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What Can You Do With a Conservation Biology Degree?

People who are passionate about protecting the earth’s natural resources often consider majoring in conservation biology. If you’re especially passionate about endangered animals, environmental issues like deforestation, and the human impact on global ecosystems, careers with conservation biology degrees may be perfect for you. 

If you’re wondering what it takes to become a conservation biologist, one of the more obvious answers is a four-year degree, many hours of training, and in many cases, an internship.

However, on a more fundamental level, conservation biologists should naturally possess deep care and concern for all of the living creatures.

So, what can you do with a Conservation Biology degree?

When you enter this field, you may find yourself poring over vast amounts of data and research trying to pinpoint what is causing an animal population to decline. You may act as a watchdog for your local ecosystem against big companies that want to clear forests or plains to build new developments.

It’s hard to say that the sky is the limit for a prospective conservation biologist because it truly isn’t—birds need the protection of conservation biologists, too.

Now it’s time to dive into the steps you need to take to get from someone who just cares about global conservation, to someone who is actively preserving earth’s natural resources. It all starts with declaring your major in conservation biology.

Conservation Biology Careers for Graduates

Infographic of top jobs with conservation biology degree.

While the common goal of those with conservation biology jobs is to protect biodiversity on the planet, the opportunities under that umbrella are extensive.

The types of jobs in conservation are as diverse as the ecosystems you aspire to protect. A conservation biologist may find themselves working in an office or laboratory with data figures and samples. They might be out in the field following animals and ecosystems or interacting with companies and the media to encourage the preservation of the environment by others.

Picking a career path can be tough work, and you may feel discouraged to find that your homework is not yet over. Don’t worry, though, because we’ve outlined some conservation biology careers below.

Job Titles You Can Expect to See

There is no shortage of job titles to be found in this field. The conservation biology job outlook is growing as fast as average, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting up to 5% growth in the field from 2018-2028.

However, before you start sending off your resume, take note that the best jobs in conservation often require some studying and other qualifications. Almost all careers in ecology and conservation require a four-year bachelor’s degree, with many research and teaching jobs needing an even higher level of education.

So, now you know that you need to go to college to get into this field. The question still remains: What can I do with a conservation biology degree? Well, here’s a few specific examples:

  • Conservation scientist
  • Zoologist
  • Biological technicians
  • Wildlife conservationist
  • Marine biology conservationist
  • Natural resources biologist
  • Animal keeper
  • Soil and water conservationist
  • Conservation grant writer
  • Teacher/lecturer

Wildlife Conservationist

Wildlife conservationists are one of the most popular conservation fieldwork jobs out there. When you become a wildlife conservationist, you join a team of passionate individuals who are dedicated to protecting species that may be endangered or struggling. You may closely follow the behaviors of elephants and zebras on a wildlife reserve to ensure they’re protected and healthy, or pore over field samples and lab results in an office.

Truly, the key to being a wildlife conservationist is waking up every morning ready for anything. Many wildlife conservations are also conservation officers, who work with the Department of Natural Resources to protect animals from poaching and other illegal activity. Most wildlife conservationists are employed by wildlife reserves, federal and state parks, and zoos.

Career outlook (2018-2028): 5%
Average salary (2018): $63,270

Marine Biology Conservationist

marine biology conservationist takes to the seas to study and protect the creatures and ecosystems that make their homes underwater. These professionals may help with problems like aquatic animals encountering plastic, preservation of coral reefs, or protecting endangered species from hunting and harm.

In this role, you may work for the state or federal government, or a private conservation/research institution. There are many privately-owned sectors and nonprofits that work in marine preservation.

Career outlook (2018-2028): 8%
Average salary (2018): $71,360

Conservation Grant Writer

This role may look a little different than field conservation jobs. A conservation grant writer should still have a conservation biology degree. They should be well-versed in all of the unique challenges and scenarios that come with preserving the world’s natural resources and ecosystems. However, the person in this role may find themselves spending more time in an office setting rather than in the field, writing funding requests to support their business.

Grant writing is often part of all conservation biologists’ duties and can be found in public and private sectors alike.

Career outlook (2018-2028): 8%
Average salary (2018): $72,850

Soil and Water Conservationist

We need our biologically diverse populations of animals on our planet, but life can’t be sustained without food and water. That is why we also need soil and water conservationists to study and protect the quality and quantity of safe, healthy soil and water. These natural resources, while seemingly abundant, can be depleted or contaminated by human activity or other factors.

If you are interested in biology careers in environmental conservation, protecting the earth’s soil and water may be perfect for you.

Career outlook (2018-2028): 3%
Average salary (2018): $62,410

Knowledge You’ll Need From a Conservation Biology Degree

So now that we’ve discussed what jobs you can get with a conservation biology degree, it’s time to talk about what it takes to get that diploma in the first place.

Almost all careers in ecology and conservation biology will require higher education, usually a four-year Bachelor of Science degree. You should expect your coursework to span many disciplines, from biology and environmental science to chemistry and environmental law.

Conservation biologists need to understand the sociological and industrial impacts that humans have on animal and ecosystem populations, just as much as they should understand the populations themselves.

For graduate conservation jobs, you should naturally possess an attention to detail and a deep caring for your environment. In college, you will learn how to study the field, gather data, and make informed decisions based on your findings.

Day-to-Day Tasks You’ll Be Asked to Perform

It’s important to be exposed to what the daily operations of your dream job may look like before you commit to the required coursework. The opportunities for conservation biology employment out there are quite diverse.

Here are some examples of what the typical conservation biologist does on a daily basis:

  • Gathers field samples
  • Tags and follows animals to study population and movement
  • Advocates for animals and natural resources to the government and area businesses
  • Researches previous studies to find solutions for modern issues
  • Stops harmful activity to the ecosystem, like poaching and pollution

Job Outlook for Conservation Biology Careers

The future is bright for anyone looking to work in conservation biology. The Earth’s natural resources are important now more than ever as human populations continue to grow and affect animals and their ecosystems.

Career fields within conservation biology are expected to grow by up to 9% within the next decade, with thousands of jobs projected to be added over that time.

Conservation biologists earn an average salary of $62,000 per year, but that number can vary depending on your qualifications and the company you work for. Federal governments and private institutions tend to pay more than local and state governments.

People who choose to get a master’s degree can become a conservation biology teacher and may earn more than someone with just a bachelor’s.

How to Get a Degree in Conservation Biology at Unity College

So, now you know how to put your longtime love for animals and passion for the planet to good use: as a conservation biologist. You’re ready to protect the Earth’s biodiversity and ecosystems from harm and extinction, but you may now be wondering where to begin.

Let’s review our guide: your career in conservation starts with being a conservation biology major, and you may study anything from environmental law to zoology. You may take an internship at a local conservational entity before finding a full-time career opportunity. Once you’re a real-life conservation biologist, you’ll work in the field and lab to study and protect our planet’s natural resources.

Start your career with a Conservation Biology Major from Unity College.

Turn your passion into a fulfilling career today by reaching out to the admissions department or career services to learn more about what it takes to earn a conservation biology degree from Unity College.

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