In general, professional conservationists are people who are trying to preserve something, most times, the natural world. The job title of “conservationist” can apply to a number of jobs including an environmental conservationist worker, an archaeologist, or an ecologist.
In order to become a conservationist, you need to decide if conservationism is right for you, and if necessary, get the bachelor’s and graduate degrees you need.
One of the main goals for all conservationists is to help preserve natural places and educate people on why those areas are important to the world. This education goes a long way to helping people understand why conservation is so important.
Some conservationists educate people at visitor centers for gardens and national parks and wherever there is a protected wildlife area. Other conservationists educate the public through research and presentations to government officials, industry groups, and larger institutions. No matter what, all conservationists care about the natural world. They seek to protect it from the imbalance humans can unknowingly create and from harm beyond what happens naturally.
So how do you become a conservationist?
Chose a Career Path
Often, environmental conservationists can choose to be on the ground or in the field as a conservationist worker or a conservationist scientist who does research.
Some conservationists’ jobs may involve manual labor, while others may involve performing research and spending time in a lab. Other conservationists may hold managerial roles.
But people still often ask, what do conservationists do?
Working as an environmental conservationist can involve a number of different duties such as:
- Writing articles or reports;
- Advocating on behalf of the environment;
- Working with people and agencies to develop sustainability guidelines;
- Conducting research about an environment;
- Creating solutions to conservation problems;
- Working with landowners and developers to minimize environmental impact;
- Evaluating natural assets;
- Educating the public about the environment;
- Informing lawmakers about environmental issues;
- Clearing sites of invasive species;
- Conducting tests on the health of an environment; and
- Working with stakeholders to come up with conservation guidelines.
For conservationists, no two days are the same. Conservationists work tirelessly to ensure that the environment in their care is properly protected. Since environmental conservationists often work with fragile ecosystems, it is critical that the research and practices conservationists use are exactly what is best for that environment.
Conservationists make decisions every day about how to maintain an area’s natural health. Then they must create and execute a plan to ensure that the area stays healthy. Conservationists must also continue to maintain that area if outside factors cause issues within the environment. Sometimes a conservationist must change their plans to account for new data and new research that will help keep an area as natural as possible.
If you are interested in learning more about environmental conservation careers then enrolling in Stratford Career Institute’s Conservation / Environmental Sciences Distance Learning Course is a great place to start.
Education to Become a Conservationist
If you want to know more about how to become a conservationist, you first need to get training. A conservationist’s education can come in many forms, but you typically need an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree in the field of conservation you want to go into.
There are also many different training and certifications you can get to help further your career and education as a conservationist. At a minimum, an associate degree will help you get a job with a conservation organization. But if you want to earn more money and move up in the field of conservation, you will need to obtain at least a bachelor’s degree.
Keep in mind, there are many different specializations for conservationists depending on where you want to work. If you want to help protect forests, you need to focus your education on a degree in forestry or biology. Conversely, if you want to help clean the oceans as a conservationist, you would probably need a degree in marine biology.
There are many ways to get training as a conservationist, but you can also learn more about the field from an internship or summer job. That way, you get to know more about different types of conservation without having to stay in one discipline for too long. Once you find the field of conservation you want to pursue, then you can find a job doing just that. Plus, these opportunities will help you build a good resume and will give you connections in the industry.
Not all conservationist careers require a degree, but having one can open up more job opportunities. You may find a greater variety of jobs and a better salary if you have a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as environmental sciences, agricultural science, or biology.
Some specific career paths like becoming a wildlife conservationist or forester often require a bachelor’s degree.
If you are unsure about what type of conservation you want to pursue, getting a bachelor’s degree in a catchall subject like biology will allow you flexibility in the field you go into. Then, once you graduate, you can learn additional discipline-specific skills on the job. A general degree like biology will help you succeed in whatever field of conservation you choose to pursue.
For some jobs, such as becoming a conservationist research scientist, having at least a Master’s degree is necessary. Likewise, some careers, such as a conservation researcher at a university or a private organization, may require a PhD.
Getting a master’s degree is not essential for becoming a conservationist. However, it will open up many more job opportunities in the field of conservation. With the additional skills and training learned from a master’s degree program, you will have knowledge that is in demand in the field. Having a master’s degree will allow you to qualify for much higher positions as a conservationist and will earn you a higher salary. Plus, if you want to go into academia, you will certainly need a master’s degree.
How to Become a Conservationist
Once you have completed all the education requirements for your degree, you are ready to find a job as a conservationist.
You can start by asking your teachers or internship leader if they know of anywhere that is hiring. You should also look out for opportunities at places like botanical gardens, protected wildlife areas, government agencies, and state or national parks.
All these places are looking for people to help them protect the environment and educate the public on the importance of natural areas.
Learn More About Becoming a Conservationist
Learning what you can about the field with an introductory course can be a great first step in working toward a successful career.
With Stratford Career Institute’s course on conservation, you will learn everything you need to know about a career in conservation, including:
- Environmental science and critical thinking;
- Environmental protection and sustainability;
- Understanding the root causes of the environmental crises;
- Measuring human population growth and its impact;
- Solutions for a sustainable society;
- Creating a sustainable system of agriculture to feed people;
- Nonrenewable energy sources;
- The earth and its mineral resources;
- Creating sustainable cities, suburbs, and towns;
- Learning to live with the earth’s carrying capacity;
- Principles of toxicology and risk assessment;
- Global air pollution, noise, and water pollution;
- Pests and pesticides for growing crops sustainably; and
- Sustainable economics and economic development.
Enroll today in Stratford’s Conservation / Environmental Sciences Distance Learning Course to get started!