Wildlife specialists have a unique skill set. They are usually friendly and outgoing, physically fit, and educated. Wildlife specialists are nature buffs and they are not squeamish about handling a variety of different animal species, no matter how big or small. Wildlife specialists also love animals — of course! Unlike wildlife specialists that work for a park district or company that specializes in removing wild animals from residencies and commercial properties, wildlife specialists on cruise ships are responsible for educating passengers about the different types of animals they might encounter during a tour or while traveling on their own. Tours may take place onboard the ship while exploring different areas or onland in various destinations around the world.
Wildlife specialists on cruise ships are entitled to all of the same benefits as other cruise ship employees. Wildlife specialists may receive free accommodations, free air travel to and from the ship, free meals, health insurance, retirement and savings benefits, and discounts for retail shops and services on the ship. Wildlife specialists may earn anywhere from $1,600-$3,100 per month depending on the cruise line, size of vessel, and type of cruise line (i.e. mega, luxury, riverboat, tour boat, etc.).
To become a wildlife specialist, you must have a bachelor’s degree in any of the following majors:
Agricultural Life Sciences
Biological Systems Engineering
Other compatible degrees for this career field include:
Bachelor of Botany
Bachelor of Chemistry
Bachelor of Civil Engineering
Bachelor of Entomology
Bachelor of Environmental Geoscience
Bachelor of Environmental Studies
Bachelor of Genetics
Bachelor of Geography
Bachelor of Geology
Bachelor of Geophysics
Bachelor of Horticulture
Bachelor of Management
Bachelor of Marine Biology
Bachelor of Marine Sciences
Bachelor of Meteorology
Bachelor of Microbiology
Bachelor of Molecular & Cell Biology
Bachelor of Ocean Engineering
Bachelor of Oceanography
Bachelor of Rangeland Ecology & Management
Bachelor of Wildlife Fisheries Science
Bachelor of Zoology
Once you have obtained a bachelor’s degree in any of the areas listed above and you have gained practical hands on experience through an internship or paid position, you may apply for a position aboard a cruise ship. Positions are also available aboard smaller tour boats and luxury cruise ships.
If you have a specific cruise line in mind, you can check the Ships and Cruises Directory to locate the cruise line’s official website. Once you have the official web address for the cruise line you are interested in, visit the career center (employment page) and search around for wildlife specialist positions. If you find an opening, all you have to do is follow the application procedure to apply.
If there are no job openings in your field, try sending a polished cover letter to the cruise lines main office or headquarters. This information is usually listed on the website. Send the letter to the Human Resources Department. Please remember to include the position you are interested in. This will help HR direct your resume to the appropriate department or manager.
Some job seekers would prefer to leave the job hunting to the professionals. This is perfectly fine. There are a number of placement agencies that are willing to take on a new client. To sign up with a placement agency, please follow the link to read our article How to Choose a Placement Agency.