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Career Information

What Can I Do In Wildlife, Fisheries or Aquaculture?

A degree in Wildlife, Fisheries, and Aquaculture opens doors to many exciting career opportunities. Scroll below to explore a sample of employment options.

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Private Opportunities

Profit-oriented organizations

Timber/paper companies

Many timber companies such as Weyerhaeuser, International Paper, Georgia-Pacific, Anderson-Tully, etc. employ wildlife biologists because they lease their lands to hunting clubs for deer, turkey, waterfowl, etc and/or their waters for fishing and water recreation. Thus, these biologists ensure that the lands are properly managed for wildlife and fisheries, that the hunting clubs are harvesting the resource correctly, and they keep up with current issues about wildlife and fisheries to ensure that the company doesn't break wildlife laws. These positions require a B.S., a M.S. degree, or even a Ph.D. degree.

Aquaculture Industry

There is an increasing need for individuals to serve the aquaculture industry in farm management, fish processing management, new food product development, feed milling, marketing and sales. Aquaculture companies that specialize in the culture of fish (e.g., channel catfish) and shellfish (e.g., shrimp) require individuals with specialized skills with respect to fish/shellfish rearing, fish/shellfish husbandry, pond management, fish processing, marketing and sales. Employees of these industries often are required to have advanced training, including fish/shellfish disease diagnosis, equipment repair, water quality monitoring and management, fish/shellfish harvesting techniques, etc. Aquaculture technician positions require a high school diploma, whereas management positions often require either a 2-year degree, a B.S. degree, or even a M.S. degree.

Other companies (oil, natural gas, etc.)

Less often, many gas, oil, or public utilities companies own rights-of-way and may hire biologists to manage these areas for wildlife. They may also hire human dimensions specialists to study and serve the recreational users of these areas.

Non-profit organizations (e.g., Ducks Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy)

Many non-profit organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, Quail Unlimited, The Nature Conservancy, etc. hire wildlife and fisheries biologists to work with private landowners and state and federal agencies to enhance habitat and policies regarding fish and wildlife. These positions require B.S., M.S., or even Ph.D. degrees.

Private consulting

Because state and federal wildlife biologists are very busy and do not have time to spend very much time with any one landowner, there are many private consulting firms that specialize in wildlife and/or fisheries consulting. In this case, these biologists work for a consulting firm and charge people for their help in managing the land for wildlife, timber, and/or fisheries. Private consultants also are hired to survey unique habitats for sensitive wildlife, fish, or plant species and make recommendations regarding purchasing land and its management. Landowners or hunting clubs may hire private consultants to manage for wildlife, fisheries, and/or timber, especially if the landowner or company has a large acreage. Quail plantations are an example of this. These positions require a B.S., a M.S. degree, or even a Ph.D. degree.

Lobbyists and policy analysts

Politics play an important role in establishing wildlife and fisheries policy, and biologists may serve as lobbyists. Often, they are affiliated with a private industry (e.g., a timber company) or private organization (e.g., National Wildlife Federation). These positions require a B.S. or even a M.S. degree.

Communications specialist

Conservation professionals may specialize in communications (journalism, photography, illustration) or public relations. These positions are not abundant and require specialized skills in mass media, illustration, painting, etc. These positions require a B.S. or even a M.S. degree.

Federal Opportunities


These positions are very similar in function to biologists employed by state wildlife management agencies. These positions generally require a M.S. degree.


These positions (Seasonal or Annual) are very similar to those discussed for state wildlife management agencies. These positions require a high school diploma, enrollment in a university wildlife/fisheries program, or a B.S. degree.

Law enforcement officers (Special Agents, Wildlife Inspectors, Park Rangers, etc.)

Many of these positions are similar in function to the state-level conservation officers but with varied jurisdictions. Federal conservation law enforcement officers are responsible for enforcing federal wildlife and fisheries laws such as the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Bald Eagle protection Act, etc. The federal wildlife and fisheries law enforcement officers may be responsible for conservation law enforcement on specific federal lands such as a military base, national forest, or national refuge. Some agents work at border ports where they enforce federal laws protecting domestic and foreign wildlife species that enter into interstate and international commerce. These positions require a B.S. or M.S. degrees.


Conservation educators may focus on hunter safety, wildlife and fisheries biology and management, or a particular site, such as a conservation museum or park. Full-time educator positions generally require a B.S. degree.

State Opportunities

Biologists (General)

These individuals are generally responsible for overseeing the management of one or more wildlife management areas or lakes, budget development, hunting, fishing, and land regulations, and public relations. Biologists may also be hired to manage nature preserves such and arboretums. These positions require B.S. and M.S. degrees.

Biologists (Specialized)

These individuals are more specialized in their duties. For example, individuals may be hired as a state fisheries biologist, deer biologist, fish hatchery biologist, alligator biologist, non-game wildlife biologist, etc. These positions require B.S. and M.S. degrees.


Seasonal (3-4 months)

These are positions that generally answer to a biologist and essentially assist the biologist during periods of the year when activity is greatest such as during the hunting/fishing seasons or fish spawning seasons, when planting food plots, managing lakes, winter or summer breeding bird surveys, etc. These positions require a high school diploma, a 2-year degree, enrollment in a university wildlife/fisheries program, or even a B.S. degree.

Annual (12 month)

These positions are very similar to the seasonal technicians but are full-time employees. They require a high school diploma, a 2-year degree, enrollment in a university wildlife/fisheries program, or even a B.S. degree.

Wildlife managers

These individuals are responsible for the daily operations of state wildlife management areas or state lakes, and include anything from road repair, water management, timber harvesting, equipment maintenance, burning, lake or pond fertilization, food plot maintenance, law enforcement, fisheries management, etc. These positions require a high school diploma, a B.S., or even a M.S. degree.

Conservation officers (Game Wardens, Park Rangers, etc.)

These individuals are responsible for ensuring that fish and game laws (state and/or federal) are followed within a specified region such as a wildlife management district or a county. They also may enforce recreational and environmental laws, do public education, and assist with wildlife management. These positions require a high school diploma or even a B.S. degree.


These individuals are hired as educators concerning hunter safety, wildlife or fisheries biology and management, museum curators, nature interpreters, etc. These positions require a high school diploma or a B.S. degree.

University / College Opportunities

Professor/Extension Specialist

Because many state and federal agencies require one or more degrees in wildlife or fisheries ecology and/or management, they must be trained at a University. Consequently, there are wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture university professors who teach and do research, or are extension specialists who work with the general public to address education needs for landowners, agencies, etc. concerning wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture. These positions require a Ph.D. degree.

Research/extension technicians

Also in the university, are wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture biologists who assist the professor with wildlife, fisheries or aquaculture research. These may be seasonal or permanent positions. Often, these positions are filled by students attending the university, especially during the summer. These positions require a B.S. degree or a person working towards one.

Research/extension associates and scientists

Similar to research technicians are research or extension associates, who have more responsibilities regarding wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture research or extension and often coordinate (serve as supervisors) to the research technicians. These positions require a M.S. degree.

Other salaried professionals

There are several other types of positions at Universities that are filled with wildlife, fisheries or forestry managers. For example, often the university is given land by an alumni and that land must be managed. Consequently, the university may hire a biologist to manage the land for timber and/or wildlife-fisheries resources. Another example is captive animal facilities where the animals are used for research or education. In this case a wildlife biologist would be hired. These positions require a B.S. or even a M.S. degree.

Additional Information

Students or graduates interested in employment should vist the College of Forest Resources Jobs Database for the most recent information and job postings

Other resources include:

Mississippi State University Career Center Current federal openings

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