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Career and Education Opportunities for Zoologists in Chicago, Illinois

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for zoologists in the Chicago, Illinois area. The national trend for zoologists sees this job pool growing by about 12.8% over the next eight years. In general, zoologists study the origins, behavior, and life processes of animals and wildlife.

A person working as a zoologist can expect to earn about $27 hourly or $56,780 yearly on average in Illinois and about $26 per hour or $55,290 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for zoologists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Life Sciences in Illinois and not quite as good as general Life Sciences category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: wildlife manager, fish and wildlife biologist, and wildlife biologist.

There are three schools within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can study to be a zoologist, among 180 schools of higher education total in the Chicago area. Given that the most common education level for zoologists is a Master's degree, you can expect to spend about six years training to become a zoologist if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years if you have a Bachelor's degree.


Zoologist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, zoologists study the origins, behavior, and life processes of animals and wildlife. They also may specialize in wildlife research and management, including the collection and analysis of biological data to determine the environmental effects of present and potential use of land and water areas.

Zoologists disseminate data by writing reports and scientific papers or journal articles, and by making presentations and giving talks for schools, clubs, interest groups and park interpretive programs. They also inventory or estimate plant and wildlife populations. Finally, zoologists make recommendations on management systems and planning for wildlife populations and habitat, consulting with stakeholders and the public at large to explore options.

Every day, zoologists are expected to be able to write clearly and communicate well. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for zoologists to study characteristics of animals such as origin, interrelationships, classification, life histories and diseases and distribution. They are often called upon to analyze characteristics of animals to pinpoint and classify them. They also study animals in their natural habitats, assessing effects of environment and industry on animals, interpreting findings and recommending alternative operating conditions for industry. They are sometimes expected to collect and dissect animal specimens and examine specimens under microscope. Somewhat less frequently, zoologists are also expected to oversee the care and distribution of zoo animals, working with curators and zoo directors to establish the best way to contain animals, maintain their habitats and oversee facilities.

Zoologists sometimes are asked to ready collections of preserved specimens or microscopic slides for species identification and study of development or disease. And finally, they sometimes have to direct preventive programs to control the outbreak of wildlife diseases.

Like many other jobs, zoologists must have exceptional integrity and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Agricultural Technician. Set up and maintain laboratory equipment and collect samples from crops or animals. Prepare specimens and record data to assist scientist in biology or related science experiments.
  • Biologist. Research or study basic principles of plant and animal life, such as origin, relationship, and functions.
  • Epidemiologist. Investigate and describe the determinants and distribution of disease, disability, and other health outcomes and develop the means for prevention and control.
  • Food Technologist. Use chemistry, microbiology, and other sciences to study the principles underlying the processing and deterioration of foods; analyze food content to determine levels of vitamins, fat, and protein; discover new food sources; research ways to make processed foods safe, palatable, and healthful; and apply food science knowledge to determine best ways to process, package, and distribute food.
  • Forester. Manage forested lands for economic, recreational, and conservation purposes. May inventory the type, amount, and location of standing timber, appraise the timber's worth, negotiate the purchase, and draw up contracts for procurement. May determine how to conserve wildlife habitats, creek beds, and soil stability, and how best to comply with environmental regulations. May devise plans for planting and growing new trees, monitor trees for healthy growth, and determine the best time for harvesting. Develop forest management plans for public and privately-owned forested lands.
  • Medical Scientist. Conduct research dealing with the understanding of human diseases and the improvement of human health. Engage in clinical investigation or other research, production, or related activities.
  • Microbiologist. Investigate the growth, structure, and other characteristics of microscopic organisms, such as bacteria, algae, or fungi. Includes medical microbiologists who study the relationship between organisms and disease or the effects of antibiotics on microorganisms.
  • Natural Resource Manager. Research or study range land management practices to provide sustained production of forage, livestock, and wildlife.
  • Scientist. Study the chemical composition and physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. May conduct research to further understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, and heredity. May determine the effects of foods, drugs, and other substances on tissues and vital processes of living organisms.
  • Soil Conservation Technician. Plan and develop coordinated practices for soil erosion control, soil and water conservation, and sound land use.


Governors State University - University Park, IL

Governors State University, 1 University Pky, University Park, IL 60466-0975. Governors State University is a medium sized university located in University Park, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 5,457 students. Governors State University has a master's degree program in Ecology.

University of Chicago - Chicago, IL

University of Chicago, 5801 S Ellis Ave, Chicago, IL 60637. University of Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 14,620 students and an admission rate of 28%. University of Chicago has a master's degree and a doctor's degree program in Ecology which graduated one and six students respectively in 2008.

Northwestern University - Evanston, IL

Northwestern University, 633 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60208. Northwestern University is a large university located in Evanston, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,128 students and an admission rate of 27%. Northwestern University has 2 areas of study related to Zoologist. They are:

  • Cell/Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences, Other Specialties, master's degree and doctor's degree.
  • Ecology, bachelor's degree.


Associate Certified Entomologist: The Entomological Society of America, long the industry leader in certification through its Board Certified Entomologist (BCE) program, is pleased to announce a new certification option geared specifically toward the pest management industry.

For more information, see the Entomological Society of America website.

Certified Manager of Animal Resources: The Certified Manager Animal Resources (CMAR) certification program is designed to raise competency and professionalism in the field of Animal Resources Management.

For more information, see the Institute of Certified Professional Managers website.


Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.