Career Profile: Conservation Scientist
During a pandemic, the condition of the environment might seem relatively unimportant, but conserving the plants, animals, and air is still essential. If you want to help preserve the environment for the future, you might want to become a conservation scientist. This career is a good choice for people who enjoy collecting and analyzing information to help solve problems.
Conservation scientists can work in various specialties, depending on their location and interests. Some might work with trees and other plants, while others might choose to work with fish or mammals like bears or beavers. The first step is to learn about the subject. Conservation scientists often spend time out in the forests or marshes, collecting information. They might also train other people to look for the type of information they need.
For example, suppose that conservation scientists wanted to know why honeybees are disappearing. They might want to go out or send someone else to observe bees on farms and to look at the environment around them. Then they would take the information back to a lab to analyze it.
Depending on their area of specialization, conservation scientists might work mainly outdoors, gathering information, or mainly inside a lab, analyzing data. Some of them might teach students or give talks at conferences. Being able to organize information and to present it clearly is an important skill for people in this field.
The basic requirement for working as a conservation scientist is a bachelor’s degree in a subject such as biology, chemistry, or agriculture. A master’s degree is usually necessary to get past entry level jobs, and a Ph.D. is required for teaching. For most people, these requirements mean at least three or four years of university education, and possibly ten or more years. Taking science courses in high school can help.
Jobs are usually at universities, research centres, and in government departments. Salaries start at about $44,000 per year and can rise to $58,000.
Working as a conservation scientist is not generally physically difficult, although it can involve long hours of walking or sitting. People in this field need to be very precise and make exact measurements, keeping careful records to be able to determine how the environment has changed over the years.
Being observant and patient is important for people in this field. Results can be slow to come, and scientists might have to work for many weeks and months before they find the information they need. Sometimes, they may have to start all over again. Being able to rethink old ideas is an important part of being a conservation scientist.
Career prospects in this field depend on factors like the specialty and people’s willingness to move. Conservation scientists working in fields related to oceans should live near the coast, while people working in fields related to prairies should live close to those areas. Jobs are likely to be somewhat limited for the next few years, but there will always be some opportunities. If you love nature, you should consider becoming a conservation scientist.
Eco Canada. “Conservation Biologist.” https://www.eco.ca/training/career-profiles/conservation-biologist/.
Indeed.com. “Conservation Biology Jobs.” https://ca.indeed.com/Conservation-Biology-jobs.
Payscale Canada. “Conservation Scientist: Salary.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Job=Conservation_Scientist/Salary.
University of Manitoba. “Environmental Scientist.” https://umanitoba.ca/student/careerservices/careerplan/occupations/environmental-scientist.html