How To Work in Nature Conservation Without a Science Degree

How To Work in Nature Conservation Without a Science Degree

If you have a passion for nature and a desire to make a positive impact on the environment, you may be wondering how to pursue a career in conservation without a science degree. The good news is that there are many positions within the field of nature conservation that do not require a scientific background. In fact, the conservation industry relies on a diverse range of professionals, including artists, administrators, communicators, and researchers, to name a few.

One of the most recommended activities for those without a science degree who are interested in working in nature conservation is to consider a career in communications or public relations. These positions involve working with the public, whether it be through outreach programs, educational initiatives, or public awareness campaigns. A background in communications can be a valuable asset in the field of conservation, as it allows for the effective dissemination of information and the promotion of environmental causes.

Another field that does not typically require a science degree is administration. Many organizations and governments that work in nature conservation need skilled administrators to manage their day-to-day operations. These positions can range from office managers to policy administrators and often involve tasks such as budgeting, scheduling, and coordinating activities. While a science background is not necessary for these roles, a strong organizational and administrative skillset is essential.

If you are looking for a more hands-on role in nature conservation, there are also careers available as wildlife technicians, natural resource managers, and GIS specialists. These positions involve working directly with animals, plants, and ecosystems to monitor and manage their health and well-being. While a science degree may be preferred for some of these roles, there are opportunities for those without a scientific background to gain experience and move up within the field.

It is important to note that while a science degree is not always required, having a background in the sciences can be beneficial for certain positions within the field of nature conservation. For example, becoming a wildlife biologist or a disease researcher often requires a scientific understanding of animals, their habitats, and the various threats they face. However, there are still many rewarding and impactful careers available in nature conservation that do not require a science degree.

When considering a career in nature conservation without a science degree, it is also important to consider the salary and job outlook. While some positions may offer higher salaries and more job security, others may be lower-paying or more project-based. It is important to research and understand the salary expectations and job opportunities in your chosen field before pursuing a career in nature conservation.

Benefits of Working in Nature Conservation

Working in nature conservation offers a wide range of benefits for those who are passionate about the environment and want to make a positive impact. Here are some of the major benefits:

  • Work in Various Roles: Conservation organizations employ people from different backgrounds and skill sets. Whether you are a biologist, environmental educator, economist, artist, or communications specialist, there is a place for you in the field of nature conservation.
  • Make a Difference: Working in conservation allows you to contribute to the protection and preservation of the world’s wild places and endangered species. Your work can help to conserve biodiversity and ensure the health of ecosystems for future generations.
  • Work in Diverse Environments: Conservationists have the opportunity to work in a variety of environments, including forests, wetlands, mountains, and marine ecosystems. This provides a chance to explore and enjoy the beauty of nature on a daily basis.
  • Collaborate with Experts: Working in nature conservation often involves collaborating with scientists, researchers, and other experts in the field. This allows you to learn from their knowledge and expertise, and to contribute your own unique skills and perspectives.
  • Engage in Advocacy: Conservationists have the opportunity to advocate for environmental issues and influence policy decisions. This can involve working with governments, NGOs, and communities to address environmental challenges and promote sustainable practices.
  • Work in Office or in the Field: Nature conservation offers a range of work environments, from office-based roles such as data analysis and research to field-based roles such as wildlife monitoring and habitat restoration. This variety allows you to find a role that suits your preferences and interests.
  • Pursue a Passion: Working in nature conservation allows you to pursue your passion for the environment and make a career out of something you love. It provides the opportunity to align your work with your values and contribute to a cause that is important to you.
  • Enjoy Work-Life Balance: Many conservation organizations prioritize work-life balance and offer flexible work arrangements. This can provide the opportunity to maintain a healthy lifestyle and spend time in nature outside of work.
  • Making an Impact: Whether you work as a wildlife officer, conservation manager, GIS specialist, or environmental inspector, the work you do in nature conservation can have a direct and lasting impact on the planet. Every small action counts towards creating a more sustainable future.

Gain Real-World Experience

One option is to volunteer for organizations or agencies that work in nature conservation. This hands-on experience will not only give you a taste of what it’s like to work in the field, but it will also provide you with valuable skills and knowledge that employers will appreciate. You can help with tasks such as monitoring wildlife populations, conducting field surveys, or assisting with habitat restoration projects.

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Another option is to seek out entry-level positions that don’t require a science degree. For example, many agencies have outreach or communications positions where you can help educate the public about the importance of conservation. These roles often involve working with scientists and other specialists to develop and implement programs that promote environmental awareness.

No matter what your background or skills, there is a place for anyone who is passionate about nature conservation. Employers value diverse perspectives and recognize that individuals from non-science backgrounds can bring unique insights and skills to the table.

One thing to consider is that while science degrees may not be required for these positions, they are often preferred. So, if you’re passionate about a career in nature conservation and willing to put in the extra effort, you might consider pursuing additional education or training. This could include taking courses in biology, ecology, or environmental science, or earning certifications in specific areas of interest.

Make a Positive Impact on the Environment

One of the key activities in conservation work is data collection and analysis. This is where specialists in research and statistics play a crucial role. They support the field officers and conservation managers by conducting sound research to gather data on wildlife, pollution, disease, and other environmental factors. Their work helps in the formulation of effective conservation strategies.

Environmental communications is another important role in this field. These professionals are responsible for spreading awareness about nature, conservation, and the need for sustainable practices. They utilize various platforms, including social media and public outreach programs, to educate and engage the public in environmental issues.

GIS (Geographic Information Systems) professionals are also in high demand in the field of conservation. They use GIS technology to analyze and map out different environments, including marine and wildlife habitats. These data-driven maps help in decision-making when it comes to land management and conservation efforts.

In addition, there are jobs in conservation administration and management. These roles focus on the coordination of conservation activities, including budgeting, planning, and policy implementation. They require individuals with strong organizational and leadership skills.

It is worth noting that not all jobs in conservation have a direct impact on the frontlines. For example, economists can be employed to assess the economic impact of conservation policies and practices. They play a crucial role in ensuring that sustainable practices are economically viable.

There is no shortage of career opportunities for those who care about the environment. Whether you want to work as a wildlife biologist, an enforcement officer, a waste management specialist, or a laboratory worker, the nature conservation field offers a wide range of roles and locations.

Job Percentage
Scientist 20%
Field Officer 15%
Conservation Manager 12%
Research Specialist 10%
Environmental Communications 8%
GIS Professional 6%
Administration and Management 7%
Economist 5%
Others 17%

Expert Tips for Working in Nature Conservation

1. Consider non-scientific roles: Not all jobs in nature conservation require a science background. There are various positions available, including environmental educators, communications officers, consultants, and artists who work to raise awareness about conservation issues.

2. Volunteer or intern: Gain practical experience by volunteering or interning with conservation organizations. Not only will this help you gain valuable skills and knowledge, but it can also lead to job opportunities within the organization.

3. Seek specialized training: While a science degree may not be necessary, acquiring specialized training in areas such as environmental law, pollution control, or marine conservation can enhance your chances of securing a position.

4. Network with professionals: Connect with conservationists and professionals in the field through networking events and social media. They can provide guidance, mentorship, and potential job opportunities.

5. Highlight your skills: Emphasize your transferable skills, such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and project management, which are valuable in nature conservation work. Even if your background is not in science, these skills are highly sought after.

6. Be open to imperfect paths: Your journey towards a career in nature conservation may not follow a linear path. Be open to taking on different roles and opportunities along the way, as they can provide valuable experience and lead you to your desired position.

7. Stay updated: Keep up-to-date with the latest developments in conservation science and environmental issues. This knowledge will make you a more informed and competitive candidate.

8. Pursue continuing education: Consider taking relevant courses or obtaining certifications in areas related to nature conservation. This will enhance your knowledge and credibility in the field.

9. Join professional organizations: Become a member of professional organizations and associations related to nature conservation. These organizations often provide resources, networking opportunities, and job listings.

10. Make a difference in your everyday life: Remember that working in nature conservation is not limited to a job title. You can make a difference in your day-to-day life by adopting sustainable practices, reducing waste, and supporting conservation initiatives in your community.

Although a science background is recommended for certain positions, there are many ways to contribute to nature conservation even without a degree in the sciences. By following these expert tips, you can find fulfilling work and help protect the environment in your own unique way.

Develop Transferable Skills

Research is a top skill in the field of conservation. Whether you’re researching the impacts of pollution, studying wildlife populations, or analyzing data on environmental trends, having a strong research background will make you a valuable asset in any conservation career.

Not all conservation careers require a science degree. For example, if you’re more of a numbers person, you could pursue a career as an economist or policy analyst. These roles often involve working with data to determine the economic and policy impacts of conservation activities.

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Another career option is working in law enforcement or as a legal consultant. These roles focus on enforcing laws and regulations related to conservation and protecting natural resources. You’ll need a strong understanding of environmental law and a background in law or criminal justice.

If you’re more creative, you may consider a career as a wildlife educator or a communications specialist. These roles involve creating educational materials, brochures, and campaigns to raise awareness about conservation issues. Strong communication and storytelling skills will be essential in these positions.

There are also careers in conservation that don’t involve working directly with the natural environment. For example, you could work as a project manager, administrator, or support worker for a conservation organization. These roles ensure that the day-to-day operations run smoothly and provide crucial support to the conservationists in the field.

If you’re unsure where to start or what career path to pursue, don’t be afraid to seek guidance from experts in the field. They can provide insight into the different industries and roles available and recommend specific skills and experiences that will make you a competitive candidate.

Remember, a science degree is not the only path to a career in conservation. By developing transferable skills and gaining experience in the field, you can make a meaningful impact on the environment and pursue a rewarding career.

Network with Professionals in the Field

If you’re looking to work in nature conservation without a science degree, it’s important to network with professionals already working in the field. By connecting with people who are employed in conservation jobs, you can gain valuable insights and advice on how to enter the industry. Networking also provides an opportunity to learn about different career paths and explore potential job opportunities.

When networking with professionals in the field, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you’re seeking. Whether it’s a job in marine conservation, pollution control, land management, or any other area of nature conservation, knowing your goals will help guide your networking efforts.

Recommended Networking Activities:

1. Attend Conservation and Environmental Events: Participate in conferences, workshops, and seminars related to nature conservation. These events provide a platform to meet experts, gain knowledge, and make connections with individuals and organizations in the field.

2. Join Professional Organizations: Become a member of professional organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the Nature Conservancy, or local conservation groups. These organizations often host events and offer networking opportunities with professionals in the field.

3. Volunteer: Volunteering is a great way to gain hands-on experience in conservation work, while also networking with professionals. Look for volunteer opportunities with organizations or research facilities involved in nature conservation.

4. Use Online Platforms: Utilize online platforms such as LinkedIn or professional forums to connect with conservation professionals. Join relevant groups or communities and actively engage in discussions to expand your network.

Benefits of Networking in Conservation:

Networking with professionals in the field can offer several benefits for those seeking a career in nature conservation without a science degree:

1. Gain Insights and Advice: By connecting with experienced professionals, you can gain valuable insights and advice on how to navigate the industry, find job opportunities, and develop relevant skills.
2. Expand Job Opportunities: Networking can open doors to job opportunities that may not be advertised publicly. Many conservation jobs are filled through word-of-mouth recommendations.
3. Build Relationships with Experts: Networking allows you to build relationships with experts in the field. These connections can be valuable for mentorship, references, and future collaborations.
4. Stay Updated on Industry Trends: Through networking, you can stay updated on the latest trends and developments in the field of nature conservation. This knowledge will enhance your understanding of the industry and make you a more competitive candidate.

Remember, while a science degree may be required for certain conservation jobs, many positions value a diverse range of skills and backgrounds. By networking and showcasing your passion for nature conservation, you can position yourself as a dedicated and qualified candidate, even without a science degree.


Is it possible to work in nature conservation without a science degree?

Yes, it is possible to work in nature conservation without a science degree. While a science degree can be beneficial, there are many roles in this field that do not require a specific scientific background. For example, positions in policy analysis, community outreach, and education can be pursued without a science degree.

What are some alternative routes for working in nature conservation?

There are several alternative routes for working in nature conservation without a science degree. One option is to gain experience through volunteering or internships in relevant organizations. This can help build practical skills and knowledge in the field. Another option is to pursue a degree or certification in a related field such as environmental studies, wildlife management, or conservation biology. Networking and building connections with professionals in the field can also open up opportunities for non-science degree holders.

What skills are important for working in nature conservation?

While a science degree can provide a foundation of knowledge, there are several skills that are important for working in nature conservation regardless of educational background. These include strong communication and interpersonal skills, as working in this field often involves collaborating with various stakeholders and communicating complex concepts to different audiences. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are also important, as well as a passion for environmental protection and conservation.

Can I become a wildlife policy analyst without a science degree?

Yes, it is possible to become a wildlife policy analyst without a science degree. While a science background can be helpful in understanding the scientific aspects of conservation policy, policy analysis itself requires skills in research, data interpretation, and policy development. Many policy analysts come from diverse backgrounds, including law, politics, economics, and environmental studies. Gaining experience through internships and staying updated on current environmental policy issues can also help in pursuing a career as a wildlife policy analyst without a science degree.

Dave Pennells

By Dave Pennells

Dave Pennells, MS, has contributed his expertise as a career consultant and training specialist across various fields for over 15 years. At City University of Seattle, he offers personal career counseling and conducts workshops focused on practical job search techniques, resume creation, and interview skills. With a Master of Science in Counseling, Pennells specializes in career consulting, conducting career assessments, guiding career transitions, and providing outplacement services. Her professional experience spans multiple sectors, including banking, retail, airlines, non-profit organizations, and the aerospace industry. Additionally, since 2001, he has been actively involved with the Career Development Association of Australia.