When you think of conservation jobs do you envisage someone in the field watching turtle hatchlings or perhaps observing Mountain Gorillas? Although these conservation jobs exist, and are very attractive, the conservation industry is a large, expanding and diversifying sector.
Much bigger than you might imagine, it’s become a professional industry offering a dizzying array of conservation job types for job seekers. For example, on Conservation Careers to date we’ve listed 19,247 conservation jobs which cover 12,356 different job titles!
When finding your niche is so important to becoming competitive – and enjoying your career – where do you start?
This ultimate guide to conservation jobs covers the 15 key conservation job types to kick-start your career journey. In this uber-guide we’ll walk you through the key roles in order to help you to understand where you might fit in. Enjoy!
What is a Conservation Job?
Before we do a deep dive into the conservation job market, let’s quickly touch on what we define as a conservation job?
For Conservation Careers, a conservation job is any role where your activities aid the conservation or enhancement of wildlife.
This includes jobs which directly benefit wildlife conservation like a Project Officer for a marine protected area in Fiji. It also includes roles which indirectly benefit biodiversity conservation efforts, such as a Communications Manager role, whose job is it to raise the profile of a conservation organisation, so that staff such as their Project Officer can get to work protecting that Fijian marine reserve.
If the role aids conservation efforts, it’s a conservation job.
Conservation Career Stories and Careers Advice
We’ve spoken to over 400 professional conservationists and shared their career stories, advice, tips and much more in our career advice article and in our Conservation Careers podcast. These include conservation leaders such as:
- RSPB Chief Executive | Dr Mike Clark
- WWF Director General | Dr Marco Lambertini
- BirdLife International Chief Executive Officer | Patricia Zurita
- ZSL Director General | Dominic Jermey OBE
- IUCN Director General | Julia Marton-Lefèvre
- Cambridge University Chair of Conservation Biology | Professor Bill Sutherland
If you want to know what it’s like to work in different conservation jobs, and how you can follow in their footsteps, you can search our conservation careers advice archives, and subscribe to our regular podcast on iTunes, Spotify or Stitcher.
Ready for the full list? Let’s dive in – the water’s lovely…
What jobs are there in wildlife conservation? 15 Key Conservation Jobs
Animal Welfare Conservation Jobs | Caring for animals
Zoos, sanctuaries, aquariums and rehabilitation centres are playing an increasingly important role in conservation and education programmes.
Within a zoo environment, roles such as Keeper, Zoo-keeper, Breeding Officer, Animal warden, Zoo Ranger, Animal Care Assistant, Animal Caregiver, Wildlife Assistant, and Assistant Animal Supervisor typically undertake the following duties:
- All aspects of animal husbandry and welfare.
- Assisting with the cleaning of animal areas.
- Regular inspections of the animals.
- Assisting with the preparation of approved diets and carrying out the correct feeding procedures.
- Maintaining courteous and helpful relations with visitors.
- Assisting with animal enrichment programmes.
In addition, there are a growing number of animal welfare jobs which are based in the field, which includes working in conservation as a Veterinarian / Vet.
Dionne Slagter is the Animal Welfare Manager for Animals Asia. Her role is to advise and support a move within Vietnam’s Elephant tourism industry towards a more ethical standpoint.
Eventually she hopes to eradicate the demand for elephant riding overall and ensure that all other forms of elephant based tourism put the needs of the animals as the priority. The idea is to encourage all shareholders in elephant tourism to want to make the change to a more ethical model and Dionne has to utilise all her people skills as well as her extensive knowledge of animal welfare in order to do this.
Eve Mansfield was a zoo-keeper in the UK and is now Director of the Laos Conservation Trust for Wildlife – a rescue centre. Her job role as a Director is very varied, and flexibility is key. At any one time she could be tasked with implementing a rescue, planning the future of the centre, assisting with veterinary care or even looking into finance and human resources.
Working in conservation as a Vet
Veterinarians also work in conservation and are often classified into the field of Conservation Medicine. This includes working as a Wildlife Vet, Zoo Vet or Research Vet.
As a wildlife veterinarian you rarely treat the animals themselves. Instead, your focus is on keeping their habitat safe for them and safe for the humans living there.
The main part of the job is educating people living with or around wildlife on how to act if they ever encounter it and how they have to treat their environment. It starts with simple things, like wildlife-safe dustbins so the animals aren’t attracted to our food and therefore don’t get used to us and won’t do any harm.
The role of zoo veterinarians in conservation has expanded significantly over the past few decades. It is often assumed that a zoo veterinarian is only responsible for treating a zoo animal when it gets ill and keeping the overall collection of animals healthy.
However, this is only a fraction of the work they do, as they are now involved in the more traditional ex situ conservation projects and education, but also in rehabilitation and reintroduction projects. Of course, not every zoo veterinarian does all of these things, but conservation is becoming an ever-growing part of the job in many institutions.
The veterinarians that are truly invaluable to conservation are those that have dedicated their lives to specialising in subjects essential for the work with endangered species and wildlife in general.
This includes anaesthesiology of wildlife/marine mammals/fish and molluscs (and so on), reproduction physiology of endangered species and options to aid their breeding processes, setting markers to assess the wellbeing of populations in the wild (and individuals in an ex situ setting) and so many other fields that are vital to conservation efforts being successful.
Read more about working in conservation as a vet here.
Careers Advice for budding Animal Welfare Conservationists
“The best advice I can give anyone looking to get into the animal care field, especially if they are considering a zoo, aquarium or sanctuary, is to volunteer or intern with those organisations. In my experience, these types of organisations are less impressed with academic achievements and more focused on hands-on experience.”
“If there is an organisation that someone is interested in working for, I would highly recommend they start there as a volunteer or sign up for internships with that group (multiple if possible!). If the organisation is already familiar with a person and appreciates the help they have already been giving, that individual will have a much better chance of landing a job with them”, said Michelle Proulx – Director of animal care and educational programmes at W.O.L.F Sanctuary, Colorado, USA.
Animal Welfare Conservation Career Stories – Read the latest here
- Volunteer to Conservation Manager with Zoo Keeper Sara Fee
- Ten questions with Zoo Education Curator Rick LoBello
- Podcast: Dominic Jermey OBE | ZSL
- Michelle Proulx | Wolf Conservation & Welfare
- Dionne Slagter | Animal Welfare Manager
- Eve Mansfield | Laos Conservation Trust for Wildlife
- Working in Conservation as a Veterinarian
Animal Welfare Conservation Jobs
To date we have published 188 animal welfare conservation jobs on Conservation Careers. Discover the latest Animal Welfare Conservation Jobs.
Animal Welfare Conservation Video
Watch ‘Being an Animal Welfare Officer’
Communications & Marketing Conservation Jobs | Raising the profile of conservation
One could argue that the single most influential conservationist of our time works in communications. Sir David Attenborough has written and presented his knowledge and passion for the natural world and inspired scores of young people to love the natural world, and almost as many to seek to help it.
Working in Communications and Marketing is a fast growing area of conservation. Your role is to identify, research and develop engaging stories for different audiences across multiple formats and channels. It covers conservation jobs such as Communications Officer/Specialist, Marketing Officer, Social Media Assistant, Magazine Editor, TV Assistant, Writer, Wildlife Journalist, Presenter or Blogger.
Within these roles your work may be varied and creative, involving activities such as:
- Promoting the work of employers to attract support
- Communicating to internal and external audiences through growing range of channels – Press releases, news stories, videos, podcasts, newsletters, magazines, brochures
- Using social media channels to grow and engage audiences.
- Representing your organisation to a range of outside contacts such as politicians, civil society and the media
- Developing and running campaigns
- Plus, lots more..!
Alan Wright is the Senior Communications and Campaigns Officer with the Lancashire Wildlife Trust. “My role is to raise the profile of the Lancashire Wildlife Trust specifically and of the UK’s Wildlife Trust movement in general. That’s publicising our work, at regional and national levels, and driving forward relationships with partners and funders.
“I write press releases and news stories, make media appearances on TV and radio, and produce social media and other output. I write content for grant applications, organise events, and run public competitions. I also manage internal communications to ensure staff know what is going on and facilitate collaboration across our work areas”.
“Individual media pieces fit within communications plans and campaigns. Communications plans are about how projects communicate with their various audiences. Campaigns are broader programmes to raise awareness, typically focused on a charismatic species, and help maximise the support we can get for connected projects and activities. It’s important to coordinate and make sure everything is done “on brand” for recognisable quality output that builds the Trust’s standing”.
“Underpinning everything is getting out and meeting people, building up my knowledge of what we do, and developing relationships. That’s brilliant as I get involved with conservation activities too – whether shearing sheep on one of our reserves or going pond dipping with British TV naturalist Nick Baker”, said Alan.
Careers Advice for budding Conservation Communicators & Marketers
“Communicating with one another is important. Other like-minded people are not competition, they are a support network. A career in wildlife conservation is a team sport – you have to be willing to work with others if you’re to make a difference and reach your full potential. Especially with social media where your reputation will precede you and you want to be open and helpful to others”, suggested Wildlife Communications Manager Lucy McRobert.
Communications & Marketing Conservation Career Stories – Read the latest here
- Karen Mitchell | Conservation Communications and Fundraising
- Communicating the wonders of the natural world with Stephen Moss
- Want to be a conservation journalist? An interview with conservation journalist Jeremy Hance
- Wild Words: A career communicating science
- Storytelling for a sustainable world – a career marketing tourism
- Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover
- How to be a wildlife journalist
- The Bare Bones of Conservation with (TV Presenter) Ben Garrod
- How I started in conservation communications
- Writing about wildlife: becoming a communications officer in conservation
Communications & Marketing Conservation Jobs
To date we have published 1221 communications & marketing conservation jobs on Conservation Careers. Discover the latest communications & marketing conservation jobs.
Community-based Conservation Jobs | Helping people to be part of the solution
More organisations are seeing local people as key stakeholders in the process of conservation. There is a need for people to work effectively within different cultural settings and languages to deliver benefits for people and the planet.
People often get into conservation to work with animals, and then realise conservation is all about working with people. Increasingly conservation organisations are engaging in activities and projects which put local people at the heart of their work – seeing them as part of the solution to the problems in the natural world.
If you enjoy working with people, work well in different cultural settings and enjoy finding solutions for people and the planet then community-based conservation might be for you.
Typical early career job titles in this area are Community Outreach Officer and Local Empowerment Officer, and they include the following duties:
- Supporting local communities to sustainably manage their species, habitats and landscapes.
- Holding workshops, and planning community driven projects.
- Delivering volunteer, community and people-participation projects.
- Working within differences cultures and languages.
- Delivering livelihood benefits through project design and implementation.
“I get to speak to many different people every day – from project managers in the field in Madagascar to the Digital Media Assistant in the UK. Speaking to so many different people in different teams, all working on different projects, to work towards a common goal is exciting and I learn something new (or lots of things) every day”, said Jenny Maltby is the Conservation Programmes Assistant at Blue Ventures.
“The best thing about my job is the diversity of my work. No day is like the other. I’ve found myself snorkelling on a remote island surveying seagrass, conducting focus groups on family planning, facilitating a training session on theories of change, supporting partners to analyse data and write reports, and meeting with government officials in the capitol. Who knows what tomorrow will bring!” said Urszula Stankiewicz People- Health-Environment (PHE) Support Officer at Blue Ventures.
Careers Advice for budding Community-based Conservationists
“I have spent a lot of time reading articles, journals, books and online blogs. I feel that a good background knowledge of all conservation issues is extremely useful in my current role. As conservation is such a competitive sector and is difficult to get into, it is important to stand out”.
“Volunteering for free is something that most conservationists have done at some point in their career. It shows passion, dedication and employers will see that you are willing to go above and beyond to work in this field”, added Jenny.
“Whilst on your journey to save the planet, don’t forget about people. If you really want to make a positive impact, you must involve the people who are most affected by degrading ecosystems. Communities, often in remote areas, are on the front lines of conservation. Engage them at every level to find solutions that work for them. I believe this is the only way conservation can work”, noted Urszula.
Community-based Conservation Jobs Career Stories – Read the latest here
- Podcast: Dr Alasdair Harris | Blue Ventures
- Blue Ventures | Community-based Conservation
- Frances Humber | Blue Ventures
- Human nature: Protecting Indigenous resource rights in remote Australia
- Moses Muthoki | Community-based Conservation
Community-based Conservation Jobs
To date we have published 1622 Community-based Conservation Jobs on Conservation Careers. Discover the latest Community-based Conservation Jobs.
Countryside Management, Warden & Ranger Conservation Jobs | Saving key sites for nature
Being involved in countryside management means working on the practical side of conservation, and getting your hands dirty. There are two important aspects of managing sites – the habitat and the visitor access. Habitat could be grassland, wetland, woodland etc. For the access management there’s the footpaths, signs and gates alongside the health and safety of a site.
If you enjoy being outside, hard work and being in touch with people and sites, this could be the role for you!
Typical conservation job titles in this area are Assistant Warden, Assistant Ranger, Countryside Ranger, Park Ranger, Estate Worker and Reserves Officer, and their duties include:
- Managing sites in accordance with the management plan – habitat and site work.
- Welcoming visitors and providing a good customer experience.
- Writing and updating the management plan.
- Preparing, administering and controlling income and expenditure budgets for projects.
- Working with contractors and volunteers.
“It’s a really diverse role and allows me to spend around 3.5 days per week outside, on the reserves, which can be rare in conservation. Coming back year after year and seeing the difference gives you a great sense of achievement”.
“I also really enjoy working with volunteers. I’m responsible for looking after our volunteers – which is how I started out – and I now recruit and train them myself. Seeing them develop, learn and go off into their conservation careers is really satisfying”, said Jenny MacKay – Reserves Officer for The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.
“What I do varies throughout the year. As West Norfolk Assistant Warden I am principally based at Roydon Common, an established lowland heath and mire system. Adjacent is Grimston Warren, an area of land that is undergoing heathland restoration from conifer plantation. There are a further five smaller reserves that come under my job remit”.
“For all sites the winter months are comprised of habitat management tasks principally scrub control through the use of brushcutters, chainsaws and pesticides. Spring into summer is the breeding season, an opportunity to survey the reserve for breeding birds (nightjar, woodlark, etc.) and to monitor butterflies and dragonflies. Other tasks over the year include machinery and estate maintenance (i.e. fencing), people engagement and working with the reserves Dartmoor ponies”, said Lizzie Bruce – West Norfolk Assistant Warden for the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.
Careers Advice for budding Countryside Managers, Wardens & Rangers
“If you want to work in conservation, it is useful to have an idea of what you area you want to work in. In the habitat management field, you will inevitably have to volunteer after you graduate. I recommend the Wildlife Trust’s traineeships, which provides excellent entry-level experience volunteer training. So scout around and be proactive in seeking out places where you can take these lead roles as a volunteer – even if the roles don’t yet exist!”
“It is also important to be strategic and identify what the requirements are for entry-level jobs. Once you have that baseline volunteer experience, I suggest to download job requirements regardless and compare your skills to the ones asked by the employer. That way, you identify the gaps in your CV and can better match the job market”, said Paul Furnborough – Reserve Warden on the Hampton Nature Reserve with Froglife.
Countryside Managers, Wardens & Ranger Conservation Jobs Career Stories – Read the latest here.
- How do you become a nature reserve officer?
- Keeping a watch on Norfolk’s Wildlife with Lizzie Bruce
- It’s a Frog’s Life with Paul Furnborough
Countryside Managers, Wardens & Ranger Conservation Jobs
To date we have published 2295 Countryside Managers, Wardens & Ranger Conservation Jobson Conservation Careers. Discover the latest Wardens & Ranger Conservation Jobs.
Countryside Managers, Wardens & Ranger Video
Watch the RSPB’s Ouse Fen Warden Hannah Bernie at work on the reserve.
Ecotourism Conservation Jobs | Helping people experience the natural world
Ecotourism focuses on showing people the natural world and its wildlife. It has also been acclaimed as the best solution for attaining the often conflicting goals of conserving our planet´s habitats and creatures, and improving people´s quality of life through economic development of a region.
There are two different kinds of reason to look into Ecotourism.
First, conservation is a very competitive field and sometimes a job can be a hard thing to find. Sending out loads of applications with no results is something many conservation students have come to dread, even before they plunge into the job market. This can happen to many people, even those who have done the almost-mandatory volunteering in conservation.
Take the example of Chris Thompson. “…despite a large number of applications (>50) and a reasonable amount of volunteering experience I was getting nowhere with my search for a job in conservation (not a single interview).”
That is, until Chris decided to start looking for a job in the ecotourism sector…“To give you an idea of the difference in responses: In 6 months applying in the conservation sector I probably only heard back from 60% of organizations and even then I didn’t have a single interview; whereas in 1 month of applying in the tourism sector I heard back from all the companies I applied to and had 2 interviews and 2 job offers.”
“Maybe this was due to my situation / CV / skill-set or simply because the industry is less competitive (some jobs I applied for in conservation had over 350 applicants), but just getting responses was an improvement.”
Chris is now working for a company called Audley Travel, which has been awarded 5 stars for Sustainable Tourism by AITO (Association of Independent Travel Operators).
Second, being in the ecotourism industry can be a way to marry your passion for nature and your will to be active in conservation with your more entrepreneurial side, should you have one.
Working with people and showing them the natural world is perhaps the single most important thing to do in conservation if we are to guarantee the future and sustainability of our ecosystems. So, if ecotourism is something that appeals to you, it might be your way into conservation.
The sorts of duties you’ll be doing depends on the role you’re interested in. For example, as a Scuba Instructor, you’ll be:
- Providing safe SCUBA tuition
- Enforcing policies on expedition safety on site
- Planning safe diving
- Being responsible for maintaining SCUBA training records and equipment and maintenance schedules
- Undertaking marine surveys
As a Field Guide, you’ll be:
- Conducting game drive experiences
- Hosting guests at certain meals and other relevant times
- Responsible for the maintenance and up keep of vehicles and equipment/assets
- Working independently and unsupervised for majority of time…
As a Sales Manager, you’ll be:
- Responding to travel enquiries
- Specialised in a certain region or country
- Designing trips and itineraries
- Scouting out new locations
As a Certification Coach, you’ll be:
- Evaluating an ecotourism company’s practices against sustainability criteria
- Coaching the company to help them achieve certification
- Auditing on site to assess whether the company meets, maintains and/or improves against sustainability criteria
Ecotourism Conservation Jobs Career Stories | Career Stories & Advice – Read the latest here.
Ecotourism Conservation Jobs
To date we have published just 27 ecotourism jobs Conservation Careers – but we’re aiming to share many more soon, as it’s such a growing area of opportunity. Check out the latest Ecotourism Jobs.
Ecological Consultancy Conservation Jobs | Ensuring ecologically-sensitive development
With increasing environmental legislation comes the need for skilled ecologists who can interpret law, advise clients and understand ecosystems.
Ecological and Environmental Consultants undertake surveys – often for protected species and habitats – to provide advice to clients wishing to undertake developments.
An important area of work is the undertaking of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) – of which ecology is one aspect. Ecological Impact Assessments (EcIAs) cover scoping out potential issues to survey within a development, undertaking the survey, and providing advice to avoid or mitigate for any issues – all within the framework of the latest planning advice and laws.
Within the context of conservation, consultants are relatively well paid, often have a clear professional career progression and may specialise in a specific area.
The skills learnt as a consultant – such as project, budget and staff management – can be very transferrable into other sectors, such as charities.
Typical job titles within this area are Ecologist, Assistant Ecologist and Graduate Ecologist, and they cover the following duties:
- Undertaking a wide range of ecological surveys including extended Phase 1 Habitat Surveys and more specialist work such as protected species surveys and mitigation.
- Carrying out desk studies, consultations, research, data management and analysis, and report writing.
- Liaising with clients and statutory bodies.
- Inputting into ecological sections of Environmental Impact Assessments.
- Supporting sales activities by assisting with drafting proposals and quotes.
“I really like working with the people in my team, and also I enjoy the problem solving aspect of my role. Modern EIAs are complicated, and very often we have to work with clients to address difficult issues. This involves me using my scientific background to generate sometimes fairly complex ways of analysing data to inform and address these issues. That’s exciting”, said Dr Mark Rehfisch – Head of Ornithology at APEM.
Careers Advice for budding Ecological Consultants
“Be persistently proactive. It sounds very cheesy, but it’s the most fundamental advice which I give people day-in day-out. Getting a good job is never easy, regardless of the level you are at in your career. To really maximise your chances you need to actively network, attend conferences, volunteer and even just approach people who may have authored a report you find interesting”.
“But it’s not just being proactive like this it’s being persistently proactive. The more avenues you try the higher your likelihood of success. A lot of people do get dispirited, and that is natural, but the best ones are those who can push through that and reap the rewards which come further down the line. If it takes six months to find the right job, over the course of a whole career or 40 or 50 years it’s small fish really. So persist”, said Simon Bangs – Conservation Recruitment Consultant for Allen & York.
Ecological Consultants Conservation Jobs | Career Stories & Advice – Read the latest here.
Ecological Consultants Conservation Jobs
To date we have published 894 Ecological Consultants jobs Conservation Careers – but we’re aiming to share many more soon, as it’s such a growing area of opportunity. Discover the latest Ecological Consultants jobs.
Environmental Economics & Ecosystem Assessment Conservation Jobs | Putting a value on nature
An increasingly popular way of conserving the planet is through ecosystem assessments – literally putting a price on the value nature provides to us for free. Still in its infancy, there will be more focus on these methods looking forwards.
Putting a value on the natural world is an effective way to influence business leaders and politicians and has become a fast-growing field within conservation.
If you have a passion for the natural world and an aptitude for numbers (or specialism in economics) this could be the field for you!
Typical job titles in this area are Economics Programme Officer, Junior Environmental Economist and Sustainable Finance Assistant, and their duties usually cover:
- Providing expertise at the intersection of economics and finance, development and the environment.
- Supporting the development and application of economic tools and analysis – e.g. ecosystem service valuation, cost benefit analysis, opportunity cost analysis, bio-economic modelling.
- Developing and evaluating economic incentives and financing mechanisms for biodiversity conservation and restoration.
- Building a compelling business case for investment in conservation programmes.
Environmental Economics & Ecosystem Assessment Conservation Jobs
To date we have published 97 Environmental Economics & Ecosystem Assessment jobs on Conservation Careers. Discover the latest Environmental Economics & Ecosystem Assessment jobs.
Environmental Education Conservation Jobs | Increasing awareness and support for nature
Changing attitudes and educating people (children and adults) is fast becoming more important in conservation as we strive to reach new audiences and increase our efforts. If you love working with people this might be where your impact is waiting for you.
Environmental education can be teaching anyone from toddlers to adults about the natural world. There are a growing number of roles within local charities (like the Wildlife Trusts or Zoos) for educators. At the other end of the spectrum, you might be interested in becoming a lecturer or teaching fellow at a college or university.
If you have passion and knowledge to share, and enjoying working with others, this could be the role for you.
Typical job titles within the area are Learning Officer, Education Officer, Environmental Educator, Schools Outreach Officer, Learning Assistant, Schools Outreach Project Officer and Education Assistant. Their duties often cover:
- Leading a wide variety of environmental education sessions for school groups and families.
- Delivering community events to promote conservation work.
- Delivering interpretation and training programmes.
- Promoting membership schemes.
Rick LoBello is Education Curator at the El Paso Zoo. “I oversee all of the education programs including formal school programs (called Zoo Adventure Programs) and informal programs for general zoo guests. Zoo Adventure Programs are science standard aligned classes. Informal programs are held at animal exhibits in collaboration with the zookeepers”.
“We strive to build a connection between our guests and the animals, to create a feeling of empathy to inspire people to make changes in their lives to help wildlife. I also spearhead many of our conservation initiatives such as our stand on the palm oil crisis”, said Rick.
Careers Advice for budding Environmental Educators
“Contact your local Wildlife Trust and see what volunteering opportunities they have. Our education team depends on our fantastic volunteers (and most of our staff used to be volunteers!) so there are definitely openings out there”.
“Have a look around in books and online to find out more about Forest Schools. It’s a broad movement and there are lots of different groups doing lots of different things. Expensive training is available and that might be something you consider – but do get some experience of what Forest Schools are in practice first so you know whether it is right for you”, said Kathryn Phillips – Education Officers for The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside.
Environmental Education | Career Stories & Advice – Read the latest here.
- What’s involved in being a teaching fellow?
- Ten questions with Zook Education Curator Rick LoBello
- How can the Field Studies Council help your conservation career?
- Forest Schools – Volunteering at home: accessible for all Jobs
Environmental Education Conservation Jobs
To date we have published 924 Environmental Education Conservation Jobs on Conservation Careers. Discover the latest Environmental Education jobs.
Fundraising & Development Conservation Jobs | Raising money to save nature
One way to have an impact in your career is to raise the vital funds needed to make things happen. Often termed ‘development’, fundraising can mean many different things – from running a stand at a country fair, to writing multi-million dollar proposals to governments. One thing’s for sure, if you’re a good fundraiser then you’ll be in demand as every conservation charity wants to raise more money. Always.
Typical early career job titles in this area are Membership Development Officer, Fundraising Officer, Membership Development Assistant and Development Officer. These often include the following duties:
- Writing grant applications and reports
- Supporting members and donors
- Organising appeals, campaigns and fundraising drives
- Developing projects and programmes
“The best moments in the job are when we secure significant funding, and I can see that I’ve been an important part of a team who have started a project which will help to save a species from extinction”, Dr Nick Askew, Pacific Fundraising Manager for BirdLife International.
“I find fundraising uplifting and energising, as it involves experiencing, every day, how much people care about the natural environment and how much they want to help out, both financially and in other ways”.
“I feel like I have been tremendously lucky because my job is my calling. I love every single day. Before I moved to work in nature conservation I used to have that horrible Sunday evening feeling of not wanting to go in to work on Monday – I haven’t had that feeling in years,” she concluded”, said Karen Mitchell – Relationships Manager for Trees for Life.
Fundraising & Development Conservation Jobs | Career Stories & Advice – Read the latest here.
- Karen Mitchell | Conservation Communications and Fundraising
- Heather McFarlane | Bat Conservation Trust
- What’s it like to work in Communications and Fundraising?
- What’s it like working in conservation fundraising?
- Fundraising: A Look at the Ins and Outs of Nonprofit Grant Writing
Fundraising & Development Conservation Jobs
To date we have published 599 Fundraising & Development Conservation Jobs on Conservation Careers. Discover the latest Fundraising & Development Conservation Jobs.
Mapping & GIS Conservation Jobs | Putting nature on the map
As computers and GPS (Global Positioning Systems) technology become ever more powerful, there is a growing need for skilled staff to make sense of it all and to inform conservation action. GIS (Geographic Information Systems) are the software used by modern conservationists who are putting species, sites and habitats on the map. If you enjoy cartography and computers, then this conservation career path could be perfect for you.
Job titles typical in the area include GIS Technical Support Officer, GIS Spatial Modeller, GIS Spatial Modeller, GIS / Ecology Graduate, GIS Technical Support Officer and GIS Officer. They usually include the following duties:
- Maintaining and developing the main databases and spatial information systems
- Developing tools for analysing ecological processes
- Data quality assurance and licencing issues.
“I think one of the most interesting things is the diversity of the projects which I get involved with. You could be creating a dot map for someone who’s described a new species, or you could be churning through thousands of data points to work out species richness or hotspots of plant diversity, or you could be editing feature geometry. I also really enjoy training and helping students”, said Steve Bachman – Kew Gardens.
Careers Advice for Budding Mapping & GIS Conservationists – Read the latest here.
“These days you have to be a real number cruncher, be comfortable with various software packages and have good data-basing skills… the data is getting bigger. It’s not enough just knowing your way around the Microsoft Office suite; employers are looking for people who can use specialist programs like R [programming language] and ArcGIS [industry standard mapping program]”.
“Having said that, it’s also important to get out there in the world and get bitten by mosquitos! It all helps when you’re stuck behind your desk questioning your career choices. Don’t become too distant from the underlying fieldwork”, said Steve Bachman – Kew Gardens.
Mapping & GIS Conservation Jobs | Career Stories & Advice
- Helping Kew put Conservation on the Map with Steve Bachman
- OpenChannels – Taking Marine Spatial Planning to the next level
- Podcast: Alasdair Davies | Creative Technologist
- 13 Short Online Course Ideas to Boost Your GIS Career
Mapping & GIS Conservation Jobs
To date we have published 288 Mapping & GIS Conservation Jobs on Conservation Careers. Discover the latest Mapping & GIS Conservation Jobs.
Marine Conservation Jobs | Protecting the blue planet
As conservation on dry land is maturing, there has been an explosion in jobs within the marine environment within recent years. It’s a diverse area of work and requires all the skillsets of those across the industry as a whole. If you’re passionate about the life in the seas there might be a job for you in here.
The roles are diverse and growing, and include job titles such as Marine Support Officer, Marine Assistant and Assistant Marine Ecologist. These typically involve the following sorts of duties:
- Working on marine ecology, marine protected area or biodiversity assessment and management.
- Literature reviews and data collation from existing sources.
- Species identification both on surveys and from underwater video and still photographs (underwater surveys).
- Planning and participating in marine surveys, inshore and offshore.
- Analysing marine ecology data sets and presenting results.
“The absolute best is to be able to go out on the boats every day and spend some time with the dolphins. It is never boring because in every sighting there is always something different. These animals never cease to amaze me. I also like very much that I get to do so much in the association and get the opportunity to try different things that push my limits. There is a lesson to be learned every day”, said Catarina Fonseca – Researcher and Volunteer Coordinator for AIMM.
Careers Advice for Budding Marine Conservationists
“Marine conservation is an exciting area and still being developed. It faces growing global challenges, however you just have to find your niche and work on that area. There is always an opportunity for you to explore something new. Some of the core things is that you have to be ready for criticism; it makes you sharp, especially when it comes to scientific writing.
“As with all areas of conservation, you need to work effectively with other people. In the current conservation atmosphere with varying challenges, collaborations and personal networks are very important. You have to maintain a comfortable and healthy network of professionals in the Marine research field”.
“In terms of training, you need to first of all love reading, so as not to lag behind in knowledge and information. For students and early-career professionals, enrolling for courses in coastal, marine or aquatic science can be really helpful. You can also specialise in community and sustainable development studies. Linking your profession to other skills such as communication and negotiation skills can also be very valuable”, said Joan Kawaka – Marine Research Scientist working with CORDIO East Africa.
Marine Conservation Jobs | Career Stories & Advice – Read the latest here.
- Marine research in Africa with Joan Kawaka
- Lindsey West: Saving our oceans one sea turtle at a time
- A career helping whales and dolphins with Catarina Fonseca
- Nikita Shiel-Rolle – creating change one wave at a time!
- How to start out in marine biology?
- Read the latest here
Marine Conservation Jobs
To date we have published 923 Marine Conservation Jobs on Conservation Careers. Discover the latest Marine Conservation Jobs.
Photography and Film-making Conservation Jobs | Storytelling for change
Do you have a passion and talent for photography, or making films? Often self-employed and freelance, there is a growing opportunity for Freelance Photographers, Photo-journalists, Film-makers, Editors and Producers. These typically cover the following sorts of duties:
- Taking high quality photos and video footage.
- Researching, scriptwriting, and editing video and photo stories.
- Maintaining a show reel of work for future clients.
- Promoting your work through social media, YouTube, etc.
“What is clear is that there is a need to communicate the problem of biological extinctions and that people are causing it, and that there are solutions we can adopt if we all get together and act as communities. That is the cutting edge now”.
“The means to say these things have changed radically. Young people are in touch with the new means to do this; social media and networking virtual communities are the solution to this. That is where I would say there is a desperate need and it’s not necessarily television and film that will achieve this – it could be all sort of different things, but the creative minds, the keenest and the most motivated, have a very open field and a lot to play for. So go, do it, please!” John Aitchison is a BAFTA and Emmy award winning wildlife filmmaker.
Careers Advice for budding conservation Photograpers and Filmmakers
It’s not very hard to get going, says BAFTA-award winning cameraman behind Planet Earth II – Dr Paul Stewart. “You can start your own company, make your own films or produce your own beautiful time-lapses and drone footage. That impresses people enough to get opportunities”.
“Other people work in kit hire-houses, understanding the equipment, before somebody will give them a chance to take that kit out themselves. Netflix and Amazon are taking films, and internet content has barely begun. YouTubers don’t do wildlife much yet, but they could do. As an industry it’s expanding. More channels, more avenues. If you make a film it can be shown in every territory. Wildlife appreciation is a universal language and the world is a big market”.
“I’m a self-taught photographer and cinematographer. I started out taking pictures of my pets as a hobby and fell in love with it so tried to learn as much as possible through books and magazines (internet access was not yet common at that stage) and of course lots of practicing, making mistakes and learning from them. That’s key, to go out and shoot as much as possible. I had a career as a graphic designer and art director before pursuing photography full time and that certainly influenced how I shoot today”, says Shannon Wild | Wildlife Photographer.
“I started to work as a wildlife photographer because I love animals. I’m complete fallen in love of species, biology, ecology and ecosystems, in general. But one of the most important thing is travel around the world. Travels are like a sort of salvation. When I am in another country, surrounded by animals, I feel at home”.
“Furthermore, my job gives me the opportunity to stay more in touch with animals. So, there are two reasons that explain my choice. The first one is something more selfish, because I love find the way how to watch and interact with animals, and I want do this more and more times; and at the same time, the second reason is that I know that my efforts can save the animals inside my shots”, says Alvaro Cubero – celebrated Costa Rican Wildlife Photographer.
“Assuming you have a natural talent for photography – composition, good lighting, etc. – then these are skills that can be honed in the field, by studying the work of photographers you admire, and even at the most basic technical level, learned with the help of books and Youtube videos. The short of it is, you don’t need to study photography in school, it needs to be learning in doing”, says Alexandra Garcia – Executive Director of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP).
“You’ve got to build up a portfolio of pictures to show what you can do. Study photographs you admire and ask yourself how they were taken and learn from them. Look through natural history magazines and see what sort of pictures they feature”.
“Editors like a package deal, so if you can write well too then so much the better, or else team up with someone who can. It’s very difficult to earn a living simply by selling photographs. You will have to cast your net wide to increase your opportunities, but stay within your interest. I think the best way is to specialise, that way you will get more unusual pictures. It also helps to understand the subject matter. Just keep at it and don’t give up”, said David Cottridge – wildlife photographer.
Photography and Film-making Conservation Jobs | Career Stories & Advice – Read the latest here.
- Podcast: Jack Randall | Wildlife Filmmaker, global adventurer, conservationist
- John Aitchison | Wildlife Filmmaker
- What’s it like to work in Conservation Filmmaking and Photography?
- A life behind the lens
- John Aitchison | Wildlife Filmmaker
- Exploring the road to conservation filmmaking | conservation filmmaker Eilidh Munro
- Alvaro Cubero | Costa Rican Wildlife Photographer
- Shannon Wild | Wildlife Photographer
- If you don’t ask you don’t get – network and skill share to achieve your goals: An Interview with filmmaker Lacy Wittman
- The International League of Conservation Photographers with Alexandra Garcia
- What’s it like to be an assignment photographer?
- Being a tropical Field Biologist and wildlife photographer with Andrew Snyder
- David Cottridge: The life of a wildlife photographer
- Kike Calvo: Using wildlife photojournalism to educate and inspire
- Read the latest film-making advice here
- Read the latest photo-journalism advice here
Photography and Film-making Conservation Jobs
To date we have published 39 Photography and Film-making Conservation Jobs, reflecting the fact that it’s a self-employed / freelance industry. Discover the latest Photography and Film-making Conservation Jobs.
Policy & Advocacy Conservation Jobs | Saving wildlife through lawA small tweak to some legislation can make an enormous, global difference for wildlife conservation efforts, and this may be where your passion lies. Building sound policies, and lobbying for them to be implemented and enforced is the job of a growing band of conservation policy and advocacy professionals.
“I try to influence Government policies so that they protect and enhance wildlife, while allowing sustainable economic growth. Ideally, this is proactive work that involves setting out a preferred vision for sustainable development, but sadly, it generally involves reacting to proposals that haven’t given due regard to the environment. The work we do really does make a difference and helps to ensure that Government policies protect and enhance our wildlife”, said Brendan Costelloe – Senior Policy Officer at the RSPB.
Typical job titles include Policy and Advocacy Officer, Policy Advisor, Campaigns and Policy Assistant and they cover the following duties:
- Identifying and develop key policy issues for the conservation organisations.
- Drafting position papers, policy briefings and reports and communicate results.
- Participating in related policy fora.
“I suppose going to meetings where there are difficult issues to tackle and taking them on successfully is the best bit, which involves a certain amount of negotiation and articulation of the arguments. It might occur that the particular arguments that are used might not be the best ones, but in the end, there is a sense of winning”, Dr Colman O’Criodain, Wildlife Trade Specialist at WWF.
“I do quite a bit of federal lobbying, which is getting legislatures to make smart environmental decisions on our public lands-both national and state parks. I spend a lot of my time writing, whether it be making grant proposals or creating template materials that we can share with our state-based groups. Often times, the strategy and wording that we use to message our campaigns will be developed here in our Washington D.C. office”, Aaron Weil – Federal Conservation Advocate for Environment America.
“Gain as much experience as possible and think outside the box as to what good experience can be. For example, I had no idea that working for the local authorities would give me so much experience that would be relevant to conservation policy in general,” said Brendan Costelloe – Senior Policy Officer at the RSPB.
“It helps to have a very strong background, with good qualifications and experiences from a good university. On top of this, you need a clear picture of what it is you want to do. If you have a passion for conservation, then this helps to drive you forwards and find internships and placements which can set you off on your career. You’d be very lucky to get a great job without some internship or voluntary work at the beginning. Even if you’re not being paid, it’s an extremely important investment to make in your career if you’re looking to work in conservation”, said Amelie Knapp – Policy Officer at European Commission Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
“I thought that my degree in English and French would be a disadvantage in conservation. Far from it. Having foreign languages and a good knowledge of climate change has helped me stand apart from other candidates. Don’t abandon or neglect your other interests, they could be the key to unlocking your career in conservation”, Matt Adam Williams – Climate Change Policy Officer for the RSPB.
Policy & Advocacy Conservation Jobs | Career Stories & Advice – Read the latest here.
- Interview with Dr Colman O’Criodain, Wildlife Trade Specialist, WWF
- Influencing Governmental Policies and Strategies for Conservation – Brendan Costelloe’s Story
- From Field Work in Rural Africa to Policy Work in Washington, D.C
- Getting your debate on: a career in conservation policy
- What’s it like to work in European fisheries policy?
- Policy & Advocacy Conservation Jobs
Policy & Advocacy Conservation Jobs
To date we have published 654 Policy & Advocacy Conservation Jobs on Conservation Careers. Discover the latest Policy & Advocacy Conservation Jobs.
Programme & Project Management Conservation Jobs | Saving the world one project at a time
A programme is a themed area of work, often made up of specific projects which work together towards a defined goal. Conservation jobs in this area require strong organisational skills and an ability to work in teams to manage and coordinate tasks, deadlines and budgets.
It’s a BIG area of work (we’ve listed 3,093 jobs so far!) and often requires a mix of project management skills (which can be transferred from non-conservation jobs) and some specific knowledge for the project in question.
Consequently, it’s an interesting area for career switchers to look at; many of your work experiences to date provide you transferrable or soft-skills which many graduates don’t have when they leave university.
Early career job titles in this area include Project Officer, Project Assistant, Programme Officer and Programme Assistant, Project Manager and Programme Manager, and they typically include the following duties:
- Coordinating project activities to deliver on budget and to time.
- Organising and running workshops and meetings, including budgets, travel, accommodation and other meeting requirements.
- Supporting the Monitoring and Evaluation work of projects.
- Managing communications for the projects (email-lists, newsletters, social media, donor reports etc.)
How can you get going in this area? “Find mentors: Find someone at the same career point as you. Find somebody that’s where you want to be in 2-3 years. Find somebody that’s where you want to be in 5 years”, encourages Julie Brown – National Geographic Project Manager.
Programme & Project Management Conservation Jobs
To date we’ve listed a whopping 3,093 project and programme management jobs on Conservation Careers. Click the following links to see the latest opportunities.
Science & Research Conservation Jobs | Answering the key questions to tackle biodiversity loss
Science underpins and informs conservation interventions across the globe. Often undertaken within an academic setting (but not exclusively), it involves a logical, methodical and rigorous approach to work. If you’d like to make discoveries to help species, habitats and sites around the globe then it might be worth thinking about a career in science and research.
Science and Research also offer one of the clearest career paths within conservation sector. These are often highly-trained professionals who have secured a Degree, Masters and PhD, and then worked on a series of short-term (1-3 year) ‘Post Docs’ to finally secure more long-term tenured employment in a University or similar. This isn’t the only career path into science and research (many NGOs and Government bodies employ researchers), but it’s a common one.
“I think when I started my PhD I thought, great, finally I’m being paid to kind of work on conservation, as it was. But actually a PhD is just an extension of learning so you’re learning… you’re continuing to learn all of the software packages, all of the modelling, all of the fieldwork skills and you’re just continuing to learn, learn, learn”.
“And if you do stay in science and the higher up you go, the less time you have to learn new things. The more you need to deliver based on what you already know. PhDs teach you to think in a certain way, let’s all do them, they’re great!” noted Dr James Borrell, Conservation Scientist.
Typical early-career job titles in this area include Field Assistant, Research Assistant and Science Officer, and they cover the following duties:
- Undertaking scientific research (including desk, lab and fieldwork).
- Literature reviews of available research.
- Analysis of data.
- Managing time and budgets.
- Communicating results to a range of audiences.
“I think I’m fantastically lucky to have landed up here … I’m just staggered that I’m paid to do what I do – I have this lovely enjoyable life and I enjoy talking to people, I enjoy being with students, I enjoy the different elements of the job, I enjoy thinking about problems”.
“And increasingly we’re involved in policy and practice, talking to practitioners and policy-makers about how things could work. So it’s just hugely enjoyable and stimulating. So my day, I spend a lot of time just talking to people about a whole range of different problems, different issues and thinking things through”, said Professor Bill Sutherland – Miriam Rothschild Chair of Conservation Biology, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge.
“What I’m really passionate about and fires me up is knowing what I’m doing is relevant. Addressing the questions that interest me require hands-on research, from watching creatures in the field to talking to policy people, said Professor Andrew Balmford – University of Cambridge, UK.
Careers Advice for budding Conservation Scientists
“When I was studying marine biology people told me, ‘You shouldn’t do that; there are no jobs. And that’s absolute nonsense. When you reflect on all of the things that still need to be done to protect ecosystems, there are jobs for everybody for a long time to come”, said Professor Peter Mumby, University of Queensland.
“If you want to be a conservation researcher, then yes you probably have to have a PhD. However, it’s not always necessary for other conservation careers. If you choose to do a PhD, then choose your supervisor and the research group very carefully. I didn’t see my supervisor that much, but he managed to attract a great group of scientists around him, and they provided huge amounts of support and fun during my studies. Pick a research group which is exciting and vibrant, as well as a good supervisor” – Professor Andrew Balmford – University of Cambridge, UK.
“It is important to know what you want in life. Do you want to be a conservation manager or do you want to be a conservation academic? You may not need to take the same route depending on that choice. If research is what you want to do, then my advice is to network with people you want to work with, and apply to any conservation PhD you might enjoy. Your PhD is not the end, but a mean to get to your dream job. I wish I had known that early on. In fact, I am amazed I still managed to get there in the end!” RSPB Conservation Science Award winner Alienor Chauvenet.
“Do good science and publish that good science. Also, when I’m looking for someone at the beginning of their career, I want someone that shows they’re a conservationist. So someone that’s applying to me as a PhD student, it depends what their background is. If they’re a theoretician, and quite often I just want a good theoretician. But for many other areas I’d like them to have some experience of the outside world, and to be able to show that actually they are naturalists or that they’ve done things”, Professor Bill Sutherland – Miriam Rothschild Chair of Conservation Biology, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge.
“As you network, you are able to show your passion and what you’re interested in and you can get really good advice from folks. You never know who will be able to help you. I remember hearing that 70 percent of all jobs are found through networking, and it definitely makes sense to me”, Joan O’Shaughnessy Conservation Scientist with the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Conservation Science | Career Stories and Advice
- A career in Conservation Science with Professor Andrew Balmford
- Conservation in Academia: An Interview with Ben Phalan Jobs
- Delivering science to manage coral reefs: an interview with Professor Peter Mumby
- How to become a research ecologist?
- Lawyer to Conservation Scientist | Joan O’Shaughnessy
- Podcast: Dr James Borrell | Conservation Scientist, Explorer & Blogger
- Podcast: Professor Bill Sutherland | Cambridge University
- RSPB Conservation Science Award winner Alienor Chauvenet Jobs
Conservation Science Jobs
To date we’ve listed a pleasingly symmetrical 2112 Conservation Science jobs on Conservation Careers. Discover the latest Conservation Science opportunities.
Conservation Scientist Career Video
Check out the following video of Professor Rhys Green talking about his RSPB career in conservation science.
Most popular Conservation Jobs
Which are the most popular conservation jobs on Conservation Careers? We’ve looked at the average number of pageviews for our 15 key conservation job types. This is from nearly 20,000 jobs and over 2,000,000 visitors in six years. And the most popular job types are … drum roll …
- Marine Conservation Jobs
- Science and Research Conservation Jobs
- Ecological Consultancy Conservation Jobs
- Animal Welfare Conservation Jobs
- Photography & film-making Conservation Jobs
- Warden and Ranger Conservation Jobs
So there are more people looking for Marine Conservation Jobs than any other job type.
Most abundant Conservation Jobs
It’s also important to ask which conservation job types are most abundant, or most frequently posted on our site. This gives you an idea of where most of the opportunities are in the sector…
- Project & Programme Management Conservation Jobs
- Science and Research Conservation Jobs
- Warden and Ranger Conservation Jobs
- Environmental Education Conservation Jobs
- Communications & Marketing Conservation Jobs
Hottest Conservation Jobs
Finally, the most useful analysis of all is to take into account a combination of the popularity and abundance – to find the hottest jobs where competition might be lowest. When we run the figures we see the following as hot conservation jobs…
- Science and Research Conservation Jobs
- Communications & Marketing Conservation Jobs
- Warden and Ranger Conservation Jobs
- Project & Programme Management Conservation Jobs
- Environmental Education Conservation Jobs
- Fundraising and Development Conservation Jobs
It’s interesting to note that Science and Research comes out first, and this is because although it’s very popular, there are also relatively many vacanies in this area.
Then we see some less popular roles – like Communications & Marketing, Environmental Education, and Fundraising & Development – being overlooked by conservation job seekers. If you want to increase your chances of success, it might be worth targeting your efforts towards these relatively less-competitive jobs.
Need some help securing your dream conservation job?
Phew! That was a lot of information and well done if you made it this far. And hello those who skim to the bottom of blog posts.
Understanding the job market is so important in your quest to become a professional conservationist. Unless you fully understand all your options, you won’t be able to find your niche, and without that you’re far less likely to be happy, impactful and competitive.
A big part of this also is to understand yourself. What do you love doing? What are you great at? What are your biggest needs right now?
At Conservation Careers we’ve helped hundreds of people just like you to get clarity on your career options, to form an actionable plan of action, and to get secure your dream job.
If you need our help, we’re here for you.
To help you navigate your options, please select which best describes you:
- You want to work in conservation but you’re feeling lost, disillusioned or confused?!? Check out our Kick-starter training designed to help you understand the job market, to navigate your career options, and to get hired more quickly. It’s designed for students, graduates, job-seekers and career-switchers. We’re proud to say it also has 100% satisfaction and recommendation ratings. We know you’ll love it. Find out more about our Kick-Starter – Online Course and Kick-Starter – UK Workshop.
- You feel ready to be applying for jobs in conservation? Check out our membership packages for job seekers which provide access to the world’s biggest conservation job board – with over 6,000 conservation jobs shared each year – plus a range of other benefits. Check out our monthly memberships here.
- You’re submitting applications, but failing to get many interviews? Check out our FREE eBook – How to Apply for a Conservation Job? This is a complete guide to producing successful CVs, Resumes and Application Forms by Conservation Careers. Download your copy for free here. We can also review your applications, and provide 1:1 advice on how to improve them (and we don’t cost the earth). Check out our application support here.
- You’ve got an interview (well done!) and would like our help to prepare for it? We know what employers want, and have helped many people prepare for and deliver successful interviews. Check out our practice interviews here.
- You’ve got a question and want to contact a human being! Send us an email to [email protected] and one of our team will be back in touch soon.