What Is the Average Salary for Entry-Level Conservation Jobs?

If you are interested in a career protecting and managing natural resources, then a career in conservation might be for you. This article highlights the salaries of common occupations within the conservation field. Schools offering Natural Resources & Conservation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Careers in Conservation

Careers in conservation focus on protecting natural resources and preserving endangered species. Some common entry-level jobs include conservation scientist, forester, and forest and conservation worker. The information below details important information regarding salaries, education, and work environment of these different jobs.

Important Facts About Entry-Level Conservation Jobs

Required Education High school diploma, or equivalent (for foresters and forest and conservation workers); bachelor's degree (for all conservation scientists)
Key Skills Observation, attention to detail, critical and analytical thinking, problem solving, excellent written and spoken communication, physical endurance
Work Environment Mainly outdoors collecting data mixed with time spent in a lab conducting experiments
Similar Occupations Agricultural and food scientists; zoologists; wildlife biologists; agricultural workers; grounds maintenance workers; logging workers

Conservation Scientist Salary Information

As a conservation scientist, you'll work to develop and safeguard land and other natural resources for future use. You'll often work with landowners, farmers and government agencies to devise strategies for using land in a way that doesn't cause erosion or otherwise harm the environment. You may spend your days conducting field work, implementing land restoration plans or devising strategies to prevent groundwater contamination.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), conservation scientists earned a median salary of $61,860 as of May 2014 (www.bls.gov). The lowest 10% earned $38,000 or less, and the top 10% earned $92,400 or more. Top-paying industries for this occupation included scientific research and development services as well as architectural, engineering and related services.

Forester Salary Information

The forestry profession focuses on managing and conserving forests. Depending on your specific job description, you may be responsible for controlling insect damage, regenerating forests, overseeing controlled burns, managing harvesting or developing tree-planting strategies. While some of the same knowledge and skills apply, the role of a forester differs from that of a conservation scientist. While conservation may be one of your primary concerns, foresters also oversee the economic and recreational use of forests.

The BLS reported that the median annual salary for foresters was $57,980 in May 2014, with the bottom 10% earning $37,680 or less and the top 10% earning $85,750 or more. Common employers include sawmill and wood preservation organizations and government agencies.

Forest and Conservation Worker Salary Information

As a conservation or forest worker you'll typically work under the supervision of a conservation scientist or forester. You'll perform a variety of assigned tasks, such as collecting data, tracking wildlife movement, locating property lines and training seasonal conservation workers and volunteers.

According to the BLS, conservation and forest workers earned a median annual salary of $27,160 as of May 2014. The BLS also reported that top salaries were paid to workers by services to buildings and dwellings (average salary $36,440), sawmills and wood preservation companies (average salary $35,040) and local governments (average salary $33,900).

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