Ethologist Job Description

Ethologist Job Description, Skills, and Salary

Are you searching for an ethologist job description? Get to know about the duties, responsibilities, qualifications, and skills requirements of an ethologist. Feel free to use our ethologist job description template to produce your own ethologist job description. We also provide you with information about the salary you can earn as an ethologist.


Who is an Ethologist?

Ethologists do research that advances the welfare of animals by studying them in a variety of contexts to comprehend their behaviors, explore how they interact with their surroundings, and publish findings. A  career as an ethnologist might be a fantastic choice for those who have a passion for animals and want to get involved in research.

They may research farm animals, wild animals, or cattle to learn more about their innate behavioral patterns. These researchers frequently work in groups to watch, document, and make conclusions about particular animal behaviors, such as those connected to locating food, delineating territories, rearing young, and fending off dangers. Some ethnologists do their research in the field by going to places where they may study animals in their natural habitats. Others conduct controlled experiments on animals by keeping them in captivity or by simulating natural habitats in lab settings.

Animal behavior researchers typically hold positions as comparative psychologists or ethologists. These experts’ work frequently shares objectives, fields of interest, and research techniques. Researchers in both subfields of animal behavior study observable animal behaviors and try to comprehend the underlying processes that underlie animal behavior. Ethologists may concentrate on how biological elements affect animal behavior, whereas comparative psychologists may concentrate more on understanding the cognitive processes that inspire behaviors and comparing them to psychological processes in humans.


Ethology is the ideal career path for animal enthusiasts. Ethologists examine animal behavior in its natural environment and search for behavioral patterns. Animals, whether domesticated or wild, exhibit certain innate and instinctive behaviors that can be studied scientifically in a variety of ways. Famous ethologist Jane Goodall spent decades researching chimpanzees in their natural habitat in Tanzania.

These experts typically work in research facilities or academic institutions and spend time in remote locations researching animals in their natural habitats. Some ethologists go on to study biology, zoology, and wildlife biology. Most ethnologists will focus on particular types of animal research. Ethologists can work at research organizations, colleges and universities, and other places. A lot of people deal with animals in their natural habitats, while others work in laboratories

Ethologists examine animal behavior and make an effort to comprehend its causes. Some ethologists work for governments, major corporations, and other businesses, proving that this is more than just a zoo research role. Working in this sector often requires a graduate degree.


Ethologists who conduct and take part in research initiatives need to understand how to generate money, frequently through luring investors or submitting grant applications. Graduate-level employees must frequently publish their study findings, which they can do by writing books or papers for academic journals that focus on ethological investigations. Ethologists must also feel at ease spending a lot of time away from home, which may entail working in isolated areas far from populated areas.

Researchers in the field and the lab by name ethologists attempt to comprehend the causes of animal behavior. A beginning ethologist may be able to work in research with only a bachelor’s degree, but individuals who want to run their teams and projects would be advised to pursue a graduate degree in ethology. Ethologists require strong communication skills, a willingness to travel, and the ability to raise research funding through grants or investors. Job growth in this field is predicted to be slow in the upcoming years.


An ethologist’s workplace determines their working environment. While some ethologists work with animals kept in captivity, others perform field research. For instance, an ethologist conducting fieldwork might visit isolated areas to examine various animal species in their natural settings or would go to agricultural places to explore the livestock that resides there. Others work in zoos, animal welfare centers, or private or public laboratories where they may conduct research on captive animals or perform instructional duties. Those who work in animal advocacy, zoo staff, and professors may be expected to balance teaching and research duties.

Ethologists’ work conditions vary greatly since they can conduct their research in such a wide range of locations. People who labor in the field could go on extended trips away from home to carry out their research. They might base the majority of their work on the routines of the animals they watch. For instance, they might work at night if they deal with nocturnal species. Even though many of them also work nights, weekends, and holidays to care for any animals living at their facility, those who operate in labs or other captive settings may have more traditional business hours.


Ethologist Job Description

What is an ethologist job description? An ethologist job description is simply a list of duties and responsibilities of an ethologist in an organization. Below are the ethologist job description examples you can use to develop your resume or write an ethologist job description for your employee. Employers can also use it to sieve out job seekers when choosing candidates for interviews.

The jobs and duties of an ethologist include the following:

  • Apply for grants and funding for research
  • Study animals in a lab, outdoor, or home environment
  • Create research projects and carry out trials in regulated settings
  • Collect and examine information on observations and findings
  • Publish their research findings and exhibit them at conferences
  • Spread awareness of animal issues and work to protect and care for them
  • Tutor and instruct college students
  • Engage in field research outside, which entails watching animals intently, noting associated behavior, taking pictures, and using other tools as necessary to record findings.
  • Understand how animals react when resting, eating, caring for their young, etc., and do controlled research on them in lab conditions.
  • Expand the scope of the work, seek funding to continue your research, and engage with investors.
  • Track animal behavior with other scientists, particularly that of rats, rabbits, and mice, to test drugs or observe how certain diseases affect the animals.



  • A deep understanding of biology, animal sciences, evolution, ecology, and genetics.
  • Typically, a graduate degree, preferably a doctorate, is required.
  • Skilled in biology, science, and mathematics.
  • Regard for animals and a willingness to work with them in challenging or perhaps dangerous situations.
  • Cognitive talents, as well as writing and research skills.
  • Desire to instruct others and comfort speaking in front of crowds.


Essential Skills

  • Communication: When participating in a research team, ethologists need effective communication abilities. Effective communication involves listening to others’ needs and viewpoints, communicating your own opinions and boundaries, and acting professionally both verbally and nonverbally at work. Ethologists that can effectively communicate with others are better able to collaborate and achieve their study objectives. Ethologists who publish their work and share their findings at conferences must also have strong writing and public speaking abilities.
  • The rationality of thought: The ability to gather and evaluate evidence to generate valid conclusions is known as analytical thinking. Ethologists and other scientists use this ability to assess the body of knowledge in their field, formulate crucial research questions, create successful studies, and interpret the findings of their investigations. They discover and address research issues using analytical thinking techniques, adding fresh information to the body of knowledge regarding animal behavior.
  • Observation: Animal behavior study relies heavily on observational techniques. Observing animals and noting their behavioral patterns in various contexts is an important part of the study done by ethologists. Since animals are unable to communicate verbally, ethologists must interpret animal body language to understand their motivations and how they respond to various environmental situations. To pinpoint environmental cues that cause behavioral responses in their subjects, they must pay meticulous attention to detail.
  • Handling animals: Because they study animals, ethologists occasionally need to handle the animals directly. Ethologists regularly come into contact with the creatures they research, particularly in a lab or other captive situation. To develop the abilities needed for ethical and safe animal handling, ethologists may require specialized training. They must handle animals in a way that promotes the animals’ welfare, safeguards their safety, and complies with the highest ethical standards for using animals in research.
  • Data evaluation: Expertise in data analysis is crucial for ethologists as scientists. Ethologists acquire specialized methods for collecting information, computing outcomes, and analyzing the results during their schooling. Understanding these methods enables them to make correct judgments based on the facts gathered. Ethologists can discover significant patterns in animal behavior that broaden their understanding of the organisms they study when they use sound data analysis techniques.


How to Become an Ethologist

  • Begin early: There are certain things you can do to get ready in advance if you’re a high school student now thinking about a career in ethology. For instance, enrolling in biology, chemistry, and statistics courses can give you a solid basis for studying these subjects in college. Additionally, attending English lessons will enhance your reading comprehension and writing abilities, which could be useful for you as a scientist as you read and produce research publications.

Additionally, look into volunteer opportunities to develop your abilities in dealing with teams of animal professionals and interacting with animals. A wonderful way to gain experience dealing with animals and improve their lives is to volunteer at a zoo, wildlife rescue, vet clinic, or nature reserve. This is an excellent opportunity to meet people who are already working in the industry. You can learn more about the work of an animal specialist by spending time with experienced professionals, which can help you decide whether an ethology career is the best fit for you.

  • Achieve a bachelor’s degree: To work in the discipline, ethologists normally need at least a bachelor’s degree. Students interested in a career in ethology typically pursue degrees in biology, chemistry, zoology, animal science, comparative psychology, or another related field. Four years of full-time study are normally needed to earn a bachelor’s degree. For students studying these topics, some typical coursework is as follows:
    • Behavioral hypotheses based on biology
    • Animal social behavior and animal cognition
    • Environmental science or ecology
    • Neurobiology
    • Comparative morphology
    • Animal adaptations and the theory of evolution

You may be eligible for some entry-level research work with a bachelor’s degree. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree frequently land positions as associates or research assistants. Although scientists in these roles are unable to plan and carry out their independent research projects, they are nevertheless able to work in a lab or field setting under the supervision of a principal investigator or senior researcher. These experts frequently handle tasks including maintaining research tools, looking after animal subjects, setting up lab environments, doing tests, recording data, and producing reports for the senior researcher.

  • Acquire field expertise: Consider looking for opportunities to obtain experience in the profession either after or while pursuing your bachelor’s degree. When applying for a job or graduate school, having field experience may make your application stand out from the competition. Volunteering, working as a research assistant, or taking part in an internship are a few ways that undergraduates might get involved in the subject. Some undergraduate students will have the chance to help their professors with their research projects, which will allow them to develop their research abilities, experience what it’s like to take part in professional research, and forge meaningful connections with their professors.

Participating in an internship throughout your degree program or soon after graduation is an additional choice. You can practice your research techniques while working in the field with trained and experienced professionals during an internship. Through networking with professionals who have already achieved success in the sector, internships can assist you in making contacts that could be useful for your job search.

  • Boost your career: Finally, a master’s or doctorate is typically required for many junior and senior roles in ethology research. A master’s degree typically requires two years of full-time study, and those who pursue one may learn more in-depth information on a certain area of ethology. For instance, some students may choose to specialize in a particular category of animals, such as cattle or marine species, while others may decide to get a master’s in laboratory administration to work in a laboratory. A master’s degree enables students to develop their research abilities, which may enable them to apply for more specialized research roles.

Typically, ethologists who want to work as senior scientists need a degree. A doctorate typically takes five to seven years to complete, depending on your prior academic preparation, school, and field of specialization. The completion of an independent research project and a period of classroom study are requirements for doctoral program programs to become authorities in their field of study and conduct independent scientific studies after earning a Ph.D. doctor.  Ph.D. holders can find employment as senior laboratory administrators, college instructors, and lead investigators.


Where to Work as an Ethologist

  1. Zoo
  2. Animal Welfare Center
  3. Private or public laboratories for animals.


Ethologist Salary Scale

In the United States, Ethologists typically make $57,710 annually or $27.74 per hour. Newcomers to the sector, who often have the least experience, made an average of $37,100 annually, or $17.84 per hour, as opposed to top earners in the 90th percentile, who made an average of $95,430 annually, or $45.88 per hour.

In the United Kingdom, starting pay might vary widely depending on the position, the business, and your education, training, and experience; however, they are normally in the range of £18,000 to £25,000.

With expertise, ethologists may make between £25,000 and £30,000 annually.

Senior ethologists that oversee a team or are senior researchers could make up to £45,000+ annually.

Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources

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