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Conservation Biologist: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Conservation biologists are concerned with the protection and sustainability of natural resources like air, water, land and wildlife. Conservation biology is an integration of many disciplines in order to come up with effective methods of conservation. The job requires at least a bachelor's degree in a scientific field like biology, though graduate-level programs are available as well.

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Conservation Biologist 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. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts job openings for conservation scientists and foresters to grow by 5% between 2010 and 2020, slower than the national average for all careers. Also according to the BLS, the median wage for conservation scientists as of May 2012 was $61,100 a year.

Conservation Biologist 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. As biologists, 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 may also work for private agencies when it comes to issues like land expansion. They may also consult landowners, particularly farmers, on the best use for their land. Finally, they educate the general public on ecological threats and proper land use.

Conservation Biologist Requirements

According to the BLS (www.bls.gov), most conservation scientist jobs require a bachelor's degree, generally in biology. Programs may 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're 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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    • 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
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    Areas of study you may find at Utah State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
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      • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
        • Aquatic Biology
        • Conservation Biology
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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics