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What sorts of opportunities are out there for a wildlife veterinarian, or what kinds of similar careers can one find win a bachelors in zoology?

I am going to college and majoring in zoology, but find it a major with low access to specialized scholarships and less recognized than biology. However I know it's probably better for becoming a wildlife veterinarian, as I am planning on. I have thought about the possibility for working with the state government in protecting or healing wildlife but find it hard to find if opportunities like those exist or if the closest I'd get would be talking to a game warden once in a while. #veterinarian #zoology #wildlife #wildlife-conservation

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Andrea’s Answer

What a great career path! This path will lead you to many opportunities as long as you keep your mind open. A few careers come to mind:


  1. zookeeper, or a veterinarian at a zoo
  2. working as a veterinarian for a non-profit sanctuary or rehabilitation center.
  3. education and outreach for an animal facility
  4. U.S fish and wildlife
  5. conservation efforts


Andrea recommends the following next steps:

Ask yourself and answer what made you go into this path
Ask yourself and answer if there are specific animals you are hoping to work with
Look into and apply for internships or volunteer opportunities with those animals, or other similar animals
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Adrianna’s Answer

Hi Angelica,
Your correct in that Biology is more recognized then Zoology, and finding a school that lets you get your degree in Zoology is even harder. I have a degree in Zoology and know that the degree opens the same doors as biology would. If your interest is becoming a Wildlife vet you will need to finish that degree and then go on to get a PHD in veterinary science.

Unfortunately working with the government would probably not give you the opportunity you are looking for. Most, if not all states, do not do rehabilitation of wildlife, and if they do then there would be 1 to 2 vets for the entire state. Most medical field work for wildlife is done by researchers, and it isn't always for the well being of the animal, usually more for information. In those cases you draw blood, get weight, and other factors to add to research.

Doing wildlife rehabilitation would require working for a specific organization. In those cases you would get to help heal and treat wildlife, though that area may be hard to get into. In order to go forward in that direction, I highly recommend talking to people that are doing jobs that interests you. This means finding a phone number or email and reaching out. Sometimes individuals may not get back to you right away as they are busy and giving a week in-between phone calls or emails is a helpful reminder that you are still curious. I know that sounds completely terrifying, but I have done it since I was in high school and well into adulthood (like a couple months ago) and everyone is always so nice and wants to give you as much information as possible. I recommend having a couple questions set up which you can do by looking up questions and looking into their background more via google search.

Oh I also forgot to mention that being a Game warden unfortunately has more to do with wellbeing of natural resources and stopping the abuse of it and less to do with animal wellbeing. My partner is a Fish and Wildlife Officer for Washington state, and though I am so proud of him, it is clear that the job is more directed at stopping natural resource abuse (which I am a fan of), and less about preserving wildlife. If they come across a sick or injured animal in most cases they dispatch it, in others they bring it to a rehabilitation center. In working for the state you will find that their agenda is going to be more focused on hunting and fishing population management and less on wildlife well being the way some would hope.
Best of luck
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