Pursuing a career in ecology entails that you have the required education, training and skills to meet the job description. Ecologists use interdisciplinary knowledge and experience from the sciences to address environmental concerns and safeguard species and ecosystems. Pursuing a career in ecology will give you the skills to examine the natural world such as animals and plants.


To comprehend, predict and maintain the health of the natural world, ecologists study the interactions between various types of plants and animals and the environments in which they live. You need to have a good understanding of science while pursuing a career in ecology. Additionally, you can also become an ecologist by starting your career as a biologist. 


In this piece, I will discuss the processes to take to acquire the required education and experience needed to have a successful career in ecology.


Steps to Start a Career in Ecology

  1. Obtain an O’level Certificate

    The first step to take when pursuing a career in ecology is to have a strong foundation in science. This will enable you to have a chance of getting admitted to the university. Additionally, you will have the ability to cope with your courses at the university. Furthermore, you should have a minimum of credits in your O’level examinations.

  2. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

    You need to obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. You can pursue a bachelor’s degree in ecology, biology, environmental science, zoology or a related field. During your period as an undergraduate, you will undertake a combination of theoretical and practical courses. This will give you a thorough understanding of the course.

  3. Gain Relevant Experiences

    While obtaining your undergraduate degree and after, you must gain practical experience in this field. You can do this through internships, volunteering and entry-level jobs. You can apply to a zoo, research institute or a related place. This experience will give you hands-on experience and improve your skills. Additionally, you can have access to experts and senior colleagues who can guide you in your career path.

  4. Choose an Area of Specialisation

    You can have a particular area or field to specialise in ecology. This is important as it can enable you to channel your focus and knowledge to a niche. Additionally, you can gain expertise in that field and relevance in your industry. You can specialise in areas such as terrestrial ecology, marine ecology, etc.

  5. Pursue a Master’s Degree

    A master’s degree is important because ecology is a competitive role. People with master’s have access to more opportunities and higher earning potential.

  6. Join a Professional Association

    You should register and join professional associations relevant to your career. This can enable you to have access to career opportunities. Additionally, you can network with professionals and colleagues which can be an advantage in your career journey.

  7. Earn a Doctorate Degree

    You need to obtain a doctorate if you are seeking roles as a lecturer or a researcher. PhD programs enable you to carry out in-depth study in an area of specialisation. Additionally, they include classes, field work laboratory research and dissertation writing.

  8. Obtain Certifications

    As an ecologist, it is important to earn speciality certifications. This can enhance your expertise and make you employable in the job market.


Skills Needed to Become an Ecologist


  1. Passion for the natural world
  2. Writing skills
  3. Communication skills
  4. Information technology(IT) skills
  5. Analytical Skills
  6. Learning Skills


Areas of Specialisation in Ecology

  1. Microbial Ecology

    Professionals in this field investigate how microorganisms connect, with their surroundings, and other species.

  2. Terrestrial Ecology

    This branch is responsible for researching and classifying the various species of plants, animals, and insects found in the forest. Additionally, they investigate the effects of humans and global warming on forest soil and climate.

  3. Wildlife Ecology

    This area deals with the study of animals, especially their populations, to understand how they can be taken care of. Professionals in this field make sure the animals are healthy.

  4. Marine Ecology

    This area of ecology focuses on aquatic life and how it affects the human environment. Additionally, these ecologists work in aquariums and zoos to help protect and preserve marine species.

  5. Restoration Ecology

    Ecologists in this field work in areas where there has been ecological damage such as deforestation. They restore ecology by planting trees and removing weeds. Additionally, they work on projects that aim to revive the ecosystem through re-vegetation.

  6. Molecular Ecology

    This branch involves solving ecological problems related to behavioural ecology, and biogeography using molecular techniques like DNA markers.


Universities in Africa that Offer Ecology

  1. Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria
  2. University of Fort Hare, South Africa
  3. Cairo University, Egypt
  4. University of Lagos, Nigeria
  5. Ain Shams University, Egypt
  6. University of Johannesburg, South Africa
  7. Alexandria University, Egypt
  8. University of Witwatersrand, South Africa
  9. Mansoura University, Egypt
  10. University of Cape Town, South Africa
  11. Assiut University, Egypt
  12. University of Monastir, Tunisia
  13. Sohag University, Egypt
  14. University of Nigeria, Nigeria
  15. Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria
  16. University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  17. Tanta University, Egypt
  18. Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria
  19. University of Carthage, Tunisia
  20. Durban University of Technology, South Africa
  21. University of Ilorin, Nigeria
  22. Covenant University, Nigeria
  23. University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria
  24. Jimma University, Ethiopia
  25. Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nigeria
  26. University of Annaba, Algeria
  27. Hawassa University, Ethiopia
  28. University of Calabar, Nigeria
  29. Cadi Ayyad University, Morocco
  30. University of Botswana, Botswana


In conclusion, pursuing a career in ecology is a career choice that will be beneficial both now and in the future. This is because there will be a consistent need for ecologists shortly. Furthermore, ecology is crucial for studying the preservation of the natural world. As an ecologist, you can work in places such as zoos, museums, aquariums, universities and NGOs.


Ecology is a broad and lucrative field. If you have an interest in pursuing a career in ecology, you should not limit yourself. You should dedicate your time to acquiring the education, skills and experiences you need to thrive in this career path.


Good luck!


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