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Zoologist Salaries

Sally Painter
Zoologist with Koala bear

Are you wondering how much zoologists earn? According to the May 2009 Occupational Outlook Handbook, a publication of the United States Department of Labor, the mean salary for zoologists employed in the United States is $60,670 per year. Wages may vary significantly from one industry and employer to another. Experience and education level also impact earning potential for this field.

National Data Statistics

The United States Labor Department gives the following salaries and percentiles. The percentiles given represent the percent of salaries that fall below the given salary figure.

  • $35,280 (10 percent)
  • $44,830 (25 percent)
  • $56,500 (50 percent)
  • $71,990 (75 percent)
  • $93,140 (90 percent)

Industries Employing Zoologists

You can prepare for a job search with statistics on the various industries that employ zoologists. Use these statistics to analyze your career growth potential and salary increases with a field. The following lists provide the number of zoologists employed in a particular field with the mean salary of those zoologists in parentheses.

Industries employing the most zoologists:

  • Federal executive branch: 4,510 ($75,690)
  • Local government: 960 ($58,180)
  • Management, scientific, and technical consulting services: 1,950 ($64,530)
  • Scientific research and development services: 1,170 ($60,560)
  • State government: 6,300 ($53,290 )

Highest paying industries:

  • Architectural, engineering, and related services: 160 ($66,200)
  • Federal executive branch: 4,510 ($75,690)
  • Grant-making and giving services: 8 ($59,190)
  • Management, scientific, and technical consulting services: 1,950 ($64,530 )
  • Scientific research and development services: 1,170 ($60,560)

State Employment Numbers with Salaries

Top five states employing Zoologists:

  • Alaska: 840 ($60,830)
  • Montana: 380 (56,990)
  • Oregon: 1,380 ($63,080)
  • Washington: 1,920 ($64,500)
  • Wyoming: 370 ($52,750)

Top five highest paying states:

  • California: 2,360 ($73,160)
  • Connecticut: 80 ($71,990)
  • Louisiana: 80 ($69,150)
  • Maryland: 230 ($91,050)
  • Rhode Island: 30 ($77,440)

Top five cities for Zoologist to work:

  • Corvallis, Oregon: 160 ($51,820)
  • Fairbanks, Arkansas: 150 ($62,530)
  • Lewiston, Indiana and Washington: 70 ($51,460)
  • Olympia, Washington: 240 ($62,380)
  • Wenatchee, Washington: 70 ($62,560)

What Cities Pay the Most?

Explore which cities or metropolitan areas you can earn the most. Bear in mind that these will be the most competitive and prized markets.

Top five metropolitan divisions hat pay the most:

  • Barnstable Town, Massachusetts: 90 ($97,520)
  • Bethesda-Frederick-Gaithersburg, Maryland Metropolitan Division: 100 ($100,560)
  • Oakland-Fremont-Hayward, California Metropolitan Division: 8 ($85,740)
  • Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California: 8 ($90,080)
  • Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, District of Columbia (DC), Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia Metropolitan Division: 230 ($98,210)

What a Zoologist Does

A zoologist studies animal and wildlife to determine behavior, diseases, origin, genetics and overall life process. Degrees range from a bachelor of science (BS) to a PhD. While a bachelor of science is sufficient for many jobs, a master’s in zoology will ensure that you remain competitive, allowing you to command a higher salary.

Other Sources for Salary Data

There are numerous online salary statistics based on private surveys that you can use in addition to the United States Labor Department’s statistics. gives a 2011 mean salary for zoologists as $64,472, citing their private survey. Be sure to do comparison research on non-government statistics to help complete your overall picture of the market and what you can expect to earn.

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Zoologist Salaries