Conservation Biologist: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

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

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Essential Information

Conservation biologists are concerned with the protection and sustainability of natural resources like air, water, land and wildlife. The job requires at least a bachelor's degree in a scientific field like biology, though graduate-level programs are often required, especially if teaching and research is a career goal. Many conservation biologists work with the government or private agencies, serving as consultants on land use issues. Job growth for conservation scientists is expected to be minimal over the next decade.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in biology or related field
Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)* 1% for conservation scientists
Median Salary (2013)* $61,220 for conservation scientists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Job Description

Conservation biologists are scientists concerned with protecting natural resources. However, their job requires a consideration of more than just hard science. Indeed, disciplines as diverse as economics, philosophy, sociology, law and education are useful to conservation biologists. Their primary goal is to combine various ways of thinking to devise satisfactory processes by which to sustain and protect air, water, land and wildlife resources.

Job Duties

Primarily, conservation biologists study the climate around them. They look at environmental trends, population density, types of flora and fauna growing in an area and more. All levels of life from microscopic to macroscopic are under their scrutiny. Their ultimate end after figuring out what they have to work with is to find ways to restore and maintain a healthy ecosystem.

The job of a conservation biologist requires communicating with many different types of people. Often, scientists are employed by government agencies as consultants. However, they also might work for private agencies when it comes to issues like land expansion. They might consult landowners, particularly farmers, on the best use for their land. Finally, they educate the general public on ecological threats and proper land use.

Requirements

According to the BLS (www.bls.gov), most conservation scientist jobs require a bachelor's degree, generally in biology. Programs might offer courses in life in all its forms and often offer specializations, such as microbiology and cell biology, along with research opportunities.

For conservation biologists who are interested in a more academic slant to their career, an advanced degree, such as a master's or Ph.D. in biology, can prepare one for a research or teaching position at an institution of higher learning. Some schools even offer graduate-level programs specifically in conservation biology.

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 21 years of age or older and have completed some college or 24 years of age or older and a high school graduate for a Bachelor's degree
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • All degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree or higher
    • Post-Master's Certificate degree applicants must have a Masters degree or higher
    School locations:
    • Maryland (1 campus)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    • Master
        • MS in Biotechnology
        • Master of Biotechnology Enterprise & Entrepreneurship
        • MS in Bioinformatics
    • Non-Degree
        • Post-Bachelor's Certificate in Biotechnology Education
        • Post-Bachelor's Certificate in Biotechnology Enterprise
        • Post-Master's Certificate in Sequence Analysis & Genomics

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
    • Florida (2 campuses)
    • Texas (3 campuses)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Massachusetts (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Boston University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • Bioinformatics
      • Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
      • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
        • Conservation Biology
        • Environmental Biology
        • Epidemiology
        • Marine Biology
      • General Biology
      • Genetics
      • Microbiology and Immunology
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Pharmacology and Toxicology
      • Physiology and Related Sciences
  • School locations:
    • Utah (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Utah State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
        • Aquatic Biology
        • Conservation Biology
        • Ecology
      • General Biology
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Pharmacology and Toxicology
      • Zoology
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Rhode Island include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
      • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
        • Aquatic Biology
        • Conservation Biology
        • Marine Biology
      • General Biology
      • Microbiology and Immunology
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Zoology
  • School locations:
    • Arizona (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Northern Arizona University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • Botany
      • Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences
      • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
        • Aquatic Biology
        • Conservation Biology
        • Ecology
        • Evolutionary Biology
      • General Biology
      • Microbiology and Immunology
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Physiology and Related Sciences
      • Zoology
  • School locations:
    • Wisconsin (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Wisconsin include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
      • Bioinformatics
      • Botany
      • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
        • Conservation Biology
      • General Biology
      • Genetics
      • Microbiology and Immunology
      • Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biophysics
      • Pharmacology and Toxicology
      • Physiology and Related Sciences
      • Zoology

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Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics