the bottom, skill and dedication can get you promoted into a higher-ranking position.

In a zoological facility, this higher-ranking position could be lead keeper of your department or head curator, while a research center could grant you the position of head researcher.

Field ecology does not offer much room for growth, as most researchers work independently or as distant employees of a research center.

However, ecology as a whole has great mobility, and any skilled ecologist can easily swap between any form of ecology that they desire.

Is Ecology a Good Career?

Ecology is not a good career for the layperson.

It is stressful, arduous, and often low-paying with very few results to show for it.

However, if you have a passion for the natural world and a desire to work outdoors or with animals, ecology could be an excellent career option for you.

While the field of ecology has its drawbacks, many ecologists report being happy with their careers, even regarding salary.

Ecologist Job Outlook

The job outlook for ecologists is not fantastic, but not terrible.

Experts estimate that ecology will experience an 8% rise in job opportunities between 2020 and 2030, aligning them with most other industries.

Demand for Plasterers

While the demand for ecologists in corporate spaces has risen due to the rise of sustainability, demand in the field remains about the same as it always has been.

There is no major demand for ecologists, but the field is also not overpopulated; its demand is about average.

Ecologist Facts

Ecology differs from zoology in that zoology specifically studies animals, while ecology concerns itself with the relationship between an animal and its environment.

This study of relationships has many practical uses.

By finding which environments are hostile to microorganisms, ecologists can help reduce the spread of serious illnesses.

Jobs Related to Ecologists

Related jobs include:

  • Zookeeper
  • Natural Resource Manager
  • Agricultural Scientist

Requirements, Skills, and Education Required for Ecologists

The field of ecology requires many skills that you will need to succeed.

Here are some of the most important things you will need to know:

Who Should Consider an Ecologist Career Path?

Ecology is not a career path for everybody.

Only people who have a love of nature and learning should consider a career as ecologists.

Potential ecologists also need to handle stress well and be able to work long hours, and must properly conduct themselves around wild animals.

Who Should NOT Consider an Ecologist Career Path?

To put it frankly, most people should not consider a career as an ecologist.

Anybody who wishes to make lots of money would not fit as an ecologist, nor would anybody who dislikes animals.

People who want to work a simple 9-5 schedule should not consider a career as an ecologist, either.

Is It Hard to Become an Ecologist?

The hardest part of becoming an ecologist is getting a degree.

Once you have a degree, it can be very easy to get into the field- you have to simply apply for the right positions.

What Do I Need to Become an Ecologist?

Requirements for Becoming an Ecologist

Aside from a degree, ecologists require a love of nature and a great sense of patience.

For most academic fields, such as laboratory and field settings, ecologists will spend much of their time watching plants and animals laze around and do nothing.

Ecologists also must be able to healthily work through stress and happily work long hours.

What Skills Does an Ecologist Need?

The ability to read the metric system is crucial for any scientific field, and ecology is no exception.

Ecologists also will need to handle animals in a way that will not stress or injure them, so animal husbandry is a very important skill for ecologists.

What Education Does an Ecologist Need?

Ecologists require a bachelor’s degree at the bare minimum.

However, higher degrees- such as master’s and a doctorate- will give you a leg up, due to ecology’s status as a scientific field.

Can You Become an Ecologist Without a Degree?

No, you cannot become an ecologist without a degree.

Except for the rarest occasions, all ecologist jobs will require you to have a bachelor’s degree.

What Experience Does a Plasterer Need?

Ecologist jobs often require at least two years of experience in a related field, such as at a park or in a zoological facility.

Ecologist Education & Schooling

What is Taught in an Ecologist Course?

Ecologist courses often contain classes relating to both animals and plants.

Animal husbandry classes may be given in these classes, as well.

Ultimately, ecologist courses teach skills such as plant and animal identification, animal care, and other vital aspects of scientific work.

How Long Does an Ecologist Course Take?

A bachelor’s degree in ecology will often take a full four years, depending on your pacing in college.

Similarly, a master’s degree in a related field could take six years, and a doctorate in a related field could take eight years.

Ecologist Education Options and Degree Programs

Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree is the bare minimum required to work as an ecologist.

An average bachelor’s degree program will include courses in zoology, botany, mathematics, and potentially agriculture.

Master’s Degree

A master’s degree is preferred for ecologist jobs, though a doctorate could get you hired in any position.

A master’s degree in ecology will often focus on organism distribution, ecosystem development, and biodiversity.

Schools for Ecologists

Organizations that offer plasterer apprenticeship programs include:

  • Colorado State University
  • University of Michigan
  • Stanford University

Become an Ecologist

Steps to Become an Ecologist

If you want to become an ecologist, the first and most vital step is to get your bachelor’s degree.

This degree will be no easy feat, but it is necessary to get your foot in the door.

If you wish to pursue further education, it is heavily encouraged.

If not, you are free to apply to any facility you like- zoos, museums, and aquariums are often great starts for newcomer ecologists.

Current Career Job Openings

Currently, ecologists often operate in areas with unique habitats or significant biodiversity.

If you wish to get into the academic side of biodiversity, locations such as Colorado, Florida, California, and Costa Rica are great options for potential researchers!

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is a famous ecologist?

Steve Irwin, also known as the Crocodile Hunter after his TV show, is one of the most famous ecologists ever.

Irwin was a lifelong conservationist and is known to have stressed the importance of biodiversity and the natural world on his titular hit TV show.

Where do most ecologists live?

Ecologists will often live where they work- at least for a time.

Ecologists studying in Costa Rica may live in Costa Rica!

However, many ecologists take up residence in California for its plethora of unique habitats and incredible biodiversity.

Wrapping Up

Ultimately, if you want to become an ecologist, there are a few things you need to remember.

Ecology is a stressful field, but it can be rewarding if you put in the time and effort to succeed.

You will need a bachelor’s degree at the very least!

You will need to be patient and have keen attention to detail to get far as an ecologist, and you will need to have a passion for nature.

If all of this seems like it applies to you, ecology may be your calling!

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