How To Become A Zoologist In Australia: A Complete Guide

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Students want to know how they can become zoologists in Australia.


Are you an Animal enthusiast and fascinated by animals evolve, behave, adapt, and survive? If yes, a career as a Zoologist might be perfect for you.


Zoologists study animals, their characteristics, natural environments, anatomy, behaviour, and physiology. They conduct independent or group research into numerous areas and plan strategies for wildlife conservation, management, medical, and agricultural applications.


To become a zoologist in Australia, you need an undergraduate degree in science or applied science focusing on zoology or a related field. Studying for a relevant master's qualification to work in this profession is also common.


Being a Zoologist can be an excellent option for those interested in caring for the future of flora and fauna.


Read on to discover the job duties, academic requirements, essential skills, job opportunities, career outlook, earnings, and the steps to pursue this career in Australia.



1. What is Zoology?


Zoology is a scientific field that researches and analyses a variety of living organisms, particularly animal species, in different environments and ecosystems.



2. What Is A Zoologist?


Zoologists are scientists that observe the composition and chemistry of humans, plants, and animals. They gather data about how living organisms interact with each other.


Zoologists work in the field or in laboratories to study wildlife and analyse the relationships between organisms and the environment. Based on their findings, they develop plans and strategies for wildlife preservation.



3. What Does A Zoologist Do?


Zoologists perform different tasks that vary based on their employer and the setting in which they work. Their most common duties include:


  • Observe habitats and wildlife

  • Study the functions and development of animals

  • Examine the relationship between animals in their habitat, in laboratories, and in captivity

  • Gather data on the growth, reproduction, nutrition, prey, and predators of different animal species

  • Conduct experiments to inspect bacteria, cells, fungi, and other microscopic organisms to know more about larger animals and plants 

  • Study animal life's evolution and development

  • Use various tools to gather and analyse data.

  • Collect biological samples to check the health of animals

  • Observe animals and their interactions

  • Work with research teams

  • Stay updated with knowledge concerning animals and research findings.

  • Take lectures and classes on zoology. 

  • Devise population control methods for wild animals, pests, vermin, and animals in captivity.

  • Undertake surveys of fauna and form reports for management agencies

  • Prepare and monitor lab reports and scientific papers.

  • Take part in wildlife awareness programs conducted for the public.

  • Write articles and publish findings for government agencies and academic institutions.

  • Supervise the work of technicians and technical officers

  • Assess observational data to predict or suggest ways to contribute toward global wildlife preservation



4. Zoologist Skills For Success


Zoologists need scientific, physical, and intellectual skills to succeed. 


Some of these are listed below:


  • A background in science

  • A passion for wildlife biology and animal behaviour 

  • Like studying living organisms

  • Innate love and understanding of animals

  • Keen interest in understanding animals on a deeper level

  • Problem-solving skills

  • Exceptional computer skills 

  • Proficiency in a variety of software

  • Excellent observational skills 

  • Critical thinking 

  • Analytical skills 

  • Precision

  • Remarkable written and spoken communication skills 

  • Physical fitness and stamina to survive the outdoors

  • Diligence 

  • Strong Work ethic 



5. Zoologist Qualifications In Australia


Here is what you need to study to qualify for a zoologist role:


  • 17 years or over

  • Complete your Year 12 education

  • Study for a relevant undergraduate degree, such as a bachelor of zoology in Australia, a bachelor's of animal and veterinary biosciences, or a bachelor's degree in science majoring in zoology. Some employers also recruit candidates who hold only a Certificate in Zoology. This course provides extensive information about the field and the job requirements.

  • Seek work experience in animal shelters, wildlife parks, zoos, animal conservations, or sanctuaries. It will help you gain practical experience and strengthen your resume. 

  • You may need to earn a PhD to work in roles that involve significant research and planning.

  • Earning a postgraduate qualification, such as a master of science – in zoology, is recommended to teach students in schools or universities. 



6. Steps To Become A Zoologist In Australia


To become a Zoologist in Australia, the minimum education requirement is to study zoology at a college or university. Several universities offer Zoology degrees at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. 


Follow this 5-step guide to becoming a professional Zoologist in Australia:



Step 1: Study Zoology


You need an undergraduate zoology degree in Australia to qualify for an entry-level role in this field. The degree involves integrated learning that focuses on developing a good understanding of the different components involved in Zoology.


You can also consider completing Zoology Certificates that offer the coursework and communication skills and prepare you to become an assistant ZooKeeper, a Ranger, or Wildlife Officer.


Is a Zoologist job right for you? Short courses can help develop the right skills and knowledge to work in areas like Zoology.



Step 2: Study For a Master's Degree


Do you aim to become a lecturer in universities or schools? Earning a Master's qualification in Zoology can help qualify for the role. 


Moreover, this qualification can also help secure higher-level positions with greater responsibility and higher remuneration.


With this qualification, you can even undertake applied research in the animal, marine divisions, and ecosystem of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.



Step 3: Complete a Doctoral Degree


Are you a researcher at heart? If so, you need a PhD in Zoology to work in roles that require conducting research and forming plans to conserve or manage wildlife and ecology.


Focus on gaining practical work experience throughout your degree to work competently and confidently in real-world settings.



Professional bodies:


Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists, and Managers Australia 



7. Zoology Courses In Australia


Are you looking for courses to equip you for future roles in Zoology? 


Here are some of the most relevant courses to gain the latest skills to become a highly sought-after graduate:



Bachelor Of Zoology And Animal Science – Deakin University


  • Zoologist ATAR: 66.25

  • Duration: 3 years full-time or part-time equivalent

  • Campuses: Waurn Ponds (Geelong)


The course teaches you about plants and animals, human activity's social and economic impact on animals and their ecosystems, and how to apply zoology theory and research in natural environments. 


Course features include research-informed teaching, hands-on practical learning, at least 80 hours of work experience in a course-related organisation, and placement as part of the course. 



Bachelor of Science (Conservation Biology) - The University of Western Australia


Conservation biologists work to prevent the destruction of animal and plant species worldwide. Students gain the relevant skills and knowledge to manage and research endangered species and ecological communities.


The course also teaches ways to safeguard and reinstate biodiversity and understand and minimise the influence of human beings on the natural world.


  • Locations: Albany (Regional campus) and Perth (Crawley campus)

  • Study Mode: Full-Time/Part-Time 

  • Delivery Mode: On-campus 

  • Duration: 3 years (BSc), four years (BPhil [Hons])



Bachelor of Science (Zoology) - The University of Western Australia


The Zoology major provides a good understanding of the animal structure, functions, and evolutionary processes that lead to animal diversity. The course will help discover the solutions to the issues presented by diverse habitats that range from deserts to temporary rainforests and wetlands.



  • Locations: Albany (Regional campus) and Perth (Crawley campus)

  • Study Mode: Full-time and Part-time

  • Delivery Mode: On-campus

  • Duration: 3 years (BSc), four years (BSc [Hons])



Bachelor of Science (Wildlife Conservation - Extended Major) - The University of Western Australia


Focusing on the distinctive Australian fauna, this Wildlife Conservation major includes studying animals, understanding their conservation status, and recovering the threatened species population.


  • ATAR: 80

  • Duration: 3 years (BSc), four years (BSc [Hons] )

  • Study Mode: Full-Time/ Part-time

  • Locations: Perth (Crawley campus) and Albany (Regional campus)

  • Delivery Mode: On-campus



8. Work Conditions For Zoologists


Zoologists in Australia often work in outdoor settings. Their work hours depend on the organisation they work for. 


Generally, they work for standard hours but may need to work overnight or at weekends and occasionally travel for research.



9. Where Does A Zoologist Work?


Most Zoologists work for government agencies, universities, scientific organisations, and zoos. Many entry-level zoologist jobs in Australia at vets, zoos, and ranges offer practical experience.



In addition to the above, opportunities are also available in the following:


  • State museums 

  • Laboratories or zoological research agencies 

  • State and territory departments of agriculture 

  • Private environmental consulting

  • Government quarantine

  • Organisations related to conservation, environmental control, wildlife management, and environmental monitoring and management

  • National parks

  • Fisheries

  • Places of attraction

  • Animal breeding and genetics industry



10. Zoologist's Specialisation In Australia


Zoology is a broad discipline, so you can specialise and pursue a wide range of career options within Zoology, including:


  • Herpetologists: Study of reptilian and amphibian species

  • Ichthyology: Study of marine biology

  • Entomology: Study of insects

  • Ecology: Study of the environment of animals

  • Ethology: Study of animal behaviour

  • Parasitology: Study of parasites

  • Ornithology: Study of birds

  • Mammologists: Study of a range of wild animals/species and mammals 

  • Physiology: Study of functions of animals



11. Career Paths for Zoologists In Australia


Studying for a Zoologist profession opens the doorway to many career opportunities. The knowledge and transferable skills you develop enable you to work in other careers with different animal species and their habitats.




12. Job Prospects For Zoologists In Australia


Australia has a megadiverse of fauna and flora. It is home to several spectacular animal species. The ecological diversity ranges from deserts to rainforests, making it one of the best places to pursue a zoology career.


Currently, Australia is facing challenges in preserving its vulnerable fauna. There is a great demand for skilled graduates to fill vacant positions in state management agencies and conservation NGOs. 


More researchers are needed to handle challenges at field sites and in the laboratory, studying plants and animals in managed and natural environments.


According to the government's Job Outlook service, the number of Zoologists has been growing over the past five years. With this growth in mind, the industry will experience rapid change over the coming five years. 


Thus, now is the best time to start and learn the essential skills to pursue a career in Zoology.


Zoologists work in several regions of Australia, with Western Australia having the largest share of workers. Around 72% of zoologists work full-time, 45 hours per week. 43% of workers are female, and the average age of the employed workforce is 42 years. 



13. How Much Does A Zoologist Get Paid In Australia?


The average zoologist salary in Australia is AU$39.05 per hour or an equivalent to AU$60,500 per year. The entry salary can be low but will increase with skills and experience.



Average Salary Based on Experience



  • Early career Zoologists (1 to 4 years of experience) earn AU$60,678 

  • Mid-career Zoologists (5 to 9 years of experience) make AU$63,871 



The area where a zoologist work also impacts his salary. The average salary for zoologists in major cities of Australia is as follows:


  • Brisbane, QLD: AU$58,052 / year 

  • Darwin, Northern Territory: AU$69000 /year 

  • Zoologist salary in NSW (Sydney): $108,367, or an equivalent of $52 /hour

  • Canberra, ACT: AU$60,500 / year 

  • Perth, WA: AU$65,000 / year

  • Melbourne, Victoria: AU$61,875 / year 



14. Conclusion


Zoology is a vast field to explore as a career option. You get various life-changing experiences performing research, working with countless animal species, studying their behaviour and biology, and making a difference.


Aspiring Zoologists must know that it takes hard work and a serious commitment to study marine or wildlife biology, but it proves to be highly rewarding.


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