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Immigrate to the U.S. as a Wildlife Biologist

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Wildlife biologists research and observe animals in the wild and share their findings with the public. The field of biology is vast and includes microbiology, marine biology, molecular and cellular biology, and plant biology. Understanding the requirements for this career will make it easier to immigrate to the U.S. as a wildlife biologist.

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Wildlife biologists are critical thinkers passionate about preserving wildlife and their habitats. They use their analytical skills and decision-making prowess in the laboratory when researching and planning. Their determination and passion are concentrated on protecting various ecosystems, including rainforests, grasslands, and oceans.

 

In this article, we will discuss the steps necessary to become a wildlife biologist and how to immigrate to the U.S. as a wildlife biologist.

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What Does a Wildlife Biologist Do?

Wildlife biology is the study of animals in their natural habitat. A wildlife biologist conducts studies to understand animal populations in their natural habitat. They keep records, organize and present findings, and run experiments.

 

Wildlife biologists may interact with animals to identify their needs, so this is one of the top jobs for animal lovers. They can also work for governments or animal advocacy groups, making policy recommendations and advocating for habitat protection.

 

Becoming a Wildlife Biologist

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

A bachelor’s degree helps you learn foundational knowledge in various scientific disciplines. Consider a bachelor’s degree in biology, ecology, or zoology. Generally, this degree takes around four years to complete and is often a requirement for field research, laboratory research, or teaching positions as a wildlife biologist. It’s also the starting point for higher degrees, such as a doctorate or master’s.

 

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Pursue a Master’s Degree

If you want to prepare for a more advanced position in the field, consider a master’s degree in wildlife biology. A master’s degree expands on the foundational knowledge you learned in your bachelor’s program and is usually where you can choose a specialization.

 

For instance, you might choose entomology, or the study of insects, for your master’s program. You can get this graduate degree in two to three years. This degree level is often a requirement for teaching positions.

 

Gain Field Experience

Consider an apprenticeship, internship, or another program to help you gain experience researching in the field or a laboratory. This experience can help you learn to apply the knowledge you know in your college programs to direct work in your field.

 

Also, you may volunteer to assist your college’s biology professor with a research project. This experience can enhance a resume, too, potentially increasing your chances of getting a job in the future.

 

Consider a Professional Certification

Consider earning a professional certification from The Wildlife Society to demonstrate your commitment to the field. Getting an Associate Wildlife Biologist or Certified Wildlife Biologist credential may help you qualify for higher-paying positions.

 

It can also show future employers that you’re passionate about biology. Specific certifications allow you to work on more advanced projects or gain project funding. Certification completion times vary by program.

 

Expand your Professional Network

As you gain more experience in your industry, you’re likely to meet different people. These people, whether professors, fellow biology students, or field biologists, can offer you an opportunity to expand your network. In addition to meeting fellow biologists in your local area, you can meet people by joining scientific societies such as the Society for Conservation Biology or the Wildlife Society.

 

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A strong network can help you find new job opportunities and participate in various projects, so it’s essential to cultivate these relationships. Certain people, such as mentors, company executives, and more, can help you find funding or work in biology and keep you updated on the field’s advancements.

 

Average Salary and Job Outlook for Wildlife Biologists in the U.S.

According to ZipRecruiter, the average annual salary for wildlife biologists in the U.S. is $61,100. The range of salaries in this role can vary from $22,500 to $105,500. Your salary may differ depending on your experience level, employer, or region.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts little to no change in the job outlook for wildlife biologists by 2030. There are approximately 17,100 wildlife biologists and zoologists in the United States. B.L.S. expects this number to increase by 100 by 2030. 

 

Immigrate to the U.S. as a Wildlife Biologist Under the EB3 Visa

This U.S. visa allows:

  • Skilled workers who have completed at least two years of job experience or training.
  • Professionals who can prove they have a higher educational degree or equivalent, such as a Bachelor’s Degree.
  • Unskilled workers who have less than two years of work experience or training. Unskilled workers get the EW-3 visa.

 

The EB3 visa is limited in the number of visas issued per year. Of the 140,000 immigrant visas issued for the employment category, 28.6% or around 40,040 visas are allocated for the EB3. After this quota is reached for the year, the rest of the applications are put on hold for the following year.

 

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What are the Benefits of the EB3 Visa?

With an EB3 visa, you can immigrate to the U.S. as a wildlife biologist, live there permanently, and work without obtaining an Employment Authorization Document (E.A.D.). You can switch employers and positions after a few years at the same job.

 

Also, you can get a Green Card and are required to pay all taxes applicable to them. You are allowed to travel within and outside the U.S., as well as live in a different state in the U.S. than the one you first moved to.

 

Wildlife Biologist Requirements

1. Education

Wildlife biologists often require at least a bachelor’s degree to work in this field. An undergraduate degree generally takes four years to complete and includes classes in biology, ecology, environmental science, wildlife management, chemistry, physics, statistics, and conservation. The most common majors for wildlife biologists include:

  • Biology: This degree provides students with a foundation in natural science and requires classes on population biology, molecular biology, microbiology, evolution, and immunology.
  • Ecology: This major teaches students the basics of biology, chemistry, physics, and genetics and includes coursework on animal behavior, wetland ecology, and zoology.
  • Zoology: This program helps students master the biology of animal life and includes courses on physiology, marine biology, molecular biology, conservation, and ecology.

 

Many people in this field also hold a master’s degree in wildlife biology. This degree typically takes two to three years to complete and can prepare wildlife biologists for advanced positions. Many wildlife biologists who conduct independent or academic research hold a doctorate.

 

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2. Training

Most employers require wildlife biologists to undergo on-the-job training programs. Depending on the company, training may last a few weeks, a month, or longer. Other training may come in the form of internships while studying or working as a research assistant.

 

Training can include learning research processes, learning documentation styles, and learning about different animal behavior patterns. It may also involve using specific instruments or scientific tools to perform research.

 

3. Certifications

Although wildlife biologists aren’t typically required to hold professional certifications, many opt to pursue one to show their commitment to the field and to increase their earning potential. The Wildlife Society administers the two certifications above:

  • Associate Wildlife Biologist: This credential is available to those who have met the Wildlife Society’s academic standards and shown commitment to the profession’s ethical standards. This certification is valid for ten years and requires providing academic transcripts.
  • Certified Wildlife Biologist: Candidates can earn this credential if they have met the Associate Wildlife Biologist certification requirements and gained at least five years of work experience in the field. This credential is valid for five years and requires submitting academic transcripts and professional references.
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