How to start a career in Conservation
A career in conservation can be an amazingly enriching experience that not only has the potential to be personally fulfilling, but also has an important impact on preserving the environment and wildlife. Here’s how to get started:
Develop a Foundation
- Learn the relevant sciences. Nature conservation is a science-based field. You’ll need to understand the ecology of the environment and its wildlife, as well as the effects of human activities on them. Books, courses, and internships are all useful for creating a solid foundation in the relevant sciences.
- Gain experience. Participating in field research, volunteering and interning in conservation-related organizations are all valuable ways to gain insight into how the conservation field works. Many internships and volunteer positions are unpaid, but they can be extremely rewarding.
- Network. Joining professional societies and organizations centered around conservation is a great way to stay connected with the ever-changing field. Attending conferences and seminars is also a great way to meet and learn from experts, and to get a better understanding of the needs and challenges of conservation.
Conservation is a highly competitive field, so you’ll need to get an advanced degree in order to be successful. Many who are passionate about working in conservation will pursue a degree in environmental sciences, biology, or ecology. Other areas of study that may be helpful in a conservation career include natural resource management and law, computer science, or engineering.
Whichever degree you pursue, you should aim to take classes specific to the field of conservation. Make sure to get hands-on experience, complete internships, and become involved in conservation-focused student organizations.
Find a Job
Searching for job listings in conservation organizations and related fields is the best way to find jobs. Federal, state and local governments usually have positions open, and there are many internships and volunteer opportunities. You can also look for grant-funded research projects, private consulting firms, and non-profit organizations focused on conservation.
Although jobs in conservation can be competitive and hard to come by, with the proper education and experience, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your career goals.