How to Become a Herpetologist

Herpetologists work in a field of science that focuses on the study of amphibians and reptiles. Positions can be found in numerous divisions including working for the government, zoological parks and museums or within the sphere of academia as researchers and college professors. Herpetologists perform a variety of duties in their work that may include studying, researching, identifying and classifying the many species of amphibians and reptiles within the environment. Education and training are required to successfully enter the field. Here are some helpful tips and suggestions on how to become a herpetologist.


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    Make arrangements to meet with your guidance counselor if you are currently a high school student that plans to pursue a college degree in herpetology after graduation. You will need to include some foundation courses as preparatory work prior to starting your college coursework. Your guidance counselor can assist you with your curriculum.
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    Contact several colleges and universities that offer degree programs with an emphasis on herpetology if you have not yet applied for admission. Obtain detailed information about available programs and check to see if specialized areas of focus are offered.
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    Know that a basic requirement for becoming a herpetologist is to have a Bachelor's Degree with a concentration in biology. Your studies should be comprehensive and incorporate coursework focusing on reptile and amphibian biology, zoology, conservation and ecology, animal physiology and animal behavior.
    • Include additional coursework such as physics, chemistry and earth science. Biological studies will require that you have skills in statistics and advanced mathematics courses such as calculus. Develop your writing and research skills as well if you want to publish your work in peer-reviewed, professional and academic journals.
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    Realize that more advanced positions within the field of herpetology generally require a Master's Degree or a Doctorate Degree. Educational requirements depend on the type of position and responsibilities and whether you choose to focus on a specialized area during your studies.
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    Explore the option of completing an internship if you are currently enrolled in a college program in preparation for becoming a herpetologist. You can contact organizations directly yourself or work with your college career counselor to make arrangements.
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    Think about possible volunteer work at a national park or wildlife management center. Volunteer during the summer semesters when you are not in school.
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    Consider joining a science club or herpetology society to learn more about the field and to have the opportunity to perhaps get actively involved in projects that they may be sponsoring. Museums focusing on zoology or natural history are also a good place to acquire some additional knowledge.
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    Think about attending conferences and seminars for herpetologists. This is a great place to learn more about the science of herpetology and to meet others already working as herpetologists.
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    Register with a professional association that offers membership benefits to its associates. You will have access to a variety of publications and generally a newsletter in addition to other tools of the trade. Some associations may sponsor scholarships for those enrolled in college programs studying to be a herpetologist.
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    Realize that available openings for herpetologists are available but there is often keen competition among applicants. Prepare yourself with a good education and if possible gain some hands-on experience through some type of volunteer work in the field.
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    Browse the Internet and explore the numerous job boards for a position as a herpetologist if you are a recent college graduate. Also scan through job postings that are usually listed on the websites of professional associations and societies for herpetologists.
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    Persevere and be persistent during your search for a career as a herpetologist. Consider taking an entry-level position to start in order to gain valuable experience and you will gradually advance toward higher level positions with more responsibility.


  • Owning a snake, turtle, or other creature to gain experience could be a great way to rack up on some serious skills!

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Categories: Animal Care and Wildlife Occupations