For people who aspire to work around animals in jobs at zoos, national parks, wildlife stations, or wildlife conservation groups, becoming a wildlife educator is the obvious goal. The primary work involves educating all ages of people about various aspects of care for animals and their habitat. An interest in preserving animals and their natural environment is the main qualification to be a wildlife educator, but there are others, and these need to be met before taking steps to become one.
Qualifications to Become a Wildlife Educator
Education requirements – depending on the type of organization that employs wildlife educators, such as jobs at national parks, zoos, or government positions, a college degree or a minimum amount of college credits are required in related subjects. Acceptable subjects often include environmental science, biology, veterinary technologies, zoology, and other such related fields of study.
However, there are usually little or no educational requirements for volunteering for non-paid positions, or for entry level jobs at non-profit wildlife conservation groups, other than a love of animals and a strong desire to care for them. Basically, a background in wildlife education is a plus, but it is not necessary to become a wildlife educator, although, hands-on experience with animal husbandry is a major advantage for landing an entry-level position.
Communication skills and the ability to work with children – most wildlife educators’ work with children and young adults, that is because children naturally love animals and are always curious to learn about them. Having patience to work with children, often in a school environment, and the ability to speak in front of groups of people for a few hours, is a definite requirement for becoming an effective wildlife educator.
Comfortable working with animals outdoors – this is a paramount requirement because wildlife educators need to handle and take care of the animals in the process of caring for them, and their environment. This includes maintaining animal hygiene by bathing animals and cleaning cages and designated areas.
For those interested in becoming a wildlife educator, then either volunteering at a wildlife conservation group, to get hands-on experience, or obtaining a job applications at a wildlife centre, for those with college level credits, is a great way to start a career as a wildlife educator.