Focussed on the protection and preservation of species, wildlife and ecosystems, unsurprisingly, conservation requires an affinity for nature and the outdoors. And while many conservationists start out in fieldwork, you can work in conservation in many other capacities.
Fieldwork is undoubtedly a large part of wildlife conservation. But as the sector is so diverse, you can find other avenues to suit your interests, skills and experience.
It takes a huge team of professionals, academics and volunteers to make conservation efforts a success. So, no matter if you prefer lab work, getting out in the wilderness or working behind the scenes, there’s a role to suit.
Each avenue of wildlife conservation will require different skillsets. If you want the best chance of success, you should pursue an education in that area. Many roles in conservation don’t require qualifications or degrees. However, fierce competition for jobs means you need to do what you can to give your application every chance of success.
To help you get started, we’ve listed some of the roles you can pursue in different areas of conservation. So you have a better idea of the options available to you and how to get started in them.
Which area of Conservation is right for me?
Though a broad ranging field of work, conservation endeavours all revolve around the management and enhancement of wildlife. No matter if this is in the UK, abroad, at sea, undertaking research or cleaning up nature reserves.
An extensive list of roles fall into this sector, but the majority of these can be split into two categories: scientific/academic or hands-on conservation work.
It’s the work of scientists that underpins and informs conservation interventions. Without their research, conservationists wouldn’t have protected species, habitats and sites around the globe anywhere near as effectively.
To land prestigious roles like a biologist, ecologist, zoologist or researcher, you need a higher level qualification. And many people within these roles carry out a high proportion of their work in laboratories.
Complete detailed studies and extensive research on animal life, ecosystems and habitats. All of which helps to highlight issues and outline key problems that aid in the development of future solutions. You can start to build your knowledge in this area with targeted courses in marine biology. Or work your way towards a biology degree by studying an Access to Higher Education Diploma (Social Science and Health) – Biology Pathway.
Study the natural relationships between animals, plants and humans to identify behaviours such as the way they inhabit particular environments. This gives you a greater understanding of the impact of human activities and how we can live more cohesively with wildlife. Start exploring this area of conservation through a Diploma in Ecology.
Examine animal species in different environments to better understand their anatomy, behaviour, classification, evolution and physiology. With this knowledge, you can identify hostile species, changing habitats and population numbers. Courses in Zoology and Marine Zoology are an excellent starting point for your education.
Develop, research and support projects aimed at reducing the impact on our environment. Study an entry course leading towards a conservation researcher role with an Access to Higher Education Diploma (Land Based Science).
If your preference is to get out amongst it in the wild, there are plenty of field-based roles available too. Many enable you to either work up close with animals or view different species in the flesh from a distance. What’s more, you can get into these through college courses and by gaining relevant experience.
African Wildlife Conservation Field Officer
Plan out and run fieldwork and conservation efforts that aid the safeguarding and longevity of wildlife in Africa. These can include outreach and educational activities to raise awareness in local populations. As well as duties like field data collection, data curation and analysis activities. You can align yourself with roles in this area through courses relating to African Wildlife and Conservation.
Manage and care for areas of the UK countryside while acting as a guardian for plant and animal life. This could see you working in country parks, coastal areas, forests, national parks and nature reserves. Monitoring species activity by completing wildlife surveys, planting trees and managing water environments. Build your knowledge ahead of working in this area with courses in Environmental Management or Wild Animal Behaviour.
Rescue and rehabilitate sick, injured or orphaned wildlife before reintroducing them back into their natural environment. Whilst in temporary care, animals will be rehabilitated through physical therapy/exercise sessions. You can gain knowledge in this line of work with a Wildlife Rehabilitation course.
Other Conservation Careers
If the above options don’t pique your interests, there are still many careers in conservation for you to explore. It takes the skills of people from all manner of professional backgrounds to make conservation efforts a success. Many of which work behind the scenes helping to better communicate sustainability messages to the public.
Some of the many areas you could become involved in are:
- Community education programmes
- Fundraising & development
- Photography and filmmaking
- Policy & advocacy
- IT and website design
- Marketing, communications & advertising
- Volunteer project organisation
Professionals in these areas help communicate conservation messages to a wider audience. Without them, the extent of conservation efforts and the challenges facing wildlife and our environment wouldn’t be realised.
Depending on your skillset, qualifications and experience, you may already be aligned to work in conservation. You can check the criteria for certain conservation on websites like African Conservation Foundation, indeed or conservation careers.
Get Qualified to Work in Conservation
With a broad range of skills required to make conservation efforts successful, anyone can align themselves to work in conservation. But you’ll need to make an impression over the many other people vying for roles in this area.
You can do this by investing time into gaining specific knowledge of conservation, in addition to your existing skills. That way, employers will know that you’re serious about this line of work and committed to learning.
Online courses are a great way to get educated in relevant aspects of the field quickly. So you can get started with your new career.
You can upskill around your existing schedule since the course materials are studied when and where you please. Removing the need to plan childcare or compromise your work commitments.
Some of these online courses include practical training elements that you can complete at multiple times throughout the year. So you have more say in how your education takes place, fitting it more easily around your lifestyle.
Find out more about the courses that will enable you to work in conservation by clicking the link below.