What can I do with a major in zoology?

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Examples of where alumni in your major are working

Companies:
Rosamond Gifford Zoo
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

Titles:
Animal Care Assistant
Veterinary Technician
Zookeeper

Search for employers hiring graduates in your major

Employers in NY: 821
Employers in US: 19,827

 

Explore the numerous career fields related to your major

Production and Management

Areas

Livestock Production:

  • Dairy Cattle
  • Beef Cattle
  • Swine
  • Equine 
  • Sheep
  • Goat
  • Poultry 

Livestock Feed:

  • Production 
  • Development 
  • Quality Control 
  • Distribution/Marketing 

Meat and Dairy Foods:

  • Production 
  • Development 
  • Quality Control
  • Distribution/Marketing 

Inspection

Employers

Cow/calf operations
Stocker or grower programs
Feedlots
Grower/finisher operations
Farrowing operations
Farrow to finish operations
Farriers
Broiler production operations
Egg production operations
Wool companies
Breeding firms
Feed companies
Feed processing plants
Meat, poultry, dairy processors
Extension services
Zoos
Inspection services
Federal government including:

  • Department of Agriculture: 
    • Animal and Plant Health Inspection 
    • Service Food Safety and Inspection Service
  • Department of Health and Human Services: 
    • Food and Drug Administration

Information/Strategies

Develop physical stamina, comfort being outdoors and in close proximity with large and small animals, and expect to work irregular hours at times.
Seek work experience in animal production or related animal industry through internships, summer jobs or part-time positions.
Pursue a minor in business if interested in management or self-employment.
Participate in related campus organizations and competition teams such as dairy, poultry and livestock judging and/or academic quadrathalon.
Become familiar with federal job application procedures for government work.

Agribusiness and Communication

Areas

Sales

  • Livestock
  • Feed
  • Pharmaceuticals 
  • Agriculture Chemicals 
  • Livestock Supplies 
  • Equipment: Farm and Feedlot 
  • Agriculture Real Estate 

Customer Service
Management
Promotion/Marketing
Public Relations
Agricultural Journalism

Employers

Agribusinesses: livestock and feed
Pharmaceutical companies
Equipment and supply companies
Food and meat processing companies
Food distributors
Animal health companies
Breed organizations
Financial institutions
Livestock publications
Professional associations, i.e. National Cattlemen's Beef Association

Information/Strategies

Obtain a part-time job or internship in sales to gain experience, as these positions are often stepping stones to higher-level positions.
Consider earning a business minor to obtain knowledge of fundamental business principles.
Develop excellent communication, organization and problem solving skills along with initiative.
Take additional courses in interpersonal communication, public speaking and journalism, if relevant.
Prepare to work independently during irregular and/ or long hours.
Learn to work well under pressure and to be comfortable in a competitive environment.
Demonstrate motivation to reach sales quotas while maintaining a commitment to customer satisfaction.
Seek extensive knowledge of merchandise for sale.
Join related student organizations and competition teams and seek leadership roles.

Education

Areas

Teaching
Agriculture Literacy
Non-classroom Education, i.e. Adult Agricultural Education, Young Farmer Programs
Extension


Employers

Schools (secondary and post-secondary) 
Extension services
Agricultural agencies 
Agricultural communications and media firms 
Agribusinesses 
Government agencies

Information/Strategies

Develop excellent communication skills including verbal, written and interpersonal.
Obtain teacher certification, which varies by state, for public school opportunities.
Secure a master’s degree for teaching at community or two-year institutions; a doctoral degree is necessary for college and university teaching.
Gain related experience through volunteer positions, summer jobs or internships with age group of interest.
Seek leadership roles in student organizations.
Be prepared to live in rural communities for extension positions.

Veterinary Medicine

Areas

Areas of Specialization:

Small Animal Care 
Large Animal Care 
Equine Medicine 
Food Safety, Inspection, Security 
Preventative Medicine 
Surgery
Public Health
Laboratory Animal Medicine
Research

Employers

Group or private practice
Federal government including:

  • Department of Agriculture: 
    • Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service 
    • Food Safety and Inspection Service
  • Department of Health and Human Services: 
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    • National Institutes of Health

State and local government
Colleges of veterinarian medicine
Medical schools
Research laboratories
Animal food companies
Inspection services
Pharmaceutical companies
Zoos
Wildlife sanctuaries

Information/Strategies

Research veterinary programs, take pre-vet courses to meet veterinary school requirements and prepare for application process.
Maintain an excellent grade point average, particularly in the sciences, and build relationships with faculty. Strong recommendations from professors are needed for professional school.
Pursue extensive laboratory and research experience for research positions.
Gain experience in animal health settings, zoos, wildlife sanctuaries, etc. through volunteer positions, part-time jobs or summer work. Consider working as a veterinary technician. Develop physical stamina, confidence working with both small and large animals and in various weather conditions.
Plan to work evenings, weekends or on-call for some positions.
Exercise close attention to detail and the ability to respond effectively in emergency situations.
Practice strong interpersonal skills for dealing with animal owners who may be upset.
Consider taking courses in business and communications or pursuing joint MBA/DVM programs, as self-employed veterinarians must effectively promote and manage their own businesses.
Seek active roles in pre-vet and other related clubs.

Bioscience (biotechnology-driven fields)

Areas

Research
Biomedical Animal Models
Product and Process Development
Animal Genetic Engineering
Genetics and Animal Breeding
Animal Nutrition, Health, Disease Control
Food Science

Employers

Government laboratories
Corporate laboratories
Colleges and universities
Livestock producers
Breeding firms
Pharmaceutical companies
Animal health companies
Zoos
Wildlife sanctuaries

Information/Strategies

Advanced degrees are often required for these positions. Discuss graduate school options with your adviser on a regular basis; prepare material for application process.
Pursue extensive laboratory and research experience by working in faculty laboratories through special problems courses, as a student employee or through other departmental programs.
Develop strong attention to detail, analytical skills and the ability to persevere through specialized research projects.
Supplement curriculum with additional science courses in relevant areas (genetics, animal behavior, microbiology).
Seek experience in area of interest through internships, co-ops or summer or part-time work.
Plan to work outdoors and closely with small and large animals for some positions.
Research post-graduate certification options through the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS).
Learn federal job application procedures.

Animal Care and Science

Areas

Behavior/Training
Caretaking
Grooming
Breeding
Animal Assisted Therapy 

Employers

Self-employed
Shelters
Kennels
Boarding facilities
Training facilities
Grooming facilities
Rescue organizations
Humane societies
City/county animal control organizations
Breed organizations
Veterinary practices
Stables
Zoos
Research facilities

Information/Strategies

Most people employed in the companion animal industry learn through on the job training.
Seek volunteer or paid positions in community facilities, i.e. grooming, rescue, boarding.
Consider training and certifications through organizations such as International Boarding and Pet Services Association and National Dog Groomer’s Association of America, Inc.
Expect to work evenings, weekends, holidays and for shifts of 24 hours at a time.
Develop physical stamina, patience and problem-solving skills, particularly for training roles.
Animal assisted therapy opportunities are typically volunteer. Seek trainer/pet handling courses through organizations such as Delta Society.
Research post-graduate certification via the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science (AALAS) for laboratory animal care positions.

General information and strategies

  • As an undergraduate, seek laboratory experiences such as research projects, volunteering with professors, summer jobs or internships.
  • Participate in research programs and internships sponsored by government organizations and private corporations.
  • Consider a veterinary technician or technologist program accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) or a specialized master’s program to qualify for research technician positions.
  • Earn a master’s degree for greater variety and autonomy on the job. Earn a Ph.D. to work on high-level research projects, to direct research programs, to enter high levels of administration, and to teach at four-year post-secondary institutions. Postdoctoral fellowships may also be required.
  • Learn to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Combine an undergraduate degree with a degree in law, business, education, communication and information science, or other discipline to expand career opportunities.
  • Consider earning an MBA after gaining work experience to reach the highest levels of agribusiness management.
  • The animal sciences are good preparation for a career in healthcare such as medicine, dentistry, pharmacology, and veterinary science, but professional degrees and licenses are also necessary to practice in these fields. Become familiar with the specific entrance exam for graduate or professional schools in your area of interest.
  • Join professional associations and community organizations and read related journals to stay abreast of current issues in the field and to develop networking contacts.
  • Actively participate in student organizations, competition teams and other related activities.
  • Secure strong relationships and personal recommendations from professors and/or employers.
  • Learn federal, state and local government job application processes. The federal government is the largest employer of scientists.
  • Gain experience with grant writing and fundraising techniques. Often research must be funded in this manner.