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Environment

Ecologist

Ecologists study the relationship between plants, animals and the environment.

Annual Salary

£19,000 to £45,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

39 to 41 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends;

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

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

Working environment

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.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
University

You'll need a degree or postgraduate qualification in a subject like:

  • ecology
  • conservation biology
  • zoology
  • marine biology
  • environmental science
  • ecology and environmental sustainability

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information
Apprenticeship

You may be able to do a postgraduate ecologist degree apprenticeship.

You'll need a qualification and experience in an ecological science to apply.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • a degree in a relevant subject for a degree apprenticeship
For more information
Volunteering and work 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:

More information

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.

Further information

You can find more details about careers in ecology through the British Ecological Society and the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.

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.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • 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
  • excellent written communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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