Are you the kind of person who recoils in horror when seeing a spider in the house (that’s me!) or do you think that the little guys are misunderstood and kind of cute? Well, if you enjoy the little critters, then a career as an arachnologist might be the perfect fit for you. Though it sounds a bit made up, there are actually people making money by studying spiders, as well as scorpions, ticks and mites. By studying arachnology as a career path, you can embark on the cool job of an arachnologist.
Arachnologist Job Description
Looking for careers with tarantulas? Well, this is it! In fact, this job focuses on the study of arachnids in general, so you get to deal with more than just tarantulas. Most of your time in this career will be spent doing research or interpreting data, especially when a new species is discovered, as well as some lab work. Don’t worry though as all your time won’t be spend indoors as you’ll also get to do a bit of fieldwork. Though working on newly discovered arachnids is probably the most exciting, you will also spend time updating and analyzing existing species. So, if you’re wondering how you can study spiders for a living, then a career as an arachnologist is a good fit for you.
Some arachnologists take on other job duties. For instance, maybe you like public speaking, which means that you could do public outreach or be the go-to person whenever a rare and potentially toxic spider appears in the local area. There is also the possibility of teaching at the college level, writing and presenting research papers, or working at a science museum.
Arachnologist Education Requirements
A strong desire and interest in spider is definitely required for this profession. But an interest in arachnids isn’t all that you need to land this gig. To secure a job in arachnology, you need a college degree and preparing for that should ideally begin while you are still in high school. This can be done by taking as many biology classes in school as possible, but don’t worry if your school is lacking in this department as you can take all the required courses in college.
A four-year college degree is required in order to work as an arachnologist. Since arachnology is not a common field of study, you will most likely need to major in wildlife biology or zoology and just specialize in arachnids.
Pay Details: Arachnologist Salary
Technically, this career falls under the wildlife biologist category, which means that salary amounts are similar to that of zoologists and other biologists. Overall the average annual salary for an arachnologist is around $61,600. However, the pay range falls between a low of $35,600 and a high of $93,400 per year. As you might expect, that lower pay rate is common with inexperienced arachnologists while the more senior level biologists command the higher pay rate.
In this industry, many professional are employed by the Federal or state government in one capacity or another. Others take jobs doing consulting, researching or teaching. Some people even take on jobs working at local zoos and museums. You will find that there are several different jobs available to you in this occupation and it is just a matter of what you prefer, in addition to your experience and qualifications.
If you want to get a head start and gain a little experience ahead of most others, then look for volunteer opportunities at local zoos and museums while you are still in high school. This is not only a great way to learn more about arachnids from other professionals, but also a good chance to determine if you really want to focus on arachnology or some other subset of zoology.
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