Conservation Technician: Job Description and Education Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a conservation technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and on-the-job training to find out if this is the career for you.

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Conservation technicians map, patrol, and record land to assist with conservation efforts. Though they generally work in the wilderness, their jurisdiction may also include air and sea resources. An associate's or bachelor's degree is typically required.

Essential Information

Conservation technicians assist foresters and other conservation scientists in performing their tasks. They handle the technical aspects of environmental science jobs, including measuring, mapping, and patrolling land. Typically, science technicians possess an associate's degree in conservation technology or a field relevant to their specialization; alternately, some pursue a bachelor's degree in a broad science field, like biology. They also undergo on-the-job training from their employers.

Required Education Associate's degree or bachelor's degree
Other Requirements On-the-job training
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 4% for forest and conservation workers
Median Salary (2015)* $35,430 for conservation and forest technicians

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Conservation Technician Job Description


Conservation technicians collect data on the size and makeup of land, sea, and air. They also take note of the space's condition. They often work for foresters or conservation scientists. Their job is to assist those professionals by performing technical tasks like surveying and measuring land formations, sampling water or soil for pollutants, and checking wildlife and vegetation for disease or damage.

Job Duties

In their daily tasks, conservation technicians create maps of the areas under their watch. They also patrol those areas to ensure no damage comes to them. Part of that requires keeping a record of public and commercial activity within their jurisdiction, such as actions by logging companies. Conservation technicians help train other conservation workers in activities like planting trees and maintaining grounds. They also manage protection crews, whose work includes putting out forest fires.

Work Environment

Land, sea, and air falls under the jurisdiction of conservation technicians. Much of their work takes place outdoors. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that from 2014 to 2024 most employment growth for forest and conservation workers is likely to be in state-owned forest lands since more people are building homes in western forests.

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Educational Requirements

Associate's Degree in Conservation

According to the BLS, most science technicians have some type of postsecondary training before they enter the workforce ( Conservation technicians can earn an associate's degree in their field. These two-year programs focus on protecting and cultivating natural resources in a natural setting. Relevant courses include wildlife conservation and management, ecology, and computer skills.

On-the-Job Training

Besides a college education, the BLS states that science technicians generally undergo a period of on-the-job training. During this time, technicians generally become familiar with the specialized instruments their job requires. For conservation technicians, this can mean learning to work with surveying equipment or global position system technology, for example.

Other Courses

The BLS notes that focusing on science and mathematics courses in high school also provides useful preparation for science technician jobs. In lieu of an associate's degree in conservation, conservation technicians might also choose to earn a broader program of study, such as a bachelor's degree in biology. In that case, the BLS emphasizes that technicians should concentrate on lab-oriented classes that prepare students for the hands-on work of a science technician.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS,, the median annual salary earned by forest and conservation workers was $35,430 in May 2015. The employment of such workers is expected to increase by 4% between 2014 and 2024, per the BLS.

Conservation technicians collect data, which may include measuring land formations, sampling water, and checking wildlife for disease. They usually work outdoors and coordinate with other conservation professionals. They typically possess an associate's or bachelor's degree.

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