Zoologists study animals and their behaviour.

What does a zoologist do?

Zoologists conduct field and laboratory research, gathering information about animals in their natural habitat or in captivity. They help to identify, record and monitor animal species, before producing detailed technical reports. 

Zoologists work in a wide range of areas, including:

  • improving agricultural crops and livestock
  • disease and pest control
  • conserving endangered habitats and species
  • animal welfare and education
  • developing policies and enforcing regulations for government agencies

Zoologists would usually have a specialism, for example ecology (animal environments), herpetology (reptiles), entomology (insects), parasitology (parasites) or paleozoology (fossil remains).

Tasks vary depending on the particular job, but could include:

  • carrying out field and laboratory research
  • studying animals in their natural environment or in captivity
  • identifying, recording and monitoring animal species
  • gathering information and interpreting it
  • using complex procedures, such as computerised molecular and cellular analysis, and in-vitro fertilisation
  • producing detailed technical reports
  • giving presentations and publishing information in journals and books
  • supervising technicians

What do I need to do to become a zoologist?

To become a zoologist, you will need to be able to carry out detailed work in an accurate and organised way. You will need patience and the ability to concentrate for long periods. You’ll also need strong communication and IT skills.

Related skills

  • Analytics
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • IT
  • Patience
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork

Academic route

  • Five GCSEs (grades A-C)
  • Three A levels (preferably including biology)

Related subjects

  • Biology

Desirable qualifications

  • A degree in a subject such as zoology, animal ecology, animal behaviour or conservation

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

You might work at a government research institution, museum, zoo, wildlife trust, or environmental protection agency, among others. You may also find work as a consultant within agriculture, fisheries, or biotechnology, for example.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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