Do you like being outdoors? Do you enjoy gathering data?

Then becoming an ecologistmight be the right career for you.

Animals in a forest playing musical instruments

Ecologists shine a light on what is going on in the natural world to help us make the right choices for the future!

What's involved?

As an ecologist, you'll communicate with different professionals such as engineers and botanists to help people learn more about what is going on in nature — but you'll spend a lot of time doing fieldwork independently.

3 polar bears walking through nature. River is in background and purple flowers in foreground.

Typical job duties include:

  • Taking outdoor samples and surveys on water, plants, and/or animals

  • Looking at plant and animal data

  • Using software to analyze the results of fieldwork

  • Creating reports and presenting them to others

What sort of qualifications do I need?

To progress to a senior or supervisory ecologist position, you'll need a graduate or doctorate degree in ecology or a similar field in environmental science.

Having an interest in the following fields can be helpful:

  • biology

  • calculus

  • chemistry

  • computer science

Where do ecologists work?

Ecologists can work in a variety of settings such as:

  • offices — looking at data and reports, having meetings, and using computer models

  • labs — processing samples and doing lab experiments

  • outdoors — studying wildlife and plants, collecting data and samples

What is the pay like?

You may think that ecologists don't make much money, but you might be surprised!

The base salary in the US is between $40,000 to $77,000 and in Canada the base salary is between $40,000 to $82,000 per year.

What are the pros and cons?

Are you still wondering if being an ecologist is the right job for you? Then take a look at this pros and cons list.


  • Spending lots of time outdoors

  • Helping keep habitats clean

  • Working independently

  • Educating the public and private sector


  • Field works is physically demanding

  • Lots of travel

  • Irregular working hours

  • High level of accuracy needed

Woman pondering pros and cons


Which of these people might make a good ecologist? Select all that apply.

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