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Career profile Conservation Scientist

Also known as Conservationist, Environmental Analyst, Erosion Control Specialist, Land Manager, Land Reclamation Specialist, Land Resource Specialist, Resource Conservation Specialist, Resource Conservationist, Soil Conservationist

Conservation Scientist

Also known as Conservationist, Environmental Analyst, Erosion Control Specialist

Interests Profile
  • Enterprising
  • Investigative
  • Realistic
Pay Range
$39,230 - $100,350 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Complex Problem Solving
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Biology
  • Engineering and Technology
Core tasks
  • Develop soil maps.
  • Implement soil or water management techniques, such as nutrient management, erosion control, buffers, or filter strips, in accordance with conservation plans.
  • Monitor projects during or after construction to ensure projects conform to design specifications.
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What does a Conservation Scientist do?

Conservation Scientists manage, improve, and protect natural resources to maximize their use without damaging the environment.

In addition, Conservation Scientists

  • may conduct soil surveys and develop plans to eliminate soil erosion or to protect rangelands,
  • may instruct farmers, agricultural production managers, or ranchers in best ways to use crop rotation, contour plowing, or terracing to conserve soil and water; in the number and kind of livestock and forage plants best suited to particular ranges; and in range and farm improvements, such as fencing and reservoirs for stock watering.

What kind of tasks does a Conservation Scientist perform regularly?

Conservation Scientists are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Implement soil or water management techniques, such as nutrient management, erosion control, buffers, or filter strips, in accordance with conservation plans.
  • Monitor projects during or after construction to ensure projects conform to design specifications.
  • Advise land users, such as farmers or ranchers, on plans, problems, or alternative conservation solutions.
  • Visit areas affected by erosion problems to identify causes or determine solutions.
  • Develop or maintain working relationships with local government staff or board members.
  • Apply principles of specialized fields of science, such as agronomy, soil science, forestry, or agriculture, to achieve conservation objectives.
  • Gather information from geographic information systems (GIS) databases or applications to formulate land use recommendations.
  • Compute design specifications for implementation of conservation practices, using survey or field information, technical guides or engineering manuals.
  • Participate on work teams to plan, develop, or implement programs or policies for improving environmental habitats, wetlands, or groundwater or soil resources.
  • Conduct fact-finding or mediation sessions among government units, landowners, or other agencies to resolve disputes.
  • Revisit land users to view implemented land use practices or plans.
  • Respond to complaints or questions on wetland jurisdiction, providing information or clarification.
  • Compute cost estimates of different conservation practices, based on needs of land users, maintenance requirements, or life expectancy of practices.
  • Provide information, knowledge, expertise, or training to government agencies at all levels to solve water or soil management problems or to assure coordination of resource protection activities.
  • Analyze results of investigations to determine measures needed to maintain or restore proper soil management.
  • Coordinate or implement technical, financial, or administrative assistance programs for local government units to ensure efficient program implementation or timely responses to requests for assistance.
  • Identify or recommend integrated weed and pest management (IPM) strategies, such as resistant plants, cultural or behavioral controls, soil amendments, insects, natural enemies, barriers, or pesticides.
  • Review proposed wetland restoration easements or provide technical recommendations.
  • Develop, conduct, or participate in surveys, studies, or investigations of various land uses to inform corrective action plans.

The above responsibilities are specific to Conservation Scientists. More generally, Conservation Scientists are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Communicating with People Outside the Organization
Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

What is a Conservation Scientist salary?

The median salary for a Conservation Scientist is $64,020, and the average salary is $69,020. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Conservation Scientist salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Conservation Scientists earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Conservation Scientists earn less than $39,230 per year, 25% earn less than $49,930, 75% earn less than $82,740, and 90% earn less than $100,350.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Conservation Scientists is expected to change by 5.9%, and there should be roughly 2,500 open positions for Conservation Scientists every year.

Median annual salary
$64,020
Typical salary range
$39,230 - $100,350
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
5.9%

What personality traits are common among Conservation Scientists?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Conservation Scientist are usually higher in their Enterprising, Investigative, and Realistic interests.

Conservation Scientists typically have strong Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Also, Conservation Scientists typically have strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Lastly, Conservation Scientists typically have strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Conservation Scientist tend to value Relationships, Independence, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Conservation Scientists strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Conservation Scientists strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Conservation Scientists strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Conservation Scientists must consistently demonstrate qualities such as integrity, dependability, and cooperation.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Conservation Scientists, ranked by importance:

Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

What education and training do Conservation Scientists need?

Many Conservation Scientists will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Conservation Scientists usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Conservation Scientists

  • 76.2% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 18.7% earned a Master's degree
  • 5.1% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Conservation Scientists

Conservation Scientists may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, biology, or engineering and technology knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Conservation Scientists might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Biology
Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Geography
Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
Law and Government
Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

Important Abilities needed by Conservation Scientists

Conservation Scientists must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Conservation Scientists need abilities such as oral comprehension, written comprehension, and oral expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Conservation Scientists, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Critical Skills needed by Conservation Scientists

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Conservation Scientists frequently use skills like active listening, reading comprehension, and complex problem solving to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Conservation Scientists, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Complex Problem Solving
Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Writing
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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