Do you not remember those early days of childhood when you were fascinated by the diversity of animal life around you? While on a school trip to the zoo, while chasing butterflies, trying to breed the fish in an aquarium, striving hard to identify the birds hiding amidst the trees by listening to its sound – we all have once nurtured this fascination within us. If this enthusiasm has never left you since then I know the right place for you to be. Have you ever considered zoology as a career option?
Zoology, in other words, is animal biology. It is nothing but the science of studying the classification, behavior, habitat, and physiology of the entire animal kingdom. Unlike other science subjects, graduation in zoology provides you a vast array of career options. The interesting thing about Zoology is that it will not force you to sit back in your science lab and do your research. You must go out because your lab lies outside in the world.
What to study after BSc Zoology?
B.sc Zoology is technically an opening door to many specialized Master’s programs like Food Science technology, Toxicology, Biotechnology, etc. So, you don’t have to go for conservative courses like M.sc Zoology or M.sc Ecology, if you don’t really want to. But that depends on your interest in the branches of zoology.
If your plan is to enter into teaching elementary zoology in colleges or to research, go for M.sc in Zoology or M.sc in Ecology. There are various universities which offer the course in India like JNU, Hyderabad University, BHU, Pondicherry University, etc. The minimum eligibility to appear for the entrance examination is a bachelor’s degree with 55% marks in either Zoology or in Botany (for ecology).
Forensic Science and Toxicology
Forensic Science and Toxicology is a fascinating course for those who wish to directly apply their scientific skills in day to day life. It is basically a crime-solving profession and due to the increasing rate of crimes and criminals, the odds of getting a job is high.
A trained forensic scientist may get hired by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) & Intelligence Bureau (IB). You can also freelance as forensic scientists specializing in one segment & get paid a lot. You can also work as a legal counselor after gaining experience as a Forensic Scientist.
There are N number of colleges in the country that offer post-graduation courses in Forensics and Toxicology such as the Government Institute of Forensic Science, Aurangabad, Gujarat Forensic Sciences University and Institute of Forensic Science and Criminology, Bundelkhand.
Food Science and Nutrition
M.sc Food Science and Nutrition is a 2-year postgraduate course that allows you to study food production, food quality, and development. Some candidates who want to become a nutritionist or dietician opt for one-year diploma courses as well. But that will limit you from getting into a higher position in a company or any other organisation that hires you. Recent changes in the lifestyle and food habits of people have made this field a relevant one, offering a vast number of career opportunities.
The nature of jobs related to Food science is quality control, quality testing, food processing technologies, etc. Public sector undertakings such as ‘Food Corporation of India’ and many other private food processing companies are out there to hire a well-qualified food scientist.
Indian Forest Service (IFS)
Indian Forest Service (IFS) is one among group A All India Services. Only candidates holding a bachelor’s degree in Animal Husbandry & Veteran Sciences, Botany, Chemistry, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics or Zoology can apply for the post.
Anyway, the mandate of an IFS officer is the implementation of the National Forest Policy to ensure environmental stability and ecological balance. This makes a Zoology graduate more than eligible for the post. Candidates who desire to select this career path will have to write the common Civil Service Examination and qualify for the IFS main examination.
If you are keen on taking forward your expertise and interest in zoology, contributing to the existing knowledge pool simultaneously, you can start working as a research scientist for various firms. Not just universities and research institutes, a wide range of employers including technical consultancies, laboratories, hospitals, health sector institutions, pharmaceutical corporations, etc. They hire scholars of zoology to conduct research for them. You get to work in the lab or outside, conducting experiments and observations, just like any research scholar. You get to explore the creative side of the subject, can be acquainted with both academia and industry, all these with exciting salary and fellowships.
Zoo curation may sound a little unorthodox but it is a demanding career requiring candidates skilled in both management and animal science. The duties of a zoo curator include Selecting and acquiring new animals for the zoo, making decisions involving animal husbandry, diets, veterinary care, quarantine procedures, enrichment activities, animal transportation, and research projects, supervising zoo employees, including keepers, educators, veterinarians, support staff, volunteers, etc.
A graduate degree along with sufficient experience is enough to become an entry-level zookeeper. Your performance and further educational qualifications will help you become a curator in the zoo.
This one is really an unorthodox career path for a science graduate. But it is a demanding career if you have an artistic nose as well as a basic understanding of animal science. There will be certain species that are endangered or not commonly seen in a particular geographical area. An orthodox photographer will not be knowing its biological importance but one with a basic understanding of the animal kingdom will.
As with any type of photography career, you will require a diploma in photography that can be obtained after pursuing a bachelor’s degree in zoology. There are many private institutes like ‘Creative hut Institute of Photography’ (located in Kerala) that offers specialized course in wildlife photography. Or you can obtain any photography diploma as well. The best way to start a career is by assisting any prominent wildlife photographer by contacting them and thereby becoming a veteran.
One interesting aspect of choosing zoology as a graduate course is that almost all the career options you have in hand after is well paid and socially acclaimed. All the above-discussed jobs can fetch you an annual income ranging from 4 to 10 lakh on an average. However, sheer passion is the key to such jobs. Even if you drift your path towards ecology, environmental sciences or nutrition, you ought to be sure that you enjoy the field that you chose. The course even provides chances to travel and explore a lot. Depending upon the stream you choose, you can make the most out of zoology in many ways. This diversity of choices is what makes zoology desirable in the first place.