How to Become a Conservationist

Conservationist Key Stats
Education 4+ Years
Job Outlook 6.3%

How would you like to take your love of nature and animals and make it into a career? Conservationists are scientifically trained experts who use their knowledge to help advocate for the environment and its species.

They also promote awareness for the protection of wildlife with the hopes of reducing extinctions or reduced populations of threatened species.

Conservationists can work for a variety of organizations such as nonprofits.

However, the majority of these scientists work for Local, State or Federal governments.

Conservationists direct companies or entities that use the earth’s natural resources in order to farm, make consumer products or build developments.

Conservationists oversee how the land is being used or how it is being developed.

Some Conservationists help educate landowners about the healthy use and management of their land sometimes creating a program for them to follow.

Their goal is to show landowners that their land can remain healthy but can still be productive for farming or similar uses.

Conservationists can also help with the restoration or conservation of public or private land.

Conservationists have the goal of protecting the environment.

Someone who wants to become a Conservationist should have a passion for nature as well as great communication skills, should enjoy the outdoors, have the ability to be active as this type of job requires a lot of walking and should be open to relocating where their ideas and passion are needed to help protect the environment.

Conservationist Scientists can specialize in one of several areas.

These specializations include:

  • Soil conservation
  • Water conservation
  • Urban forestry
  • Pest management
  • Native Species
  • Forest Economics

Education Requirements to Become a Conservationist

Competition is high in this field.

A candidate can find a government job with some experience and a few years of college.

But in order to become a Conservationist and get hired more quickly, interested students must complete a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree which typically takes four years to complete.

Candidates will need to study in Rangeland Management, Agricultural Science, Natural Resource Management, Environmental Sciences or any other related field.

Some educational institutions require students to complete a training session in field work in order to gain experience and have exposure to the type of work they will seek.

The field sessions required by the school can either be run by the school itself or by a Federal or State government as well as a private organization.

If a candidate wants to perform research once they become a Conservationist, they must continue their education to acquire a Master’s Degree.

Conservationist Job Description

Conservationists use their scientific knowledge to develop and implement several strategies in order to preserve the environment.

Their purpose is to manage, protect and improve the environment with the additional goal of protecting all its inhabitants.

These professionals can work in a variety of industries including federal, state or local governments, nonprofit organizations or private corporations.

Working conditions vary between sectors and specialties.

Some Conservation Scientists work in an office setting while others perform their job doing fieldwork.

They help protect and preserve the environment by fulfilling specific roles.

Some of those common tasks are listed below:

  • Brainstorm land improvement techniques that also preserve it
  • Teach farm owners and workers to improve agricultural processes while still controlling erosion
  • Teach local communities about the environment they live in and the importance of preserving it
  • Soil Conservationists help farmers with erosion problems and teach them ways to prevent it

Conservationists work with and teach people who use land and the environment to make a living while simultaneously preventing the destruction of it.

They teach them how to use the land in an efficient manner while still providing advice on how to preserve it.

People who are interested in protecting the environment may look into similar and related careers to pursue their career goals.

Some related careers are listed below:

Conservationist Salary and Career Path

Salary and wages depends on the specialty and sector a Conservation Scientist goes into.

The average median wage for all Conservation Scientists in 2008 was approximately $58,700 per year.

The salary range for this profession is $35,200 to $87,000 annually.

In addition, Conservation Scientists who work for government entities or large companies typically have better benefits than those who work for smaller organizations.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama- NA -
District of Columbia$85,900
New Hampshire$76,690
New Jersey$70,100
New Mexico$72,020
New York$73,710
North Carolina$65,990
North Dakota$65,960
South Carolina$68,990
South Dakota$60,560
West Virginia$56,510
Puerto Rico$70,950

The top earning state in the field is Minnesota, where the average salary is $90,970.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Minnesota - $90,970
Alaska - $89,360
District of Columbia - $85,900
Hawaii - $85,860
Massachusetts - $85,330
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Conservation Scientists, OCC Code 19-1031, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a conservationist do?

A conservationist can also be called a ‘conservation scientist’.

These specialists manage the overall land quality of parks, rangelands, forests, and other natural resources.

The conservationists that work with farm managers, ranchers, and farmers give advice on how to help control erosion and improve the land for agricultural purposes.

The conservation scientists that work with all levels of government and landowners usually find ways to improve and use the land (while safeguarding the environment, of course).

The typical responsibilities of a conservationist include establishing plans for managing lands and resources; monitoring forestry and conservation activities; directing and participating in forest-fire suppression; determining ways to remove timber with minimum environmental damage, and so on.

How much do conservationists make?

On average, a conservationist can make a little more than $61.000 per year in the United States.

In case you decide to follow this career path, you can expect to earn anywhere between $34.000 and $98.500 annually.

The salary would certainly depend on a variety of factors – your education and experience level, the employer, the location and so on.

The conservationists that work in Connecticut, New Jersey, and Alaska, for example, have the highest average salaries.

An entry-level conservationist can earn $16 per hour, while a specialist with plenty of experience will make $47 and more.

How much does it cost to become a conservationist?

In a lot of cases, you would need a bachelor’s degree in forestry, environmental science, rangeland management, ecology or a related field, in order to become a conservationist.

A year in a university can cost you anywhere between $8.000 and $45.000 (and more); the cost depends on a variety of factors (the books, supplies, and accommodation expenses are not included).

You can apply for entry-level positions with a bachelor’s degree; however, to increase job prospects, you should consider going for a master’s degree (over $11.000), in such a case, you will be able to take on managerial duties.

What is the demand for conservationists?

Between 2016 and 2026, the conservationist job market is expected to grow by 6.3%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That is close to the national average for all occupations in the United States.

Much of the growth is projected to be with government agencies.

The competition rate will be high as such agencies have certain budget constraints.

The industry is mainly concentrated in California, Colorado, and Texas.

How long does it take to become a conservationist?

It will take you 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree and another 2 years to earn a master’s degree.

Aspiring conservationists should seek seasonal and voluntary work, in order to have the opportunity to get that on-job experience; you can find an internship that lasts for one season or for a whole year.

An intern or a volunteer can be offered a full-time position in the company, so try to make the most of every opportunity.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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