This was pretty much the same question I asked when I started my college journey years ago.
I started with a Bachelor of Science degree from Oregon State University, then got a Master Herpetology certificate from the Amphibian Foundation.
I am now enrolled in Penn Foster to obtain an Associate’s to become a veterinary technician working with exotic animals.
Many online and in-person colleges and universities across the world offer degrees containing herpetology courses. As of 2022 there is no specific herpetology degree program, however, many universities offer programs with courses in reptiles and amphibians.
Some sort of degree in biology, zoology, ecology, or other science is usually the first step in continuing education.
Specific herpetology graduate programs are pretty rare to come by, so the specialization of the degree can be tailored to what you want to do with the degree.
Here are a few degrees you can get in the field of herpetology:
|Name of Issuing Institution||Degree Type||Degree Name||Location||In-Person|
|Oregon State University||Bachelor of Science|
Master of Science
Doctor of Philosophy
|Animal Science||Oregon, USA||No|
|Oregon State University||Bachelor of Science||Biology||Oregon, USA||No|
|Oregon State University||Bachelor of Science||Fish, Wildlife, & Conservation Science||Oregon, USA|
|Oregon State University||Bachelor of Science||Zoology||Oregon, USA |
|Oregon State University||Master of Science|
Doctor of Philosophy
|Wildlife Science||Oregon, USA||No|
|The Amphibian Foundation||Certificate||Master Herpetologist||Georgia, USA|
|ACS Distance Education||Certificate||Zookeeping||Queensland, Australia|
|The Australian National University||Bachelor of Science||Zoology||Canberra, Australia||No|
|Animal Courses Direct||Courses||Zoology||London, UK||Yes|
|Animal Courses Direct||Courses||Reptiles||London, UK||Yes|
|The University of British Columbia||Master of Science|
Doctor of Philosophy
|Zoology||Vancouver, BC Canada |
There are some certificate programs that take a few months to complete that can get pretty specific.
An associate’s degree is a two-year program, bachelor’s is a four-year and considered undergraduate.
Graduate programs are master’s degrees and are a two-year program following a bachelor’s degree.
PhD doctorate degrees are the very last step in higher education.
Doctorate degrees are usually only needed to become a veterinarian or to conduct heavy research, though you can do research with a graduate degree.
The Amphibian Foundation’s Master Herpetologist Program
The Amphibian Foundation, based in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, offers many continued education and certificate courses that can be taken internationally and in-person. The Master Herpetology is offered one to two times a year and can be completed in five months. The topics cover all genera included with reptiles and amphibians.
I love this certificate program!
I was enrolled in this program from January 2021 through May 2021 and completed it entirely online.
I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning all about reptiles and amphibians including their structures, evolution, life histories, wordly distribution, and more.
Every two weeks a new section opened up for lectures about a specific topic, such as frogs.
It was very structured and organized and included two projects, discussion boards, and a final exam.
Much of what I know about herpetology comes from this program!
Oregon State University
I graduated from Oregon State University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences and was very happy with the education I received from this school. Herpetology was offered as a course and I completed the entire degree online, though they have in-person classes available.
Oregon State University operates with trimesters, making classes shorter and faster-paced than common two semester colleges and universities.
I was able to attend classes as a part-time student while I worked two jobs.
The college, my professors, and my classmates were very supportive of one another and myself and took my education seriously.
I transferred to OSU from a college that did not care that I wanted to be a herpetologist. They are not included on this list and I will not even bother to mention them.
When I asked my advisor to let me take herpetology over chemistry, because herpetology was last offered three years ago and chemistry was offered every single semester, I was told no.
ACS Distance Education
This Australian-based educational source offers a variety of courses involving animal care and wildlife.
Their website provides a breakdown of the modules you would complete in order to earn a certificate in your chosen program.
It is offered within and outside of Australia.
I looked into this program when I was looking for colleges to complete my degree.
I appreciated the breakdown of courses and links to their descriptions before you even sign up for a class.
Their animal-related courses offer herpetology as elective courses to learn alongside preset core classes.
The University of British Columbia
This graduate degree school offered to Canadian, United States, and international students, offers programs in zoology with classes in amphibians and reptiles.
Students participate largely in research and work with individual professors as mentors.
Their department of zoology holds many faculty members with passion to train the next generation.
Since this is a graduate degree program, applicants must have completed secondary degrees in order to enroll.
It is a research heavy program related to animal biology and evolution.
Students should be independent to problem solve on their own and is best completed in-person with a faculty supervisor.
Animal Courses Direct
These courses do not offer degrees, but online training in specific areas of study.
Students can enroll in individual classes to complete specialized training and modules about the topic of choice.
This is only offered online.
Animal Courses Direct offers exactly that, direct animal courses.
There is a specific reptile course, as well as zookeeping, nutrition, wildlife, vet and pet care.
Basically, the student chooses the individual courses that interest them most and complete the modules within them.
The courses satisfy qualifications needed in some United Kingdom career paths.
This article was written by Melissa M. who holds a Bachelors of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, and a Master Herpetologist certificate. The article was edited and published by Daniella, Master Herpetologist in the author profile below.
Environment and wildlife courses. ACS Distance Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.acs.edu.au/courses/environment-and-wildlife-courses.aspx
Animal courses direct. Animal Courses Direct. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://animalcoursesdirect.co.uk/our-courses/
Oregon State University Office of Admissions. (n.d.). Find your major. Undergraduate Admissions. Retrieved from https://admissions.oregonstate.edu/find-your-major
User, S. (n.d.). Master herpetologist program. The Amphibian Foundation. Retrieved from https://amphibianfoundation.org/index.php/educational/college-adult-courses/master-herper
Welcome to graduate studies at UBC. UBC Grad School | Graduate Studies at The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.grad.ubc.ca/