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Career and Education Opportunities for Zoologists in Columbia, Missouri

If you want to be a zoologist, the Columbia, Missouri area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 410 working zoologists in Missouri; this should grow by 10% to 450 working zoologists in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for zoologists are expected to grow by about 12.8%. Zoologists generally study the origins, behavior, and life processes of animals and wildlife.

Income for zoologists is about $22 hourly or $46,060 annually on average in Missouri. Nationally, their income is about $26 per hour or $55,290 annually. Earnings for zoologists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Life Sciences in Missouri and not quite as good as general Life Sciences category earnings nationally. Zoologists work in a variety of jobs, including: wildlife conservationist, animal biologist, and environmental specialist.

There are thirteen schools of higher education in the Columbia area, including one within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can get a degree to start your career as a zoologist. Zoologists usually hold a Master's degree, so it will take about six years to learn to be a zoologist if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years if you have a Bachelor's degree.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Zoologist

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 Columbia 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.
  • 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.
  • Park Ranger. Plan, develop, and conduct programs to inform public of historical, natural, and scientific features of national, state, or local park.
  • 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.
  • Soil Scientist. Conduct research in breeding, physiology, and management of crops and agricultural plants, their growth in soils, and control of pests; or study the chemical, physical, and mineralogical composition of soils as they relate to plant or crop growth. May classify and map soils and investigate effects of alternative practices on soil and crop productivity.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Zoologist Training

University of Missouri-Columbia - Columbia, MO

University of Missouri-Columbia, 105 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211. University of Missouri-Columbia is a large university located in Columbia, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 30,130 students and an admission rate of 85%. University of Missouri-Columbia has a master's degree and a doctor's degree program in Entomology which graduated three and one students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Missouri

Columbia, Missouri
Columbia, Missouri photo by Grey_Wanderer

Columbia is situated in Boone County, Missouri. It has a population of over 100,733, which has grown by 19.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Columbia, 85, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Columbia are valued at $171,800 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-five new homes were constructed in Columbia, down from six hundred fifty-three the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is educational services, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 15 minutes. More than 50.5% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Columbia is 6.8%, which is less than Missouri's average of 8.9%.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 40.9%, is less than both the national and state average. Sugar Grove Church, Fairview Church and Emmanuel Church are among the churches located in Columbia. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Columbia is home to the Columbia Country Club and the Columbia Plaza as well as Nickell Park and Stephens Park. Shopping centers in the area include Whitegate Shopping Center, North County Shopping Center and Biscayne Mall. Visitors to Columbia can choose from Churchill's, Columbia Super 8 Motel and Arrow Head Motel LLC for temporary stays in the area.