Wildlife Conservationist: Salary, Duties, Outlook and Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a wildlife conservationist. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs and job duties to find out if this is the career for you.

Essential Information

Commonly employed in local, state and federal government, wildlife conservationists work to preserve the habitats of plants and animals. Their job duties include studying soil and water, as well as striving to prevent wildfires. Entry-level jobs in wildlife conservation typically require a bachelor's degree in wildlife biology, environmental sciences, agricultural science or a related field. Those seeking advanced positions might need a master's degree.

Required Education Bachelor's degree related to wildlife biology for entry-level; master's degree for advancement
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)1% for all conservation scientists*
Average Annual Salary (2013) $63,330 for all conservation scientists*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Salary for a Wildlife Conservationist

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), conservation scientists, including wildlife conservationists, made an average annual salary of $63,330 in May 2013 (www.bls.gov). Wages varied greatly by type of employer. For example, conservation scientists working for the federal government earned an average of $74,440 per year, while those working for state governments made a mean of $52,410 annually.

Job Duties

A wildlife conservationist protects and manages various environments, such as forests and grasslands, to ensure that they're safe for the species and plants that live and grow there. This involves making sure habitats are free from diseases and harmful insects, as well as working to protect them from fire.

A wildlife conservationist also might check to make sure that soil is not contaminated and that water supplies are fresh and potable. Additionally, he or she might educate the public about the importance of caring for wildlife and the overall environment.

Career Outlook

According to the BLS, job opportunities for conservation scientists in general were forecast to grow by 1% from 2012-2022, which was slower than the average projected for all careers. Most new jobs were expected at the federal, state, and local levels because of an increased need to prevent and mitigate forest fires.

Educational Requirements

A bachelor's degree typically is the minimum requirement for an entry-level career as a wildlife conservationist. Those aspiring to work in this field might choose an undergraduate program in wildlife biology or a related field, such as natural resources, agricultural science, or environmental sciences. Topics covered in these programs might include diversity of life, wildlife management issues, genetics, evolution, and biology. Those who plan to pursue advanced positions in wildlife conservation might benefit from a master's degree program.

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