How to Become a Conservation Technician

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Conservation is an important part of the environmental field that deals with protecting a variety of natural resources including plants and animals and their environments. Conservation technicians are trained professionals that perform a variety of conservation tasks.

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What does a conservation technician do?

Conservation technicians gather data on the size, condition, and components of a variety of environments such as forests, wetlands, fisheries, and marine habitats. They measure water, examine soil, collect data on organism populations, assess pollution, and supervise conservation operations. They also collect information on conditions that may pose as environmental and public hazards. Conservation technicians supervise activities that take place in environments to make sure they are not causing harm or damage to the environment. They manage conservation activities and provide information to the public and a variety of organizations about environmental protection. They often write detailed reports based on their findings.

What kind of training does a conservation technician need?

Conservation technicians usually need at least a certificate or associate degree in applied science or related field. Some conservation technicians have a bachelor degree in conservation biology or similar field. A high school diploma and work experience may be sufficient for some positions. Conservation technicians must have a strong background in the physical sciences and mathematics. Some complete internships or obtain part-time jobs in the field to gain practical experience. Most employers provide on the job training to new conservation technicians where they observe and learn from experienced workers. Technicians with formal training require less on the job training. Conservation technicians must stay up to date with current advancements in the field and often complete continuing education and additional training throughout their careers.

What are the prospects for a career as a conservation technician?

Employment of conservation technicians is expected to have little or no change from 2006 to 2016 (1). Some employment will stem from the increased emphasis on certain conservation issues such as preservation of water resources and environmental protection.

Job prospects are expected to be good especially for conservation technicians with advanced education and extensive experience. Many job openings will stem from the need to replace conservation technicians that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do conservation technicians make?

As of November 2009, the middle 50% of conservation technicians earn annual salaries between $35,182 and $43,074. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $47,730 (2).

A career as a conservation technician is a great choice for people with a strong interest and passion for conservation efforts. Conservation technicians must be able to work outdoors in a variety of environments. Analytical thinking, mechanical aptitude, detail orientation, and organization are essential characteristics. Conservation technicians must have excellent oral and written communication to present their findings. They must also have good interpersonal skills and be able to interact with a variety of other professionals and the public.

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