How To Become A Mammalogist
A mammalogist is a zoologist that specializes in the study of mammals. A mammalogist studies mammals, including different species, their behaviors, how they interact in their own habitat, and the role that they play on our planet. A mammalogist may work in a zoo or museum, observing mammals and educating the public. Other mammalogists work in the field, observing animals and performing research. In order to become a mammalogist you must have extensive education; a doctorate in this field is preferred.
Why Become a Mammalogist
There are approximately 5,500 species of mammals on our planet. Mammals are some of the most complex and important creatures living on Earth. Mammalogists are interested in studying mammals so they can understand how these species live their lives and what roles they play on our planet.
A mammalogist spends much of their time conducting research. They study mammals and their eating habits, their sleeping patterns, their mating and reproductive habits, and how they play and fight with each other. They study how mammals find shelter and food. All of this is important information for mammalogists to collect. A mammalogist may specialize in a certain area of study, such as studying a certain species, or studying mammals within certain habitats, or some other specialty area. A mammalogist may work in a zoo or a museum, or they may work for the federal government or a research institution.
This job often requires mammalogists to be outdoors doing fieldwork. A mammalogist may have to travel to remote locations to study mammals in their natural environment. This requires being alone for long periods of time, not seeing other humans, observing only other animals. A mammalogist must observe mammals, collect data and track animals. They write reports and explain their observations to the public.
If you enjoy performing scientific research, if you love animals, and if you like working outdoors, a career as a mammalogist might be good for you.
Mammalogists should possess the following qualities and skills:
- Loves the outdoors
- Animal lover
- Critical Thinker
Mammalogist Work Environment
Mammalogists work in a variety of different conditions, depending on their specialty. Some are engaged strongly in field work. They travel to where animals live in their natural habitat, observing animals and collecting data. Mammalogists who work in the field must be comfortable spending time alone, only living amongst animals. A mammalogist must be physically fit, strong and have a lot of stamina, because working in the field may involve traveling to remote, exotic locations to observe animals. Other mammalogists work in zoos, museums or other facilities, teaching the public about mammals. They work with animals in these venues. A mammalogist is a full-time position. Fieldwork could demand irregular hours, including nights and weekends, and extensive traveling.
The median annual salary for a mammalogist was $57,430 in 2016.
The salary for a mammalogist can vary, depending on several things. A mammalogist may work for the federal government or a research facility, conducting research that deals with animals. These types of industry positions tend to bring about higher pay. Other mammalogists may work for colleges and universities, in teaching positions. Within the field, these tend to be less-paying positions. A mammalogist with more experience in his or her field will often earn a higher salary than somebody with less experience. These are a few factors that will determine salary.
Mammalogist Career Outlook
Employment for wildlife biologists is expected to grow by four percent from 2014 to 2024, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. This category includes mammalogists and is slower than average compared to other occupations within the country.
Most mammalogists are employed by the federal government, research institutions, and universities. All of these facilities receive their funding from the government. Because the government has a budget and limited funding, there is often a restriction placed on the hiring of mammalogists. People who do get hired into this career must try to receive limited grants in order to complete their research.
If you would like to become a mammalogist, read below for more information.
Step 1: Undergraduate education. You will need a bachelor’s degree to become a mammalogist. There are many programs that you can choose from, including biology, animal science, zoology, wildlife biology, ecology, or similar fields. Courses in science and math will provide a strong foundation. During your undergraduate years you will take classes and learn more if a career as a mammalogist would be perfect for you. It takes four years to receive a bachelor’s degree.
Step 2: Graduate education. Although a bachelor’s degree is required for a mammalogist position, a graduate education is strongly preferred. You can receive a doctorate degree in this field, in a program such as zoology, wildlife management, wildlife biology, or environmental sciences. This will help you obtain any research or teaching positions you may want to do. You will take more advanced coursework, learning about mammals. You will also be able to engage in research and fieldwork, specializing in mammals. It takes about five years to receive a PhD in this field.