Wildlife Biologist!

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Wildlife Biologist!

Postby panther5 » Mon May 05, 2008 4:31 pm

If anyone on here is a wildlife biologists...how long did it take you to get your degree? Also, what kind of courses were involved in the process?
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Postby Braidwood Hunter » Mon May 05, 2008 4:56 pm

I'm in the process right now... going to be a Jr. at Southern Illinois next year. The biologists and professors that I've talked to said that I pretty much need to go to Grad school for a decent job. So that's what I'm doing... finishing up my Bachelors, then getting an internship for a year, and then going back to get my masters. Altogether, about 6 or 7 years for everything...

One more thing, be ready for a lot of chemistry, some physics, and math too...
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Postby panther5 » Mon May 05, 2008 8:22 pm

thanks buddy!
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Postby greenster » Thu May 08, 2008 10:14 pm

You going to need at least a masters... As far as wildlife biology, Only 1 chemistry class for me, and college algebra...


Wildlife biology is the study of wildlife, their environment and implementary techniques to preserve them. Someone who does this job is called a wildlife biologist. There are many reasons why one may choose to pursue this profession. Some of those reasons may be but are not limited to, the nature of the work, pay rate, job duties, education, and history of the career. Wildlife biology is indeed a complex and demanding career and only for those who wish to excel.
Wildlife biology all started in the late 1930’s, 1937 to be exact. A group of volunteers, whom called themselves Ducks Unlimited, are credited with creating it. Before Ducks Unlimited, there was gentleman by the name of James Ford Bell, founder of the General Mills Company and shortly after, Ducks Unlimited. Bell had developed the idea of wildlife conservation and management. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) was formed in 1940, with state agencies arising from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service sometime later in the decade. Today, federal and state governments employ the majority of wildlife biologist in the United States, with the exception of the aforementioned. The majority of the small conservation and biological organizations lack the funding to hire, promote and to supervise large groups of wildlife biologists on vast breakthrough projects as does government agencies.
“Approximately thirty-nine percent of Biological Scientist are employed for government agencies on the local, State and federal stage. Federal Biologists largely work for the departments of Agriculture, Defense, Interior, and Nation Institute of health. The remainder of that thirty-nine percent of the labor force is employed for laboratories doing research and test work. The pharmaceutical, medicine manufacturing industry, colleges and universities make up the rest of that proportion.” (Bureau) As a result a biologist with a degree in wildlife management will find that his/her career will most likely be spent working for government agencies such as the United States Fish and Wildlife Service or state agencies such as the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC), both of which own and manage vast amounts of land for wildlife to reside.
The minimum education required for most careers in wildlife management is the Bachelors of Science degree, or the wildlife management degree itself. A variety of jobs exist for wildlife biologists, but many more people seek this career than there are jobs available (i.e., this career path, like others in natural resources, is quite competitive). For this reason, a masters degree is generally considered the entry level degree for professional wildlife biologists, therefore a masters degree or higher is preferred by most employers and will give the individual the most opportunity for advancement. Some of the education courses involved include but not limited to,
“ . . . Botany, silviculture, flora, Ecology, and Ichthyology” (Kondratieff, Boris C. and Baumann) among others. Many colleges require students to complete a field session operated by the college or state federal or private industry. All schools encourage students to take summer jobs that provide experience in the related field.
Botany is the study of plants, such as algae, fungi, lichens, mosses, ferns, conifers and flowering plants. Silviculture is controlling the establishment, composition, and growth of the vegetation of forest stands. The study of Ecology is how organisms interact with each other and their physical environment. Flora is the plants and type of plants that grow in a particular region, such as northwest Arkansas or south Florida. Ichthyology is simply the study of fish. As previously stated many positions in the fish and wildlife conservation field, especially the more challenging ones, require education beyond the bachelor degree level.
Some of the Biological job duties include tasks such as monitoring wildlife population and habitats, vertebrate, plant ecology along with conservation and management activities. Monitoring populations are carried out by aerial surveys, and hunter interaction. The conservation aspect is done through adaptive research and field studies of the environment.

Babco states that:
Some biologists will monitor wildlife populations and habitats. These scientists look for the distribution, size, sex, and age of wildlife. They may determine habitat quality and study the effects of weather, disease, habitat alteration, and animals (including humans) on wildlife populations.

On the other hand Wagner says:

A wildlife biologist conducts programs in conservation and management of wildlife populations and their habitats. Most positions are in state or federal governments and academia. The work is usually done for a national park, forest commissions, refuges, or other federal land. Wildlife biologists may specialize in wildlife management, wildlife law enforcement, environmental education, natural resources management, environmental biology, conservation biology, or research.

Biology consists of many different specializations, but they all pertain to each other in one context. Wildlife biology is based on the study and conservation of wildlife. Career opportunities differ significantly for biological sciences, which include a broad assortment of disciplines. The extent is evidenced with over eighty societies and groups, which are part of the American Institute of Biological Sciences, on behalf of a collective association in excess of 250,000 scientists and educators.
Earnings vary widely from state to state and with education and years of experience. Salaries for positions in government are generally higher than those paid to educators or those employed in private agencies, but wildlife biologists in administrative positions in the private sector may earn more than government agencies. Starting income for a position with the federal government is $25,000 a year with a bachelor's degree, $32,000 a year with a master's degree, and $37,000 a year with a Ph.D. In the state government, positions usually range from $22,000 to $29,000 a year. Assistant professors begin at $38,000 a year. The average income for wildlife biologists is $44,500 a year in the federal government, $40,500 a year for state governments, and $52,000 a year for associate professors. Top earnings are $65,000-$85,000 a year in government and academic teaching.
According to Ruth Ann Chapman of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. “The starting salary for a wildlife biologist is around $30,000, but there is lots of opportunity for advancement from a starting biologist to the highest position.” The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has several levels of biologists and field staff. For example, Biologist I, Biologist II, Private lands biologist, and field manager, among others are different levels of biologists.
The biologist conduct’s surveys and analyzes the data collected. A Biologist II acts as a supervisor over lower level staff, creates working schedule and does hands on studying of animals. A biologist II also informs state and local government of legal changes needed. Private lands biologists contacts private landowners, evaluates the land and recognizes its need then writes a management plan for the landowner. A field manger oversees vast area of state owned land such as wildlife management areas. This person acts as a leader, conducting maintenance directing other personal to tasks, and establishes relationships with other landowners and persons using the area for recreation.
“Biological scientists can expect to face competition for jobs. After a recent period of rapid expansion in research funding, moderate growth in research grants should drive average employment growth over the next decade. Biological scientists should expect higher than average job security during recessions. In 2006 there where 20,000 zoologists and wildlife biologist. A nine percent increase is expected in this career field through the next decade, which is about average for all careers.” (Bureau of labor)

Here are some example courses required.

Wildlife Laboratory
General Botany
Dendrology Laboratory I
General Botany Laboratory
english comp I&II
Psychology, soiology
Historys, Speech ETC
Introduction to Wildlife Conservation
Forest Soils
General Zoology
Forest Soils Laboratory
General Zoology Laboratory
Forest Measurements
Biometrics in Natural Resouces
Technical Writing


Human Dimensions in Natural Resources
Wildlife Techniques I
Introduction to GIS, GPS, and Remote Sensing
Wildlife Ecology
General Ecology
Silviculture
Regional Flora
Mammalogy
Mammalogy Laboratory
Ichthyology/Herpetology
Ornithology
Wildlife Techniques II
Seminar
Natural Resource PolicyI
ntegrated Resource Planning & Management
Wildlife Management
Comparative Anatomy
Vertebrate Physiology
Forest Pest Management
Invertebrate Zoology

Get the point? lol lots of science..
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Biologist Career

Postby jazztime » Mon May 19, 2008 8:02 pm

I'm with the FWS and coordinate habitat conservation programs on a regional level. I've worked with FWS in the southeast, Alaska and Northeast for more than 15 years.

MS Degree is recommended and I highly suggest you look closely at the qualifications/course requirements for Federal positions.

There are specific course qualifications for the various job series such as 401 General Biologist vs the 486 Wildlife Biologist Series. It pays to make sure you meet these BEFORE you graduate.

All of this information can be located at USA Jobs online.

There are many career paths within the Fed government such as FWS. Make it a point to visit your nearest Refuge or other FWS office. Most will give you an overview of the various options open to you.
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Postby Canuk » Mon Jun 09, 2008 3:04 pm

15 years...

first deg. = 5
second deg.= 2
third deg.= 6

and a little hunting time shoved in between.
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Postby SpinnerMan » Mon Jun 09, 2008 3:22 pm

One recommendation from a none wildlife biologist. Get your graduate degrees from a different university than you got your B.S. Preferably in a different part of the country. You will have a much better education when you are finished.

The different regions may not be practical because I don't know what the financial issues are (cost of school versus pay after you graduate). If it's an option, I would hope you give it serious consideration. Maybe choose a good grad school in an ideal duck hunting location :smile:
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Postby Canuk » Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:07 pm

good advice spinnerman.

going to graduate school at the same place you got your undergrad is considered 'inbreeding' in the field.... but yet very common.
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Postby sigep538 » Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:52 pm

Well I finished up with my degree in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology last Dec. It was a blast with LOTS of out of class work, but thats what made the major so different. Most masters programs require your BS to be from a different school. That is not said on the brochure but talk to a Prof and thats what they will tell you. Now about the job........ Well I am an environmental scientist for a private firm, I deal mainly with water quality stuff and wetland delineations. I also do studies on the American Burying Beetle which is a T&E species. I LOVE MY JOB! On a side note State dosent pay for crap! Federal does better but private is where the money is and I do the same things with out any political BS :mad: . Finding a job was very hard. I sent out about 60 applications and resumes before I got mine and only had one other interview. Its tough man but trust me its worth it. Next week I am doing a three day Biological assement of a company's land that has a few streams in it ( water chem, macroinvertebrates, fish populations, plant make up) the next week I leave to do a "Bait away" in Ok. for thr T&E beetle befor a oil well is drilled. Good luck buddy!
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Postby Gruberguy » Wed Sep 03, 2008 9:31 am

AAAWwwww The ABB..... getting ready to use some stinky liver or chicken for bait??? :thumbsup:

Remember.. the ABB makes great fish bait! Panfish love em'!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby portahunter » Wed Sep 03, 2008 2:55 pm

I'm also in the process right now. I'm in my 3rd year at Texas A&M. All the professors I've talked to have encouraged me to go for a graduate degree and right now I"m plannin to once I get done with my BS. Hopin to stay in the waterfowl field.

One suggestion I'd make is to make sure to get field experience while in school. I've spent the last two summers working on a wildlife management area banding ducks and while it was extremely fun I also learned a great deal. Also I'd suggest volunteering at WMA's or NWR's near you, even for projects that might now be wildlife related. It'll help you meet alot of people that you might be able to use as contacts in the future. Don't be afraid to ask your professors if they have reasearch ongoing and need any extra helpers.
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Postby sigep538 » Wed Sep 03, 2008 6:06 pm

Thats the stinky guy! I just left from 3 weeks at Ft. Chaffe in Ar.
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Postby Gruberguy » Thu Sep 04, 2008 5:40 am

They do studies on them out here every year... pretty cool stuff, if you are into it. The ABB is actually an interesting bug if ya' ask me...
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Postby spoonerlab » Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:10 pm

hey portahunter, how do you like texas a&m i was looking at colleges with the wildlife and fisheries program and they were looking like #1 for me
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Humboldt State Wildlife

Postby rapidrdr » Mon Sep 22, 2008 9:46 pm

Humboldt State University, CA excellent program in Wildlife Management, and in Fisheries. Tough program B of Science Programs, but many biologists hired out of program....4 years....
Area has nice waterfowling, salmon/steelhead fishing.....
Good Luck..
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Postby cuppedup50 » Thu Oct 23, 2008 7:39 pm

canuk how in the hell did you go to school that long. i've only been in college for 2.5 years and i'm so ready to graduate. i just hate HAVING to learn somehting that isnt gonna do me any good when i get out in the real world. i salute you for persevering
cut em.
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Postby cdheafner » Wed Dec 17, 2008 6:50 pm

someday i will be a biologist im in my first semester at haywood
and I love it
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I just registered and had to reply to this post.

Postby Threecar » Sun Dec 21, 2008 9:39 am

Another reminder to you people looking for wildlife related jobs. All of the temporary positions with the USFWS will be advertised soon on USAjobs.

I have worked for the USFWS since 98 and was graduated from college by then. You people in college now could get ahead of the curve by getting some experience now while your in college.

Most of the positions are 6 month appointments and don't forget about the seasonal fire positions. Its a good way to get into the FWS. Believe it or not alot of refuges in the Dakota's don't get a lot of applicants. Not sure why but it seems like everyone applys for the state jobs and does not think about the federal government.
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