Texas A&M University-Kingsville

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Careers in Range and Wildlife Science

Who hires wildlife biologists and range ecologists?

Students who earn a bachelor's degree or higher in range and wildlife science have many opportunities for employment. There is a current shortage of range ecologists in the country, and federal agencies are offering special grants and incentives to recruit students. If you are interested in range ecology, right now is the time to sign up. Browse the list below to discover what federal, state and private agencies hire biologists and range ecologists

Federal agencies

Most federal agencies oversee public lands such as national parks. Biologists and ecologists are hired to manage those areas. Many federal agencies conduct research or are regulatory in nature. Biologists and ecologists also are hired to oversee military properties, especially to monitor endangered species activity that can occur within their boundaries.
US Fish and Wildlife Service
US Geological Survey
US Forest Service
Bureau of Land Management
National Resource Conservaction Services                                                                                                                                                                 National Park Service

State agencies

State wildlife agencies hire a large number of biologists and ecologists. Each state has a wildlife department but the names may vary. Other state agencies that hire wildlife biologists and range ecologists may not be so obvious. For example, a state transportation department may hire wildlife biologists and range ecologists to conduct environmental assessments prior to building roads, bridges, etc. Health and security departments hire biologists to conduct investigations of zoonotic diseases (i.e., diseases that can pass from wild animals to humans).
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Texas Department of Transportation

Private agencies

Private entities such as consulting firms and wildlife game ranches hire biologists as well. Private consultants are hired on a per-job basis and get paid for their expert opinion, so this type of job requires a lot of past field experience. Ranch wildlife biologists and range ecologists run the wildlife enterprises for ranch owners. These positions have become quite numerous, especially in Texas, where wildlife enterprises have become lucrative.
The Nature Conservancy
World Wildlife Fund

How Important is My GPA and Field Experience?

Opportunities in wildlife are abundant, but it is up to each individual to make themselves as marketable as possible. One way to help your marketability is to maintain your Grade Point Average (GPA) at the highest possible level (at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale). Many jobs, especially with state and federal agencies, are quite competitive, and students need to make sure their resumes stand out from hundreds of other applicants. Another way to improve marketability is to gain as much field experience as possible while you are in school. All wildlife professors conduct research and are always in need of assistance. Graduate students working with the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute also need help with their research projects. Get to know your professors and their graduate students and assist them when you can. Join the Texas A&M-Kingsville Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society, a student-run organization that is operates as a consulting firm. The Texas A&M-Kingsville Wildlife Society has been hired by many area ranches to conduct wildlife surveys, relocate endangered species and make habitat improvements. If you choose the range option, being involved with the Texas A&M-Kingsville Wildlife Society is just as important. You also can strengthen your skills by joining the Range Plant ID team. These are excellent ways to gain experience. Get involved as soon as you arrive in Kingsville – there’s no time to waste!

What Kind of Pay Can I Expect?

The salary for range ecologists and wildlife biologists will vary depending type of job, the institution or company through which the job is being offered and on the region of the country. To research the latest salary data for range ecologists and wildlife biologists, go to the Department of Labor and search for biological and life sciences related topics.

This page was last updated on: May 24, 2012