Very interesting forum and debate. It looks like herpetologist has two definitions, one is base on academic training vs another base on extensive experience. Personally, I believe both can be herpetologists; its depends on where they are. If you put one in a scientific journal, one with a degree will be mostly referred as a herpetologist; on the other hand in herp community and general public, one with extensive experience should be the one and the one with a degree may be not. My thought is that herpetologist have two streams: one is more academic and another is more on real hands on experience. It really depends on what focus of their work, oh another debate again......