What can you do with an ecology degree? … At Florida Tech, this degree is called Conservation Biology and Ecology.
Join Pete and he discusses potential career options for students earning a degree in conservation biology and ecology in this installment of, “What can I do with THAT degree?”
First off, you’re an awesome person! You’re probably reading this because you have some ideas about saving the planet, and you may want to help preserve different animal species like me, Pete the Panther. Thanks! And with a conservation biology and ecology degree, you can do just that. But what is conservation biology and ecology? Well, it’s the study of nature and Earth’s biodiversity, with an aim of preserving species’ habitats and ecosystems. So, let’s get to it! What can you do with a degree in ecology?
You could continue your education and earn your graduate degree. This helps if you plan on doing a lot of research and field work. If you choose not to earn your master’s, then you can go on to work at several government agencies, such as the EPA, or environmental organizations like the National Wildlife Federation, Forest Stewardship Council or even the National Geographic.
What can you do with an ecology degree? A field biologist.
I mentioned field work before, which is common in the workforce for scientists. You could become a field biologist for a private consulting firm and help with building projects. Field biologists working for consulting firms help with policy and the planning of large infrastructure projects, and they make sure building and construction is not at the expense of local species and their ecosystem. They help obtain the proper permits and are familiar with environmental regulations. If you feel passionate about helping the planet, then playing a part in deciding how infrastructure is built or expanded is a good job option!
What can you do with an ecology degree? A wildlife rehabilitator.
With many recovery programs popping up internationally in an effort to restore Earth’s biodiversity, many opportunities are arising to be a wildlife rehabilitator. Wildlife rehabilitators work to restore any state or federally endangered species, like me! There are only 160 of my kind left in the wild. Wildlife rehabilitators try to find what is causing the near-extinction and find solutions to help, aside from nurturing injured animals.
What can you do with an ecology degree? A zoo keeper.
Want a hands-on career in ecology with the opportunity to work with many different species and animals? You could be a zoo keeper and educate the public about the fascinating wildlife our world has to offer, while also working one-on-one with these animals. Zoo keepers have the privilege of developing relationships with the animals, while also participating in restoration and conservation efforts. For example, the Brevard Zoo participates in the local Oyster Restoration Project for the oysters in the Indian River Lagoon. The zoo also has a Quarters for Conservation fund for local conservation efforts. They also have their hands in Florida East Coast Diamondback Terrapins, Florida Scrub-Jay, mangroves (vital to many fish’ survival) and butterfly conservation projects. That’s a lot, right? Zoos are great options for you to play an important role in local communities and make a difference.
What can you do with an ecology degree? An endangered species coordinator.
A different route that some people could take is to go behind the scenes and become an endangered species coordinator. These coordinators write reports for scientific journals, speak at schools and interest groups, inventory and estimate plant and animal populations, check for and ensure compliance with environmental regulations, study animals in their natural habitats and they may raise specimen for scientific studies. Basically, these guys are animal activists and they wear many different hats to ensure the protection of the planet and its animals.
These are just a few things that a student with a degree in conservation biology and ecology could do, and I didn’t even get to go through all of them! The possibilities are only expanding as the demand for environmental scientists grows. Take your pick of the wonderful opportunities there are for ecologists and biologists — go forth and conquer!
Pete the Panther
Chief Motivating Officer