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How to become a Conservationist

Conservationists work to protect the environment, from protecting specific places and animals to changing behaviours and systems contributing to environmental damage. Employed in a wide range of roles and industries, Conservationists focus on preserving and saving life for future generations, benefitting the ecology and health of our planet.

If you are passionate, dedicated, and want to help make the world a better place, then working as a Conservationist could be ideal for you.

If you have these skills, you could make a great Conservationist

  • Focused on finding solutions to problems and thinking outside of the box
  • Practical, realistic, and down to earth
  • Willing to get your hands dirty
  • Committed to making a difference and creating change
  • Can communicate effectively
  • Able to commit to a cause or project long-term
  • Positive and resilient

What tasks can I expect to do?

Conservationists can work in a number of diverse areas, so your job duties will depend on your specific role. Broadly speaking, there are four main areas of conservation:

  • Environmental Conservation – In this field you could be preserving ecosystems, creating and maintaining national parks, researching sustainable solutions (such as alternative power and recycling schemes), or working to combat the effects of climate change and pollution.
  • Animal Conservation – In this role you could be more focused on the protection of endangered species and their habitats. You could be researching and observing animal behaviour, working to combat the effects of humans and their activities, educating communities, identifying new threats, or working in wildlife rehabilitation.
  • Marine Conservation – In this area you’d be helping to study, research, and protect the life within our oceans, seas, and the connecting waterways and coastal ecosystems. You could be working to protect marine life, reduce fishing impacts, combat water pollution, or study the effects of rising sea temperatures.
  • Human Conservation – Working in this field you might be educating others, implementing sustainable and low environmental impact solutions and lifestyles, protecting cultures, customs and traditions, improving living standards, advocating for local communities, and more.

Where do Conservationists work? 

You could be working in national parks, forests, fisheries, out in the ocean, in a lab, at museums and universities, for the government, in an office, or working directly in communities. Depending on your role, you might be able to work remotely. There is also a high chance that you’ll get to travel and work in a variety of different locations.

What kind of lifestyle can I expect as a Conservationist?

You may have to work outside of normal business hours and commit to long periods away from home. If you’re passionate and highly invested in your work, this might impact more on your lifestyle.

Most Conservationists can expect to earn an average salary throughout their career.

You don’t have to be a scientist in order to work as a conservationist; artists, managers, engineers, agriculturalists, journalists, or anyone else who makes a contribution to conservation can be called a Conservationist.

How to become a Conservationist

Conservation can be a highly competitive career to get into. For most jobs, you’ll usually need to have a qualification in a relevant field – but you might find work through other pathways too, such as volunteering and networking.

Step 1 – Finish high school. Subjects to focus on can include English, Maths, Sciences, Geography, or even Law. If you already know which area of Conservation you’d like to work in, you can tailor your subjects to suit.

Step 2 – Identify which area of conservation you’re most passionate about, then think about whether you’d like to work out in the field, in a lab, or in an office. This can help you select the best study pathway.

Step 3 – Complete relevant tertiary qualifications. You’ll learn specific knowledge and skills, and it can make you more competitive in the job market.

Step 4 – Volunteer work is a great way to gain understanding, meet people working in the field, and add experience to your resume. Find opportunities in your local community or consider travelling overseas as part of a larger project.

Step 5 – Apply for lots of jobs, be enthusiastic, and stay motivated.

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