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Careers in zoology are extremely varied and unique, and can provide incredible learning and work opportunities for anyone dedicated to animal studies and welfare. Zoology, or the study of animals, is a wide field with many specialties, including research, conservation, veterinary medicine, and the care of captive or domestic animals. For people with a love of animals and some training, careers in zoology may truly be dreams come true.
Some careers in zoology focus on research and scientific studies. These careers may allow those with a good theoretical science background to develop and run studies that improve human understanding of the animal world. Research in zoology can help create safer and more effective products for animals, such as pet foods or humane traps, or can teach humans more about animal behavior in order to aid in conservation, breeding programs, and habitat preservation. Many animal researchers have a background in clinical biology as well as zoology.
Careers in zoology that focus on conservation place a premium on the continued survival and increased protection of animal species. Conservationists may work with political groups or governments to help develop legislation to protect and preserve animals, or may work in the field gathering information on potential threats to the health of global ecosystems. Some conservationists work in educational fields, trying to improve human efforts to save animals from extinction by educating the public as to their value and importance. For those passionate about animal rights and ecology, conservation-based careers in zoology may be the right fit.
Animals are subject to illness and injury, and some careers in zoology help to create a safe, stable animal population. Veterinary medicine is an important specialty field, and may take several years of intensive training to qualify as a certified veterinarian. While many veterinarians focus on the small-animal practice of domestic pets, vets in rural areas often work with large farm animals, while more adventurous veterinarians may work with exotic species in zoos and wildlife preserves.
Humans love to observe animals, and modern-day zoos and wildlife preserves help satiate that interest while providing facilities to assist with conservation programs and educate the public about animals. Zoology careers in zoos can range from overseeing breeding programs, to creating the proper diet for an okapi, to cleaning the tiger's cage. Though advanced positions often require college degrees in zoology or biology, many volunteer and entry-level jobs are available for people that love animals and want to learn firsthand about the care and maintenance of exotic creatures.