How can I become a wolf biologist?

 Dr. Vic Van Ballenberghe / Wildlife Biologist / Wolf Song of Alaska Advisior

Most jobs researching wolves require a graduate school degree (Master's or Doctorate) after undergraduate ( Bachelor's ) work in a four year school.

First, take all the science and math courses you can in high school and do well on the SAT exam so you can gain acceptance to a good university for your undergrad degree. While there, major in ecology or wildlife science or zoology and take as many basic courses in those subjects as you can. Of course, you will also have to take all the other non-biological science courses required for your degree. When you are an undergrad, try to volunteer as a field assistant on a research project or seek a summer job with a state or federal agency to gain some experience with wildlife work.

Choose your graduate school, your academic advisor, and your thesis research projects carefully. Find an advisor who has worked with wolves or advised other students working on wolves or their major prey species. Try to obtain a thesis research project on some aspect of wolf ecology or behavior. You may have to seek funding for all or part of your work. Be as many people working with wolves as you can, seeking information on potential prospects. Attend local, regional and national meetings on wildlife management and research and get to know as many contacts as you can who can continue to inform you of opportunities. Join professional societies.

Be forewarned that once you obtain an advanced degree, jobs with state and federal agencies, universities, or private companies that work with wolves are scarce. You may have to bide your time with other wildlife jobs until wolf work comes along. Don't let any of this discourage you from your goal of working with wolves. Be persistent. If you are well qualified and dedicated to your career and you are determined to work with wolves, you can make it happen.

"In the Company of Moose" 
Victor Van Ballenberghe has won awards for his scientific work, his writing, and his photography. Spanning more than two decades, his research on moose at Denali National Park is one of the longest-running studies of the species in North America. He lives in Anchorage, Alaska.