Job type


£22k - £45k

Typical salary

39 – 41

Hours per week

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

More info

  • Research and protect plants, animals, and the environment
  • Involves scientific research methods and requires great data and report writing skills
  • Combines working outdoors with indoor research and writing work

You'll usually specialise in a particular type of environment, like marine or coastal areas. You could study a specific animal or plant species.


  • Carry out fieldwork
  • Survey and record information on plants, animals, environmental conditions and biodiversity
  • Research the impact of human activity, like housing and intensive agriculture, on the environment
  • Build computer models to predict the effects of development or climate change
  • Monitor pollution
  • Manage wildlife conservation areas, woodland and meadows

You might also help assess planning proposals and make recommendations on sustainable land use for local authorities, government departments and companies. 


You could work in a laboratory, in the environment, at a university or in an office. Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers.

You'll need

This role requires a methodical approach to work, the ability to gather and interpret data, excellent presentation and report writing skills, and project management skills. You'll work in the field, in an office and in a lab.

You'll usually need a degree in a relevant subject like conservation biology, ecology, zoology, marine biology, environmental science, or ecology and environmental sustainability.

You may also be able to do a postgraduate ecologist degree apprenticeship, for which you'll need a qualification and experience in an ecological science to apply.

For some jobs, like higher education teaching, research or in areas like ecology consultancy, you'll also be expected to have, or be working towards, a relevant postgraduate qualification, like a master's or PhD.

You could gain work experience and improve your chances of finding work by volunteering. The Conservation Volunteers, National Trust and Wildlife Trusts have more information on ecology volunteering.

You can join the British Ecological Society, which offers mentoring from experienced ecologists, research news, and education and job search support.


With experience, you could apply for Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv) or Chartered Ecologist (CEcol) status. You could then progress to senior ecologist, leading a team of researchers, developing biodiversity plans or acting as a consultant on sustainable development projects.