£18,000 Starter - £48,000 Experienced
38 to 40 variable (evenings / weekends / bank holidays attending events or appointments)
Where to start
You can get into this job by doing:
a university course
You could study for a degree in a subject like:
- animal ecology
- animal behaviour
- marine biology
- environmental biology
You'll need a relevant postgraduate qualification like a master's degree or PhD for some jobs, particularly in research.
Some degree courses offer a placement year where you can gain relevant experience in areas like conservation.
Doing an internship during the summer of your second or last but one year at university can also help you gain useful knowledge and skills. Your university careers department may have links with wildlife or conservation organisations in the UK or overseas.
You'll usually need 2 or 3 A-Levels, or equivalent, including biology for a degree. You'll need a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
Volunteering in conservation work is a good way to strengthen your application for university courses.
Many opportunities will go unadvertised, so you may need to contact organisations direct.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- knowledge of biology
- excellent verbal communication skills
- the ability to work well with others
- science skills
- the ability to read English
- maths knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- excellent written communication skills
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
What you’ll do
You'll usually specialise in an area like ecology (animal environments), herpetology (reptiles), entomology (insects), ornithology (birds), parasitology (parasites) or paleozoology (fossil remains).
You could work in sectors like agriculture, conservation, pharmaceuticals or for the Government.
Your day-to-day tasks will vary depending on your role, sector and specialism. You could:
- carry out field and laboratory research
- study animals in their natural environment or in captivity
- identify, record and monitor animal species
- gather and interpret information
- use complex procedures, like computerised molecular and cellular analysis, and in-vitro fertilisation
- produce detailed technical reports
- give presentations and publish information in journals and books
- supervise technicians
You could work in a laboratory or at a research facility.
Your working environment may be outdoors some of the time and you'll travel often.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could move into other jobs like management, marketing, sales, scientific journalism or consultancy.
You could also work and study overseas.