An ethologist is a scientist or a professional who specialises in studying animal behaviours. They are also called animal behaviourists. Starting a career as an ethologist can be fulfilling for those who love animals and love to participate in research. This career path can be an excellent option because it will allow you to practise both areas. As an ethologist, you will study domestic livestock as well as wildlife. Generally, you will work closely with animals to gain a deeper understanding of their behavioural patterns.


Ethologists are in high demand by a wide range of employers across industries. Additionally, you can work as an ethologist or a comparative psychologist. Starting a career as an ethnologist can allow you to explore various career options. You can have careers such as a biologist, zoologist and wildlife biologist. Additionally, you can work in places such as colleges, universities, research institutions, pharmaceutical companies and more.


This is an interesting career path and knowing the steps to take in pursuing this career can enable you to have an excellent start in your career.


Steps to Pursue a Career as an Ethologist

  1. Obtain an O’level Certificate

    You must study science subjects such as Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and English language. You have to get a minimum of credits in these subjects. This will give you the basic foundation you need to further learn in this field.

  2. Earn a Bachelor’s degree

    This is the first step to kick-starting your career as an ethnologist. You have to apply to an accredited university. You can obtain a bachelor’s degree in disciplines such as biology, zoology, ecology, animal sciences and wildlife sciences. Additionally, you should ensure that your disciples contain coursework such as animal behaviour, ecology, evolutionary biology and statistics.

  3. Gain Practical Experience

    You can gain practical experience by participating in internships and research. You must visit local zoos or wildlife ranches to get involved and gain hands-on experience. Additionally, you should continue participating in extracurricular activities that will help you develop your abilities.

  4. Earn a Master’s degree

    Though it is possible to get a job with a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree will make you more competitive than your colleagues. Additionally, you can be able to gain knowledge in a specialisation in this field.

  5. Consider earning a PhD.

    A PhD will be beneficial if you are primarily interested in conducting independent research or teaching at a university. Additionally, it will allow you to contribute to the body of knowledge in ethology.

  6. Gain Research Experience

    You can participate in research projects or internships to gain research experience. Additionally, you can also participate in field studies. This will enable you to gain hands-on experience to carry out professional research experiences in the future. You will also develop skills such as observational skills, field methodologies, statistical techniques and data analysis.

  7. Choose a Specialisation

    You can decide to focus on a particular area of ethology. You must start working and doing research in your field of interest very early. This will enable you to gain the skills and experiences to become an expert.

  8. Stay Updated with Research Findings

    Ethology is a research-oriented field. You need to stay updated on the latest results and trends. This requires one to remain current with scientific journals.


Types of Ethologists

  1. Applied Ethologists

    Ethologists can work in fields that are applied, such as agriculture, conservation, or animal welfare. They use their expertise to tackle real-world problems, such as enhancing agricultural practices, creating conservation plans, and providing better living conditions for animals kept in captivity.

  2. Marine Ethologists

    These ethologists focus exclusively on studying marine animals and their behaviours in watery settings. They study areas such as sea turtle nesting habits, whale migration patterns and dolphin social dynamics.

  3. Cognitive Ethologists

    Cognitive ethologists study aspects of perception, learning, memory, problem-solving, and decision-making with an emphasis on animal mental processes.

  4. Primate Ethologists

    These specialists focus on studying non-human primates such as monkeys and apes.

  5. Classical Ethologists

    These ethologists research an animal’s innate patterns and behaviours. Additionally, they frequently concentrate on genetically determined, historically evolved behaviours unique to a given species.

  6. Comparative Ethologists

    Comparative ethology sheds light on the evolution of behaviour and enables researchers to understand the adaptive significance of specific behaviours in various ecological contexts. Therefore, researchers in this field compare behaviours across species to find similarities and differences.

  7. Avian Ethologists

    These scientists investigate the behaviour of birds, encompassing a broad spectrum of subjects such as communication, mating habits, and migration.


Workplace of an Ethologist

  1. Conservation Centres
  2. Government Agencies
  3. Research Organisations
  4. Zoos and Aquariums
  5. Academic Institutions
  6. Museums
  7. Consulting firms
  8. Private Companies(pharmaceuticals etc)


A career in ethology offers exposure to an exciting field with a variety of employment opportunities for individuals with an interest in the biology, behaviour, and ecology of animals. You will have the chance to improve the natural world and have a positive influence on animal species conservation as an ethologist. Additionally, this professional path also provides opportunities for ongoing education and professionalism in light of recent scientific and technological developments.


Good luck!

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