career in wildlife conservation

Exploring a Rewarding Career in Wildlife Conservation

If you’re passionate about preserving our planet’s natural beauty and biodiversity, a career in wildlife conservation might be right for you. As a wildlife conservationist, you can make a positive impact on the world by protecting endangered species, conserving their habitats, and promoting sustainable practices.

Wildlife conservation careers offer a variety of opportunities for individuals with different backgrounds, interests, and skill sets. Whether you’re a science enthusiast, a policy expert, or a social media guru, you can find a niche in this dynamic and fulfilling field.

From fieldwork and research to advocacy and education, wildlife conservationists play a vital role in safeguarding our natural heritage. With the growing awareness of environmental issues and the need for eco-friendly practices, the demand for wildlife conservationists is on the rise.

Quick Answers

  • Wildlife conservation careers offer diverse opportunities for individuals passionate about protecting the environment
  • Roles in wildlife conservation range from fieldwork and research to policy development and education
  • Conservationists work to protect endangered species and preserve ecosystems through sustainable practices
  • Wildlife conservation is a growing industry with increasing demand for skilled professionals
  • Pursuing a career in wildlife conservation can offer personal fulfillment and contribute to a healthier planet

Understanding Wildlife Conservation

Before pursuing a career in wildlife conservation, it’s essential to gain a solid understanding of the principles and goals of this field. Proper wildlife conservation education equips you with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in this industry. The first step towards achieving this goal is to explore the various career options in wildlife conservation.

Wildlife Conservation Education

The educational requirements for a career in wildlife conservation may vary depending on the specific job and employer. However, most wildlife conservation jobs typically require at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as biology, ecology, or environmental science. In addition to a degree, completing internships or volunteer work in conservation organizations can help you gain field experience and a better understanding of the practical aspects of wildlife conservation.

You can also pursue advanced degrees such as a Master’s or PhD to enhance your qualifications, particularly if you desire a more research-focused career path or a leadership position. Attending conferences or workshops related to wildlife conservation can also help you stay informed on the latest developments and trends in the industry.

Career Options in Wildlife Conservation

Wildlife conservation offers various career paths and job opportunities. Some of the most common positions include wildlife biologists, conservation scientists, wildlife managers, and environmental educators. You can also work for government agencies, including the National Park Service or the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Nonprofit organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund or the Nature Conservancy also offer exciting career opportunities in the field of conservation.

When pursuing a career in wildlife conservation, it’s essential to choose a path that aligns with your interests and goals. Some careers may involve extensive travel and fieldwork, while others require working in an office setting. Therefore, it’s important to research thoroughly and choose a career that matches your personality and lifestyle.

Roles and Responsibilities of a Wildlife Conservationist

As a wildlife conservationist, your role is centered around the preservation and protection of various species and their habitats. This involves a range of responsibilities that vary depending on the type of work you do, but all are focused on supporting the health of the environment and its inhabitants.

Job Description

Your day-to-day tasks as a wildlife conservationist may include:

  • Conducting environmental research to understand the behavior and needs of wildlife populations
  • Developing and implementing conservation plans and programs to protect endangered species and their habitats
  • Collaborating with government agencies, nonprofits, and other organizations to promote environmental sustainability
  • Monitoring wildlife populations and ecosystems to identify potential threats and intervene when necessary
  • Advocating for conservation policies that support the long-term health of the environment

Overall, your goal is to work towards maintaining and promoting the health and well-being of the environment and its inhabitants.

Depending on your specific role within the field, you might work in an office setting or spend much of your time in the field. You may also collaborate with other professionals such as biologists, ecologists, and policymakers to achieve conservation goals.

Challenges and Rewards

Working as a wildlife conservationist can be both challenging and rewarding. You may face obstacles such as climate change, habitat loss, and political opposition. However, the potential rewards are significant, including:

  • Making a positive impact on the environment and promoting sustainability
  • Working with a team of like-minded individuals who share your passion for wildlife conservation
  • Being involved in cutting-edge research and innovative conservation strategies
  • Observing the positive impact of your work on wildlife populations and ecosystems

While the challenges can be daunting, the potential rewards make a career in wildlife conservation an exciting and fulfilling option for those with a passion for the environment and its inhabitants.

Qualifications and Skills for Wildlife Conservationists

To become a successful wildlife conservationist, you need a combination of education, training, and skills. Here are the qualifications and skills required to pursue a career in wildlife conservation:


Most wildlife conservation positions require a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as wildlife biology, environmental science, or conservation biology. Some entry-level positions may accept an associate’s degree or certificate in a related discipline.

For advanced positions in research or management, a graduate degree may be necessary. A master’s or Ph.D. in wildlife biology or a related field can provide a deeper understanding of ecology, conservation strategies, and research methods.

Training Programs

In addition to formal education, several training programs can enhance your knowledge and skills in wildlife conservation. Internships, apprenticeships, and volunteer opportunities are available through government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and research institutions.

These programs provide hands-on experience in various aspects of wildlife conservation, such as habitat restoration, animal care, and data collection. They also offer networking opportunities to connect with professionals in the field and gain mentorship.


Several professional certifications can validate your expertise in specific areas of wildlife conservation. The Wildlife Society offers several certification options for different career paths, such as Certified Wildlife Biologist or Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator.

The Society for Conservation Biology also provides certification in conservation planning, management, and leadership. These certifications demonstrate your commitment to the industry and can increase your job prospects and earning potential.


Aside from education and training, wildlife conservationists need to have specific skills to excel in their roles. These skills include:

  • Problem-solving: Wildlife conservationists must be able to identify complex environmental issues and develop effective solutions.
  • Communication: The ability to communicate scientific concepts and conservation strategies to various audiences, including policymakers, community groups, and the public, is crucial for success in this field.
  • Teamwork: Working with interdisciplinary teams and collaborating with stakeholders is essential to achieve conservation goals.
  • Flexibility: Wildlife conservation work often involves unpredictable scenarios, so the ability to adapt and respond to changing circumstances is vital.

Career Paths in Wildlife Conservation

Whether you’re just starting your education or you’re looking to switch careers, there are various paths you can take in the field of wildlife conservation. Here are a few career options to consider:

Wildlife Biologist

As a wildlife biologist, you’ll study the behavior, habitat, and population of various animal species. You may also conduct experiments and research projects to better understand animal behavior and develop new conservation strategies. With an average salary of $63,420 per year, this is a great career option for those passionate about wildlife conservation.

Conservation Officer

Conservation officers work with state and federal agencies to enforce wildlife protection laws and educate the public about conservation efforts. This role requires a background in law enforcement and extensive knowledge of conservation laws and regulations. With an average salary of $57,710 per year, it’s a great opportunity for those interested in law enforcement and wildlife preservation.

Environmental Educator

As an environmental educator, you’ll teach people about the importance of wildlife conservation, habitat preservation, and other environmental issues. This is a great career option for those interested in both education and conservation. With an average salary of $45,340 per year, you can impact the next generation of conservationists.

Research Scientist

Research scientists study the impact of human activities on the environment and develop strategies to minimize negative effects. With an average salary of $79,990 per year, this is a great career option for those passionate about the environment and conservation.

Nonprofit Manager

As a nonprofit manager, you’ll oversee the operations of a conservation-focused nonprofit organization, such as a wildlife sanctuary or environmental advocacy group. This role requires strong leadership and organizational skills, as well as a passion for conservation. With an average salary of $71,590 per year, you can make a difference in the lives of animals and the environment.

These are just a few of the career paths available in wildlife conservation. If you’re passionate about protecting our natural world, there’s no shortage of opportunities to make a difference.

Job Opportunities in Wildlife Conservation

Wildlife conservation careers offer a diverse range of job opportunities, from fieldwork to policy development. As a wildlife conservationist, you can work with nonprofit organizations, government agencies, research institutions, and private companies that promote environmental sustainability and protect wildlife species.

Some of the most common job titles in wildlife conservation include:

  • Wildlife Biologist
  • Ecologist
  • Conservation Planner
  • Wildlife Rehabilitator
  • Environmental Educator
  • Wildlife Law Enforcement Officer
  • Policy Advisor
  • Wildlife Researcher
  • Outreach Coordinator

Whether you prefer to work in the field, conduct research, or advocate for environmental policies, there is a job in wildlife conservation that fits your skills and interests. With the growing demand for sustainable practices and wildlife protection, job opportunities in this industry are expected to increase in the coming years.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for conservation scientists and foresters was $62,410 in May 2020. However, salaries can vary depending on the specific job title, location, and organization. Wildlife conservationists may also receive benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid vacation.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (May 2020) Job Outlook (2019-2029)
Wildlife Biologist $63,270 5% growth
Conservation Scientist $63,340 3% growth
Zoologist $63,270 4% growth
Environmental Educator $51,230 4% growth

As you can see from the table above, the job outlook for wildlife conservationists varies depending on the specific position. However, overall, the industry is growing as more organizations and governments recognize the importance of protecting our natural resources.

With diverse job opportunities, competitive salaries, and a meaningful mission, a career in wildlife conservation can offer a fulfilling and rewarding career path.

Benefits and Challenges of a Career in Wildlife Conservation

Choosing a career in wildlife conservation is an excellent way to make a meaningful impact on our environment. The satisfaction of knowing that you are playing a crucial role in protecting endangered species and preserving natural habitats is difficult to match. But like any other profession, a career in wildlife conservation also has its share of benefits and challenges that you should be aware of before you take the plunge.

The Benefits

  • Personal fulfillment: A career in wildlife conservation allows you to work towards a cause you are passionate about and feel a sense of personal fulfillment.
  • Diverse career options: The variety of career paths available in wildlife conservation ensures that professionals can find a role that aligns with their interests and strengths.
  • Opportunities to travel: Wildlife conservationists often work in remote natural locations, providing them with opportunities to travel and explore new places while working.
  • Positive environmental impact: Every species that you help protect and every acre of habitat that you help preserve can make a significant impact on the environment, creating a safer and healthier world for generations to come.
  • Collaboration and teamwork: Working in conservation requires you to collaborate with colleagues, stakeholders and communities, which can lead to creating lifelong connections and friendships.

The Challenges

  • Long and irregular hours: Many wildlife conservationists work irregular schedules, including long hours, weekends and holidays, particularly when conducting fieldwork.
  • Physical demands: The work can be physically demanding, particularly when working in the field. It may require hiking long distances, carrying heavy equipment, and operating vehicles and boats.
  • Financial uncertainty: Many jobs in wildlife conservation are offered by non-profits, and salaries can be lower than positions in other fields.
  • Emotional strain: The work can be emotionally challenging, especially when dealing with issues such as habitat destruction, species extinction, and the consequences of climate change on wildlife.

Despite the challenges, a career in wildlife conservation can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Whether you’re conducting field research, raising awareness, developing policies or working directly with animals, every role in wildlife conservation can make a difference. Every time you see a species thrive because of your work, or you protect a vulnerable environment, you can feel proud of the mark that you’ve made.

Wildlife Conservationist Salary and Job Outlook

If you’re considering a career in wildlife conservation, you may be wondering about the potential earning and job prospects in this rewarding field. While the salary for wildlife conservationists varies depending on factors such as education, experience, and location, the job outlook is positive.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for conservation scientists and foresters, which includes wildlife conservationists, was $61,340 as of May 2020. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $39,190, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $100,110.

Industry Median Annual Wage
State Government $67,910
Scientific research and development services $65,200
Environmental advocacy organizations $55,250
Museums, historical sites, and similar institutions $48,040

As for job outlook, the demand for wildlife conservationists is expected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. Factors driving this growth include increased awareness of the need for conservation and sustainable resource management, as well as the need to address environmental issues such as climate change and habitat loss.

Overall, pursuing a career in wildlife conservation can be financially and emotionally rewarding. With opportunities to work in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, research institutions, and more, there are plenty of paths to explore. Take the first step towards your dream career today!


You are now equipped with valuable knowledge about the exciting field of wildlife conservation and the numerous career opportunities that await you. By choosing a career in wildlife conservation, you can make a positive impact on the environment and protect endangered species for future generations.

Remember, a career in wildlife conservation requires passion, dedication and a strong commitment to environmental sustainability. Whether you choose to work with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, or research institutions, there is a wealth of employment opportunities available for those who are willing to pursue their passion.

So, take that first step towards a fulfilling career in wildlife conservation. You can be a part of the solution and make a difference in the world. Follow your dreams and pursue a career in wildlife conservation today!

Start your career in wildlife conservation now

If you’re ready to take the next step and pursue a career in wildlife conservation, check out our website for more information on available job openings, internships, and training programs. Join us in our mission to protect our natural world and build a sustainable future for all. Your career in wildlife conservation begins today!

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