How to become a herpetologist

how to become a herpetologist

What is a Herpetologist?

How Do I Get a Herpetologist Degree? Nearly all positions in this field require at least a bachelor of arts (B.A.) or a bachelor of science (B.S.) degree in biology or a closely related field. A few schools offer undergraduate programs in herpetology, natural history, and invertebrate zoology. Jul 26, The specific training required for a career in herpetology varies according to ones goals. In virtually all cases a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology is required. Courses in inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry, calculus, physics and/or earth science should be taken.

Herpetology is the study of amphibians and reptilesand it is a relatively limited field that is competitive to enter. It's not always clear-cut how people become a herpetologist since experts have approached this in a number of different ways. Some rely only on field training to learn and understand this area of bow and others have extensive formal training in wildlife biology or specifically in herpetology.

Deciding to specialize in this work takes planning, thinking, and a willingness to train in a variety of areas. Perhaps the best-known herpetologist who was not university trained was Steve Irwin, also known as the Crocodile Hunter.

Irwin's personality made him a popular television star until his untimely death in Irwin received his training by working for many years at the Australia Zoo initially founded by his father. He also had extensive fieldwork experience, particularly with Australian reptiles. Posthumously, herppetologist received at least one adjunct professorship, and he published extensively becomd his lifetime.

The usual path to become a herpetolpgist involves studying biology and possibly zoology with emphasis on studies in lizard and amphibian species. A few universities actually have programs, often at the master's level, that are specifically designed to specialize in herpetology. Since these are few hepretologist number, what do what you feel is right quotes people do instead is find good wildlife biology or zoology programs where they can explore this interest scholastically.

Getting herpetllogist bachelor's degree in biology or zoology is a good place to start before searching s programs that will support extensive studies on reptiles and amphibians.

In addition to university study, many people participate in different types of fieldwork during or after formal education. Fieldwork to become a herpetologist can take many forms. Some people work in zoos or natural history museums, others volunteer for conservation agencies, and some might find internships studying specific reptile or amphibian species. Those who go on to get doctorates in zoology, or some type of biology could design their own studies, get grants, and undertake herpetloogist fieldwork.

Others looking for work might participate in these studies, usually in summer months when school is not in session. It's pretty clear hrepetologist education to a certain level is brcome defining factor for most people in this field.

Many people can't become a herpetologist without it, but type of education may vary. A TV host like Animal Planet's Jeff Corwin refers to himself as a herpetologist though his master's degree is in wildlife and fisheries conservation. Part of studies and claiming this title is specialization in studies niagara falls how to get there from new york work, and another part may simply be determining that a person has sufficient education to claim the title without others in the field objecting.

She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Why Become A Herpetologist

What Type of Education Is Required to Become a Herpetologist? Entry-level positions require that individuals hold a bachelor's degree in zoology or wildlife biology. Undergraduate-level academics for these majors include courses in ecology, biology, chemistry, conservation, statistics, and . The usual path to become a herpetologist involves studying biology and possibly zoology with emphasis on studies in lizard and amphibian species. A few universities actually have programs, often at the master's level, that are specifically designed to specialize in herpetology.

So you want to be a herpetologist? That is an admirable choice, but you should have a strong desire to study reptiles and amphibians for the road to a career in herpetology is not an easy one but it is an interesting one. Below is a description of how to become a herpetologist, originally written in , but still very relevant today! In addition, here some some links to other helpful resources:.

Whitfield Gibbons and Michael Dorcas. How Can I Become a Herpetologist? Whitfield Gibbons. In reality, herpetology is a sub-field of biology. Jobs in biology traditionally fall into four areas: college and university employment, government work including state and federal , medical related work, and zoological park or museum staff.

More recently, industrial and medical biotechnology have emerged as areas with new and exciting opportunities for biological research. What all of these jobs have in common is training in a biological field. The herpetological emphasis is put there by the worker! For example, a person might be trained in ecology and do environmental impact studies for the government. If that person is also a herpetologist, reptiles and amphibians might be the animals studied to evaluate changes in the environment.

A medical research with training in hematology might, if interested in herpetology, study blood of reptiles and amphibians. It is rare to find a job that considers someone to be a herpetologist first! Years ago it was possible for individuals to study amphibians and reptiles on their own, perhaps by maintaining large collections of animals or by studying them in the wild, and learn enough to get a position at a zoo or museum as a herpetologist. Today, however, techniques for conducting nearly any biological study have become so sophisticated, and competition for jobs has become so intense, that a college degree is a necessity in order to pursue a career in herpetology.

Often an advanced degree masters or doctorate in biology, anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, or some related field is required for almost any specialized job.

Many, if not most, herpetologists today are employed at colleges or universities and an advanced degree is usually a condition of employment at such institutions.

In virtually all cases a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology is required. Statistics is now a necessary tool in biological studies and courses in this area are essential. A great deal of herpetological research is conducted in other countries and facility in one or more foreign languages allows one to follow such activities in other nations. As in other branches of science, computer literacy is indispensable and students should enroll in courses that provide training in computer use.

Any college that provides a strong background in the sciences, mathematics and English also provides the basis for a career in herpetology. But if you are seriously interested in pursuing herpetology as a career you might want to attend a college that also offers a course in herpetology or at least in natural history or vertebrate zoology and has one or more faculty members conducting herpetological research.

You can then write to the institutions or authors and ask for further information about their programs. Another reason to look at herpetological journals, which may be found in college or natural history museum libraries, is to give you some idea of the broad scope of herpetological research and to help you narrow down your interest.

Nevertheless, many graduates obtain jobs in museums or zoos working with exhibits and live animals and dealing with the public. Others work in research laboratories assisting investigators with their projects; such positions exist at larger colleges and in certain government agencies. Students with a broad interest in natural history may find jobs in local, state, or national parks as park naturalists or certain large companies as environmental specialists; a knowledge of herpetology can be particularly useful in these positions.

In addition, there are many fields veterinary assistant, biomedical salesperson, biology teacher where positions less herpetologically related are also available. Students who continue their education through to the masters or doctorate degree usually find employment where they have greater freedom to pursue their own interests, the salary is higher, and the responsibilities are greater. Most individuals with a Ph. Herpetological research is often conducted in the field, which involves the collection, marking or observation of organisms, or the analysis of environmental conditions associated with particular populations.

However, other herpetologists have a strong interest in laboratory research and spend little time in the field. Studies in physiology, immunology, embryology, genetics, anatomy, and biochemistry are usually conducted in a laboratory, while research in ecology, behavior, population biology, systematics, reproductive biology, and biogeography involve significant amounts of field work.

In all cases, however, data have to be analyzed, summarized, and eventually published in a scientific journal. The goal of herpetological research, as with other branches of biology, is to learn as much as possible about our special interest and to communicate this knowledge to others. Publication of this research in journals is how scientific knowledge is communicated and most employers look for people who have shown an ability to do research and also to publish it.

Developing writing skills should therefore be considered a must in college. The main thing is if you want to be a herpetologist, try it! The study of animal biology can be a continuing interest and challenge for the rest of your life, and it will serve you well no matter what career you ultimately choose. Henri C. Ralph W. Martin J. This page was initiated on 13 April Of course, we do not expect that it will answer all your questions, or that it will answer your questions completely.

But it should provide many answers, and as always you are encouraged to contact us with additional questions. But one of the best ways is to use a major search engine and plug in the words herpetology course. You can also add a state name, etc to refine your search. We are in the process of building a database, and will make it available when it gets to a useful size.

To do herpetological research as a university faculty member or museum curator presently requires a PhD and usually a history of successful grant-writing. However, there are a fair number of persons doing high-quality, accepted research in herpetology who have no higher degree.

They are scholars in every sense of the word who are self-taught, and who went out and collected animals, made careful observations, read a lot, and talked to others at professional meetings. One of the leading authorities on Mexican herpetology is a pharmaceuticals salesman in Louisiana. One of the leading authorities on Kansas USA herps, just now retired, never finished college. But note that the emphasis of this section is jobs in herpetology; doing good research does not guarantee a salary for it!

What kind of benefits does a herpetologist get? Do you get medical and dental benefits, and retirement? It is important to begin to cultivate contacts through joining any State herpetological society or similar groups.

Many have Web sites. Membership typically is a broad cross-section of society persons with jobs in diverse fields, who share an interest in herpetology. Some members almost surely will be university faculty; others may work in State non-game wildlife programs; some will be students; others will be interested hobbyists with no job-link to herpetology at all. I know of no undergraduate program that offers herpetology as a sole concentration; it simply is too narrow a field, though at many schools a herpetology COURSE or two will be offered.

How can a person, who because of young age or lack of formal schooling, learn about reptile and amphibian behavior other than by reading books?

Books and scientific journals contain a wealth of information unavailable on the Web. Keeping herps as pets is an enjoyable way to observe habits and get to know species, but it has its own drawbacks in that care is constantly required, even when on vacation or off to college some species live a LONG time!

Do not expect to be allowed to work with live animals at once; zoo policy or insurance regulations may in fact prohibit non-employees from so doing. And, sometimes good-quality volunteer work can lead to a paying job. Volunteer work should be planned as a regular part of the week, so supervisors know they can depend upon a volunteer showing up, even if for a couple of hours MWF or whatever all agree is useful. Volunteering to help a college faculty member with research interests can be a similarly good experience that allows a lot of learning as a benefit.

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