Ecologists study the relationship between plants, animals and the environment.
Salary Range: £19,000 to £45,000
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
You’ll need a degree or postgraduate qualification in a subject like:
- conservation biology
- marine biology
- environmental science
- ecology and environmental sustainability
You’ll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
You may be able to do a postgraduate ecologist degree apprenticeship.
You’ll need a qualification and experience in an ecological science to apply.
You’ll usually need:
- a degree in a relevant subject for a degree apprenticeship
Volunteering and experience
Volunteering is a great way to get experience and may improve your chances of finding work. You can also build up contacts within conservation, which will be useful when looking for jobs.
You can find volunteering opportunities with:
- The Conservation Volunteers
- National Trust
- The Wildlife Trusts
Professional and industry bodies
You can join the British Ecological Society, which offers mentoring from experienced ecologists, research news, and education and job search support.
You can find more details about careers in ecology through the British Ecological Society and the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.
Skills and knowledge
- maths knowledge
- analytical thinking skills
- the ability to read English
- thinking and reasoning skills
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- ambition and a desire to succeed
- the ability to use your initiative
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day duties could include:
- carrying out fieldwork – surveying and recording information on plants, animals, environmental conditions and biodiversity
- researching the impact of human activity, like housing and intensive agriculture, on the environment
- building computer models to predict the effects of development or climate change monitoring pollution
- managing wildlife conservation areas, woodland and meadows
You could work in the countryside, at a university, in an office or in a laboratory.
Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers.
With experience, you could become a senior ecologist, leading a team of researchers, developing biodiversity plans or acting as a consultant on sustainable development projects.
You may also be able to apply for chartered environmentalist status. You can find out more about being a chartered environmentalist from the Society for the Environment.