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Study Ecology abroad

Does the complex relationship between various organisms, or how various species interact with their environment interest you? If you’re nodding, then studying ecology could lead you to some promising career paths.

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8% expected increase in demand for ecologists this decade

Salary

$52,000: median annual salary of ecologists

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9,400 openings expected every year for ecologists and environmental scientists

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No gender pay gap

Ecology is the study of the relationships between living organisms and their physical environment. In the field of Ecology, life processes, adaptations, energy flow, cooperation, competition and distribution of organisms are studied. Organisms are considered at the individual, population, community, ecosystem and biosphere level. Some modules that students may study are evolution, ecosystems, population density, food chains, patterns of biodiversity and resource management.

Ecologists map the intricate relationships between living organisms and the environment. They then use this information to positively impact the world. Ecology finds application in a number of arenas, for example, city planning, fisheries, forestry, wetland management, conservation biology and agriculture.
To achieve success in Ecology an individual must possess two fundamental skills: analytical skills and observation skills. Ecologists must be able to carefully observe nature to capture and identify the relationships between organisms and their environment. Similarly, ecologists must be able to analyse their data to draw conclusions.

If you believe that you possess these two skills, then you’re a good fit for Ecology. Additionally, ecologists must also be proficient in articulating themselves to explain their findings to both general audiences and the academia.
An associate degree for junior level posts like laboratory assistant or field technician in Ecology typically suffices. If you’re not quite ready yet to commit to Ecology, then an associate degree, 2 years in duration, can provide you with a broad knowledge of the various aspects of the field.

Whereas a bachelor’s degree not only gives you a comprehensive understanding of Ecology but also the quantitative approach needed to excel in it. A bachelor’s degree in Ecology typically is 3-4 years in duration and costs on average $31,976 per year.

A master’s degree in Ecology allows students to secure leadership roles while also specialising in a sub-field of Ecology. The average annual cost of a master’s in Ecology is $24,453.

Another option to consider if you’re aiming for teaching or research roles is a PhD degree, which can be 3-5 years in duration. It allows for independent research and further training in the research methodology in the field of Ecology.
Employment opportunities for ecologists are forecasted to increase by 8% this decade. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics more than 9,400 job openings are expected every year over the decade for ecologists and environmental scientists. This is probably due to the emerging global conscience of human impact on other species and the environment. Ecologists are predicted to be in high demand in the future as humans try to better understand their impact on other living beings and minimise environmental damage.

Restoration Ecologist


Restoration ecologists attempt to restore ecosystems that have been adversely impacted by human activities such as poaching or deforestation. They identify the cause of the harm to the ecosystem, enforce protocols that will prevent it from reoccurring and devise strategies to help restore the ecosystem.

Field Ecologist


As the name suggests, field ecologists work in the field to collect data about living organisms and their interactions with their environment. They conduct site assessments, collect specimens, compile data and prepare technical reports.

Environmental Consultant


In this role, you try to mitigate environmental degradation by offering consultancy services. Environmental consultants have in-depth knowledge of environmental regulations and help bring their clients in line with those regulations. You may be hired by corporations or governments trying to reduce their carbon footprint, air pollution or water pollution. You offer corporations and governments advice that make their enterprises eco-friendlier.

Park Naturalist


A park naturalist has extensive knowledge about ecology. They guide park visitors through the park while educating them about the plants and animals present there. They not only share fun tidbits about the plant life and animals in the park but also emphasise that conserving nature is important.

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