How to Become a Conservationist
Conservationist Job Duties
Skills and Qualities Needed to Become a Conservationist
Conservationist Salaries
Influential Professional Conservationists
Leading Conservationist Organizations
Top Cities for Conservationist Jobs
Other Careers of Interest

How to become a Conservationist

Many environmental scientists have master's degrees and PhD's. Bachelor's degrees are sufficient for some entry-level positions, however many employers require higher education. Entry level applied research positions in most private industry, and State and Federal agencies require a master's degree and most environmental scientists working within a college or university setting hold a doctoral degree.

Education in many areas of the physical sciences can prepare one for work as a conservationist. Some people pursue degrees in environmental science, while others focus more specifically on chemistry, geography, physics, or another specialty. Environmental scientists with specialized degrees often do research or internship work to apply their study to the environment.

Environmental science degrees consist of undergraduate study in a variety of natural sciences, as well as education in pollution, and ecosystem protection. Graduate study usually follows a path related to the specific area of research and work that will be pursued. Consulting firm and State and Federal employees generally have education in hydrology, hazardous-waste management, environmental legislation, chemistry, and fluid mechanics.

An understanding of the geochemistry of organic compounds is important in developing plans to reverse environmental damage. Knowledge in environmental regulations and government permit issues is necessary for those who plan to work in mining and oil extraction.

Education in environmental science combined with study in business, finance, and marketing can prepare one for a wide array of job opportunities.

What does a Conservationist do?

Conservationists, or environmental scientists, work to protect the environment. Using an education in physical science, conservationists identify, prevent, and eradicate environmental hazards that affect people, animals, and our surroundings.

Environmental scientists conduct research on many common human practices that can have negative effects on the environment. They may focus on waste management, food production, deforestation, water contamination, air quality, or energy usage. Environmental scientists have specific training in both hazardous and sustainable business and living practices.

While some conservationists focus on specific areas of risks and hazards, it is becoming more common to focus more on the broad interconnectedness of life processes in order to understand and correct environmental threats. Environmental ecologists take various factors within an ecosystem, such as population size and resource usage, into account when researching and reporting data. Ecological modulators specialize in mathematical practices to discover relationships between a population and their environment. Environmental chemists assess the toxicity and effects of the countless chemicals used in our society.

Many conservationists work at consulting firms. These environmental scientists use their education and research findings to aid businesses and government agencies to conduct their affairs with minimal environmental impact. Conservationists are also hired to help companies to stay in compliance with environmental policies. Environmental scientists may be employed by large companies, doing long-term projects and working with people in other scientific disciplines. Other conservationists work for smaller firms and interact more with business professionals.

Some environmental scientists work in policy formation in order to prevent future degradation of the natural world. Others work in colleges and universities as researchers and educators.

Conservationists in a number of positions often must write grant proposals in order to fund their work.

Conservationists in entry level positions often work mostly in the field, while those with more experience often spend more time in offices and laboratories. Depending on the employer and the position, an environmental scientist may work regular business hours, or longer hours and erratic schedules.

What skills and qualities do I need to become a Conservationist?

Computer skills, especially those involved in data and research are of central importance to environmental scientists. An understanding of the Global Positioning System is also necessary in most positions.

Being part of a team is often involved in conservation work, making good interpersonal and communication skills essential. Bilingual individuals may have an advantage due to growing international work in the field.

High quality writing skills are quite useful and can determine whether or not an environmental scientist receives funding for their work.

Physical stamina is necessary for fieldwork in certain conservation research.

How much do Conservationists make?

The majority of environmental scientists earn between $42,840 and $74,480 annually. Those with only a bachelor's degree earn an average of $38,336 a year. Those working in the federal executive branch tend to earn the highest wages by a considerable amount. Those working in management, scientific, and technical consulting services tend to earn less, followed by employees of engineering services, local governments, and finally state governments

Who are some influential professionals in this field?

The President and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is Carter Roberts. Stephen Tindale is the executive director of Greenpeace International.

What are some leading organizations in this field?

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is an organization, in existence for over 45 years, that protects animals and the environment.

Greenpeace is an international conservation organization which exists to help activists help the environment and the animals of the world.

What are the top cities for Conservationist jobs?

Employment of conservationists is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations over the next decade. Population growth is putting more strain on the environment and creating more research opportunity as well as necessity for conservationists. Increasingly complex environmental laws and regulations are also raising the demand for environmental scientists in consulting.

Washington, D.C. is the top city for conservationist jobs in the United States, followed closely by Phoenix, Arizona. Houston, Texas and New York City are tied for third place while Los Angeles, California is the fifth best city for conservationist jobs in the United States.

Other Careers of Interest

Botanists are scientists that study plants of all types. This does include fungi, bacteria (sometimes), lichens, and some protists, although none...

A geographer is a scientist who studies the physical environment of the earth, human habitat, and the interactions between the two. Geographers...

Geologists study the earth and the processes that shape it in order to better understand the history of our planet. They then try to apply this...

Geoscientists study the physical dimensions of the earth both in the present and in the past. Geology and geophysics are the two major subdivisions...

Horticulture is the art and science of the cultivation of plants. Horticulturists are specialists in the large-scale growing of fruits, vegetables,...

Marine Biologist
Marine Biology is a form of Biological Science. Marine biologists study ocean life and its relationship to the environment. Studies may be performed...

Meteorologist / Weather Forecaster
A meteorologist will study atmospheric conditions that he or she will then use as a way to help forecast the weather. Some meteorologists will...

An oceanographer studies the ocean by collecting samples and gathering information by observation and measurement. As a whole, an oceanographer...

Paleontologist are scientist whose main purpose is to study fossils of living organisms and animals for the purpose of learning what the earth was...

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