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Can I major in zoology and then minor in elementary teaching? Or the other way around?

I have always had an interest in becoming a zoologist, basically since 6th grade, but I have also wanted to become a teacher for maybe first or second graders. My top choice would be zoology, but I am afraid that there won't be many jobs in my area, so I would like a backup plan. #college #teaching #college-major #biology #college-minor #guidance-counselor #zoology #elementary-education

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Nakisha Renee’s Answer

Hi Samantha, thank you for being willing to reveal your true desires and intent. One of the best ways to get where you want to be is to proclaim your intentions so that others can offer opportunities or information to you. Great step you've taken already! I also want to congratulate you for being authentic to your passions and seeking to follow a path that's in line with your inner motivation.

What is it about zoology that has attracted you over the years? What does teaching first or second graders mean to you? What aspects of these career fields are compelling and interesting? I would suggest making a short bullet point list answering these questions. Then see where there is an overlap. For example, both zoology and teaching involve serving a population who don't have power to advocate for themselves. So maybe there's meaningful overlap in advocacy, empowerment, care, or compassion type work. Those are just a few guesses, but ultimately it's up to you to discover the real meaning behind WHY you want to be involved in those careers.

Once you understand why, you may realize that you could incorporate those skills into your back up plan. For example, if you were interested in advocacy, then taking a few communications courses or minoring in communications might be a good fall-back degree that will teach you about communicating with children and animals, and also has marketable job potential.

It seems like you have a clear vision for yourself, so keep listening to your heart and you will find a significant career of your interest.

Nakisha Renee recommends the following next steps:

Write down the reasons or motivations behind why you want to be a zoologist or teacher.
Connect those reasons to courses or areas you could learn more about.

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Allison’s Answer

Hi Samantha, I love your plans! It's great to have lots of different ideas and even back-up plans too. There may be ways to combine your two interests, but you seem to have a passion for zoology so I have a few thoughts on that. I expect that your dedication to your zoology degree will match the job opportunities available to you. If zoology has been your dream, I would advise you to look more into the career opportunities available for zoologists and even try to see if you can meet some zoologists in your area to talk about how they developed their careers from college onward. Excellent grades in school will open up new opportunities to you as well should you decide to go to graduate school or further purse your education.

As for teaching, many different states have "alternate entry" teacher programs for people who decide that they want to become teachers after a few years in the workforce. I don't believe there are any programs like this for zoology, which is why you may want to focus on that first! You can probably major in zoology and minor in education at some schools. My father majored in zoology, but he ended up working in pathology in a hospital and loved it. Your major does not have to dictate what you will end up doing for a career. I hope that these thoughts help and good luck!

Thank you. Samantha U.

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Lynn’s Answer

Both careers are exciting, and it's good that you have diverse interests. I explored zoology as a college major myself, and it took me a while to decide to get a Bachelor of Science degree, followed by an Education degree later on. Science and education can be combined, but how you would apply that to a career depends on which option appeals to you most. Getting to really know where you'd fit the best and enjoy working the most takes time and discernment on your part. Talk to people in both fields, try and spend some volunteer or intern time in each, and follow your heart. We need more STEM-focused teachers, so that might be an area to check out, too. Good luck!! #teaching #education #careers