How to Become a Wildlife Manager: Career Guide
Those who become wildlife managers have a keen interest in biodiversity and the protection of our natural resources; but it takes than that.
To become a wildlife manager, you also need the right education, experience, skill set and attitude.
If you’re interested in a career as a wildlife manager but don’t know where to start, this wildlife manager career guide will teach you just about everything you need to get started.
Education Needed to Become a Wildlife Manager
Although the specific education requirements needed to become a wildlife manager can vary depending on the discretion of the employer, it is typical for wildlife managers to posses an undergraduate degree in areas such as wildlife management, natural resource management, forestry, botany, zoology, or environmental science.
Although some of these degree programs may not be meant to specifically prepare students for careers as wildlife managers, they will be of great benefit to these future professionals as long as they teach students knowledge, skills and competencies in the physical sciences relevant to wildlife management, as well as environmental management.
Specific courses in these undergraduate programs may include restoration ecology, wildlife management, range land ecology and conservation biology, soil science, economics, agricultural engineering technology and sustainable resource management.
Wildlife Manager Job Description
Wildlife managers are responsible for ensuring that groups of animals affected by human development activities are safe and healthy. They must keep track of animal populations residing on or near public and private lands.
Wildlife Manager Job Duties
• May perform research and data collection in order to aid in the wildlife management decision making process
• Develop effective wildlife management plans
• May be involved in providing guidance regarding the creation of wildlife related legislation
• Work to preserve the habitat and food supply of animals who are threatened by human development activities
• Control nuisance animals
• Taking blood and tissue samples from animals to measure the amount of accumulated substances in their bodies
• Taking soil, plant and water samples to have them tested for pollutants
• Ensure that hunting is conducted in the healthiest way for the hunted animal's population
• Must be prepared to deal with sick, hurt or aggressive wild animals
• Provide assistance and information to the public concerning wildlife and its interaction with human populations and development
How to Get a Job as a Wildlife Manager
Make a list of all of the government departments, conservation organizations, and other possible employers that are posting jobs in the field of wildlife management. Visit their websites and find out what the requirements of the positions are. You may need further education or training, or perhaps you meet all of the necessary qualifications to be hired as a wildlife manager.
If you have all of the necessary qualifying education and certification towards becoming a wildlife manager, your next step is to submit your application.
If you don’t meet all of the necessary qualifications, consider applying for entry-level positions with the agencies, government departments or organizations. Learning the necessary skills from experienced professionals can be a great way to ensure you meet all of the requirements in the future. This is also a great way to get your foot in the door with an employer.
Tip for Success: Many employers provide details of what attributes their ideal candidates will posses. Ensure your resume reflects the job posting!
Who Hires Wildlife Managers?
Wildlife managers can either work in the public or the private sector. The federal government is the largest employer of wildlife managers, although any agency, firm or governmental departments that need someone to manage wildlife usually employ them. Possible employers include:
• Animal sanctuaries or reserves
• Conservation organizations
• Land reclamation companies
• Municipal, provincial/state or federal government
• Private consulting firms
Find Job Postings for Wildlife Managers
Wildlife Manager Salary
The salary level of wildlife managers can vary, typically depending on the following factors:
• Their level of education
• Their level of experience
• The size and type of their employer
• The region in which they work
There is no salary information available from reliable sources for the career Wildlife Manager. We can however, get a good idea of what they earn by looking at the salary level of workers in the general occupational group that wildlife managers belong to.
Wildlife Manager Salary Alberta: According to the 2013 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, the average salary level of Albertans working in the Conservation and Fishery Officers occupational group is $58,393 per year.
Wildlife Manager Salary Canada: According to Service Canada, the average salary level of Canadian workers in the Conservation and Fishery Officers occupational group is $52,942 per year.
Wildlife Manager Salary United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average mean level of American workers in the Fish and Game Wardens occupational group is $50,470 per year.
Desirable Skills of Wildlife Managers
The following is a list of attributes that may be a requirement of employment as a wildlife manager. If they are not a requirement of employment, they are almost always considered excellent assets to have when applying for wildlife manager jobs.
Wildlife Manager Specific Skills
• Knowledge and experience in the field of wildlife/natural resources management
• Knowledge of the legislation concerning wildlife management
• An understanding of the balance of needs between human development and wildlife protection
• Must be able to make decisions aimed at a certain species while taking into consideration the entire ecosystem
• An understanding of ecological principles such as carrying capacity, disturbance and succession
• Familiarity with techniques management techniques such as reforestation, pest control, nitrification and de-nitrification, irrigation, coppicing and hedge laying
• The ability to work with dangerous, nuisance, sick and injured wild animals
• Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
• The ability to work with minimal supervision
• Volunteer experience in the community
• Work experience in a position involving responsibility and trust
• Work experience in a position involving significant interaction with the public
• Ability to speak and understand a second language
• First Aid and/or CPR certification is typically considered an asset
Tip for Success: The more of these attributes you have, the greater an asset you will be to a potential employer!
Working Conditions for Wildlife Managers
Work Environment: Wildlife managers may work indoors, or outdoors, depending on the duties for the particular day. The outdoor work of wildlife manager may involve extreme weather conditions and rough terrain. Travel may be required in this job for fieldwork, typically by car or boat, but may include traveling by unconventional means such as horseback, snowmobile, canoe, helicopter and others.
Physical Demands: There is a degree of physical risk involved in a career as a wildlife manager; wildlife managers may have to deal with nuisance or injured wild animals when performing their jobs, and this comes with its fair share of risk.
Hours of Work: Wildlife manager typically work a variety of hours, often working normal weekday working hours while conducting research and developing effective management plans. Overtime may be required on short notice to respond to injured or nuisance wildlife, to respond to legal violations, or to provide educational outreach services.
Careers Similar to Wildlife Manager
Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to Wildlife Manager, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.
References: Wildlife Manager Career
Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a wildlife manager.
Alberta Learning and Information Service website: alis.alberta.ca
Government of Newfoundland Department of Environment and Conservation website: www.env.gov.nl.ca
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources website: www.mnr.gov.on.ca
Service Canada website: www.servicecanada.gc.ca
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website: www.bls.gov
Scholarships for Becoming a Wildlife Manager
Scholarships in Canada and the United States listed for all majors that apply to becoming a Wildlife Manager can be found on the following pages:
Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!
Becoming a Wildlife Manager: Applicable Majors
Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a wildlife manager. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!