Zoologists, also known as wildlife biologists, are responsible for studying and caring for wildlife, both in the wild and in controlled environments such as zoological and wildlife parks. Zoologists can be found studying wildlife in the laboratory setting as well as in natural environments. These workers earned a range of salaries in 2009, depending on conditions such as where they worked and the industry sector that employed them.
National Salary Range
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there were approximately 17,460 zoologists and wildlife biologists in 2009, earning a mean hourly wage of about $29 per hour, or about $60,670 per year. The lowest 10 percent of zoologists made about $17 per hour, or about $35,280 per year, while the highest 10 percent made about $45 per hour, or about $93,140 per year. The middle 50 percent earned an average of about $27 per hour, or about $56,500 per year.
Top Paying Industries
Zoologists employed in the federal executive branch of the industry earned an average of about $36 per hour, or about $75,690 per year in 2009. This was the highest paying sector for these workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The next highest paying sector; architectural, engineering and related services, paid an average wage of about $32 per hour, or about $66,200 per year.
Highest Paying States
Zoologist salaries differed between states in 2009, with those in Maryland, Rhode Island, California, Connecticut and Louisiana earning the highest average salaries, according to the BLS. Zoologists in Maryland earned an average of about $44 per hour, or about $91,050 per year, while those in Rhode Island made about about $37 per hour, or about $77,440 per year. Louisiana zoologists, on the other hand, made an average of about $33 per hour, or about $69,150 per year.
Highest Paying Metro Areas
Zoologist salaries also differ between cities. The BLS reports that zoologists in the Bethesda, Maryland area earned the highest average salaries in 2009, making an average of about $48 per hour, or about $100,560 per year. The next city with highest pay for zoologists was Washington DC, with average salaries of about $47 per hour, or about $98,210 per year. Oakland, California rounded out the five cities with the highest earners, with zoologists earning an average of about $41 per hour, or about $85,740 per year.