Is becoming a conservation biologist right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do conservation biologists do?

Still unsure if becoming a conservation biologist is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become a conservation biologist or another similar career!

Described by our users as being “shockingly accurate”, you might discover careers you haven’t thought of before.

How to become a Conservation Biologist

Becoming a conservation biologist requires a combination of education, practical experience, and a passion for the environment. Here are the steps to pursue a career as a conservation biologist:

  • Obtain a Bachelor's Degree: Start by earning a bachelor's degree in a relevant field such as biology, ecology, environmental science, or conservation biology. Choose a program that offers coursework in ecology, genetics, wildlife management, and conservation principles. It's also beneficial to take classes in statistics, GIS (Geographic Information Systems), and research methods.
  • Gain Field Experience: Seek opportunities to gain practical experience through internships, volunteer work, or field research programs. Look for positions with research organizations, government agencies, or conservation nonprofits. Field experience helps develop essential skills like data collection, species identification, habitat assessment, and research techniques.
  • Pursue Advanced Education: Consider pursuing a Master's or Ph.D. Degree in Conservation Biology to enhance your knowledge and research capabilities. Advanced degrees can provide more specialized training in conservation biology and offer opportunities to conduct independent research in your area of interest. Engage with professors and researchers who are active in the field of conservation biology and seek mentorship to guide your academic and research endeavors.
  • Specialize in a Conservation Area: Conservation biology encompasses various subfields. Choose a specific area of focus, such as wildlife conservation, plant conservation, marine conservation, or restoration ecology. Take elective courses or engage in research projects that align with your chosen area to gain expertise in that particular field.
  • Engage in Research and Publish: Actively participate in research projects, either as part of your academic program or in collaboration with research institutions. Conduct original research, analyze data, and contribute to scientific publications. Publishing research papers or presenting at conferences will enhance your visibility within the conservation biology community and demonstrate your expertise in the field.
  • Develop Technical Skills: Acquire technical skills that are relevant to conservation biology, such as GIS, statistical analysis software, genetic analysis techniques, and ecological modeling. These skills are valuable for data management, spatial analysis, and understanding ecological processes.
  • Network and Collaborate: Build a strong professional network by attending conferences, workshops, and seminars related to conservation biology. Connect with experts, professors, and professionals in the field, and seek opportunities to collaborate on research projects or conservation initiatives. Networking can lead to valuable mentorship, research partnerships, and job opportunities.
  • Seek Professional Experience: Look for job opportunities that align with your interests and expertise. Conservation biologist positions can be found in government agencies, conservation organizations, research institutions, and consulting firms. Gain practical experience by working on conservation projects, conducting field surveys, developing conservation plans, or participating in environmental impact assessments.
  • Stay Informed and Continuously Learn: Stay up-to-date with the latest research, conservation practices, and emerging technologies in the field of conservation biology. Engage in professional development activities, attend workshops, and pursue certifications that can enhance your skills and knowledge.
  • Make a Difference: As a conservation biologist, your ultimate goal is to make a positive impact on biodiversity conservation. Contribute to the development of conservation policies, educate the public about environmental issues, and actively participate in efforts to protect and restore ecosystems and species.

There are several professional associations and organizations dedicated to supporting and connecting conservation biologists. These associations provide resources, networking opportunities, professional development, and a platform for collaboration and information exchange.

  • Society for Conservation Biology (SCB): The Society for Conservation Biology is a global organization that brings together professionals in the field of conservation biology. SCB promotes the science and practice of conserving Earth's biodiversity through conferences, publications, webinars, and networking opportunities. It also focuses on policy advocacy, capacity-building, and interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN): The IUCN is a global organization that works towards nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It comprises governmental and non-governmental organizations, as well as individual scientists and experts. The IUCN publishes the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, provides technical guidance, and supports conservation projects worldwide.
  • Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC): The ATBC is dedicated to the study and conservation of tropical ecosystems. It brings together researchers, practitioners, and educators to promote tropical biodiversity conservation through conferences, publications, and collaboration. The ATBC supports initiatives such as research grants, capacity-building programs, and student chapters.
  • Ecological Society of America (ESA): The ESA is a professional organization that encompasses various fields of ecology, including conservation biology. It provides a platform for ecologists to exchange knowledge, present research, and engage in policy discussions related to environmental conservation. The ESA publishes scientific journals, organizes conferences, and offers resources for professional development.
  • Society for Ecological Restoration (SER): SER focuses on ecological restoration as a critical tool for conserving biodiversity and restoring ecosystems. The society supports research, policy advocacy, and professional development in the field of ecological restoration. It organizes conferences, publishes the journal "Restoration Ecology," and provides guidance and resources for restoration practitioners.
  • Conservation International (CI): Conservation International is a global organization that works to protect biodiversity hotspots, promote sustainable practices, and engage communities in conservation efforts. CI conducts research, implements field projects, and collaborates with governments and local partners to address environmental challenges. They offer opportunities for scientists and conservation practitioners to contribute to their initiatives.
  • The Wildlife Society (TWS): TWS is an organization dedicated to wildlife management, conservation, and research. It brings together wildlife biologists and conservation professionals to promote sustainable wildlife management practices, policy development, and scientific research. TWS offers conferences, publications, certifications, and resources for professional development.