|MadSci Network: Zoology|
Zoology is a broad subject and there are many opportunities in several sub-fields, such as parasitology, biodiversity, applied ecology and entomology. At the same time it is difficult to obtain a position in some fields- notably taxonomy - even though these may be vital to our understanding of the natural world. I would thus advise your son to follow his dream- whatever sub-discipline in which he is interested, but always keep another, possibly related, profession in mind as a back up. This is advice I gave my daughters and in general it has worked. As to becoming a zoologist- I would recommend you read John Janovy's book "On Becoming a Biologist". It may be a bit old for him, but perhaps not. In any case Janovy (who is a successful parasitologist in Nebraska) has lots of insight into the profession. This is a book I wish I had read before I entered the field! I also think that your son needs to start making contacts with people who are interested in the same area, if possible find a mentor. If he is interested in a specific area he might write to specialists in the field. Some will not answer, but most will. I know that my early interest in zoology was helped along by other people near my own age who were interested in the same area. I also wrote to specialists at the American Museum of Natural History and they very kindly responded. You need that contact to keep up your enthusiasm and love of the subject when you run into road blocks or periods of very boring paperwork. It goes without saying that potential scientists, including zoologists, need to study hard and acquire knowledge in the biological sciences, but they should also work on their math (especially statistics) chemistry, physics and their writing skills. There are also a few sites on line that present some ideas on the subject, such as "Zoologist Career Information: Becoming a Zoologist at http://education-portal.com/articles/Zoologist_Career_Information:_Becoming_a_Zoologist.html, "Zoology: 5 Steps to Becoming a Zoologist" at http://degreedirectory.org/articles/Zoology_5_Steps_to_Becoming_a_Zoologist.html, "Becoming a Biologist - How to Become a Biologist" at http://admissionsuccess.endlex.com/Types/services/biologist.htm, and "Just How Do I Become a Professional Biologist" at http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/Kids/Biologist/biologist.htm, etc.
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Zoology.