Exploring the Steps to Becoming an Animal Behaviorist in Zoology

Exploring the Steps to Becoming an Animal Behaviorist in Zoology

Are you passionate about animals and intrigued by their behavior? Becoming an animal behaviorist in zoology could be the perfect career path for you. In this article, we will delve into the steps you need to take to pursue this rewarding profession. From obtaining the necessary education to gaining hands-on experience, we will guide you through the process of becoming an animal behaviorist in the field of zoology. Let’s explore the exciting world of animal behavior together.

Education Requirements for Animal Behaviorists

Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology or Related Field

To become an animal behaviorist in zoology, individuals typically start by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in zoology or a related field such as biology, psychology, or animal science. This foundational education provides students with a solid understanding of animal behavior, physiology, and ecology.

Master’s Degree in Animal Behavior or Ethology

Many animal behaviorists choose to further their education by pursuing a master’s degree in animal behavior or ethology. These programs focus on advanced topics such as animal cognition, communication, and social behavior. Graduates with a master’s degree are often qualified for more specialized roles in research or academia.

Ph.D. in Animal Behavior or Zoology

For those looking to advance their career and specialize in a particular area of animal behavior, obtaining a Ph.D. in animal behavior or zoology is recommended. A Ph.D. program typically involves conducting original research, publishing scholarly articles, and teaching undergraduate or graduate courses. Graduates with a Ph.D. are well-equipped to pursue leadership positions in research institutions, universities, or conservation organizations.

Skills and Qualities Needed

Becoming an animal behaviorist in zoology requires a unique set of skills and qualities. Here are some of the key attributes that are essential for success in this field:

Passion for Animals

A genuine love and passion for animals is a must for anyone interested in pursuing a career as an animal behaviorist. This passion will drive your motivation to study animal behavior, learn about different species, and work towards improving the welfare of animals in various settings.

Observational Skills

Observational skills are crucial for animal behaviorists as they spend a significant amount of time watching and studying animal behavior. Being able to accurately observe and interpret an animal’s actions, reactions, and body language is essential for understanding their behavior patterns and motivations.

Analytical Thinking

Animal behaviorists must possess strong analytical thinking skills to analyze data, identify trends, and draw conclusions about animal behavior. This involves critically evaluating research findings, designing experiments, and developing theories to explain why animals behave the way they do.

In conclusion, a combination of passion for animals, keen observational skills, and analytical thinking is essential for individuals aspiring to become successful animal behaviorists in the field of zoology.

Professional Experience

Aspiring animal behaviorists in zoology can gain valuable professional experience through various avenues. Internships at zoos or wildlife centers, research assistant positions, and field work with experienced animal behaviorists are all excellent opportunities to further develop skills and knowledge in the field.

Internships at Zoos or Wildlife Centers

Internships at zoos or wildlife centers provide hands-on experience working with a variety of animal species. Interns may assist with animal care, behavior observation, and enrichment activities. These opportunities allow aspiring animal behaviorists to gain practical experience and network with professionals in the field.

Research Assistant Positions

Research assistant positions offer the chance to work on scientific studies related to animal behavior. Assistants may help collect data, analyze results, and contribute to research publications. This experience is invaluable for developing research skills and understanding the scientific process.

Field Work with Animal Behaviorists

Field work with experienced animal behaviorists provides a unique opportunity to observe and learn from professionals in the field. Aspiring animal behaviorists may accompany researchers on field expeditions, participate in data collection, and gain insight into the daily responsibilities of a practicing behaviorist. This hands-on experience can be instrumental in shaping a successful career in animal behavior.


In conclusion, becoming an animal behaviorist in zoology requires a passion for animals, a strong educational background in biology and zoology, as well as hands-on experience working with a variety of animal species. By following the steps outlined in this article, individuals can embark on a rewarding career that allows them to study and understand the complex behaviors of animals in their natural habitats. With dedication and perseverance, aspiring animal behaviorists can make a positive impact on the field of zoology and contribute to the conservation and protection of wildlife around the world.