Conservation Scientist: Job Description, Responsibilities and Salary

Sep 22, 2019

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

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Conservation scientists may work in the public or private sector, advising individuals or organizations on how to best conserve land or making plans for how to use a piece of land. They are knowledgable about ecology, conservation, and environmental factors, and how these intersect with conservation.

Essential Information

Conservation scientists play a large role in how humans interact with the land around them. Government agencies, private companies or individual landowners hire them to determine the best course of action to preserve land in its natural state. Conservation scientists generally have a particular area of focus, and their duties, salary, and job description vary depending on what they try to accomplish. A conservation scientist typically has a bachelor's degree. Conservation scientists can earn voluntary professional certification.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Certification Voluntary professional certification also available
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028) 4%* (for all conservation scientists)
Average Annual Salary (2018) $65,320* (for conservation scientists)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for a Conservation Scientist

Conservation scientists work for various employers, such as federal, state or local government, corporations or farmers. They mainly promote safe and ecologically responsible interactions with natural land. Different focuses exist within conservation science; for example, soil or water conservation. As such, conservation scientists take an array of environmental factors into account. A bachelor's degree in such fields as environmental or agricultural science, natural resources, rangeland management or ecology is generally required to become a conservation scientist; professionals aiming to research or teach go on to earn a master's or doctorate in similar fields. Between 2018 and 2028, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that employment of conservation scientists would grow 4%.

Conservation Scientist Responsibilities

In decisions regarding public and personal use of lands, conservation scientists help make them to protect and preserve natural resources. The government may hire them to perform studies, develop plans for reforestation efforts or determine ecological impacts due to human activity. Individual companies or private landowners sometimes employ conservation scientists to figure out the most appropriate way to use a given parcel of land. Most conservation scientists hone their work and studies on a particular ecological focus. A scientist may look at soil health, water conservation, natural forest protection, different plant and animal patterns or any number of factors, but all conservation scientists attempt to create the most symbiotic relationship between humans and nature.

Salary Information for Conservation Scientists

The earnings of conservation scientists range and depend on their focus, employer and level of education. According to BLS data published in May 2018, the highest-paying industry for conservation scientists was business, professional, labor, political and similar organizations, which paid these professionals a mean annual wage of $98,820. For conservation scientists as a whole, the BLS reported, the mean annual wage was $65,320 as of May 2018.

Conservation scientists can work for the government, private companies, or individuals, advising on issues relating to land conservation. They typically have a bachelor's degree in a related field, and may also pursue certification.

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