- Preserve historically and culturally important buildings and monuments
- Keep to conservation standards and heritage legislation
- Opportunities for promotion to manager, inspector, or consultant in the same field
As a heritage officer, you'll ensure that buildings and monuments that have historical or cultural importance are properly maintained and taken care of.
- Inspecting historic buildings and monuments to assess work to be completed
- Responding to queries and giving advice to members of the public and organisations
- Researching information using archives, heritage legislation and conservation standards
- Reviewing building plans and engineering drawings
- Attending public events and presenting project proposals
- Writing reports and producing project plans
- Making sure work meets project deadlines, budgets and conservation standards
- Communicating with conservation and planning officials
- Giving technical advice to teams working on conservation projects
You could work in an office or visit sites, and your working environment might be outdoors some of the time and spent away from home.
To be a heritage officer, you'll need customer service skills, thoroughness and attention to detail, knowledge of building and construction, the ability to work well with others, excellent verbal communication skills, administration skills, the ability to use your judgement and make decisions, and excellent written communication skills.
There are a variety of subjects that may be useful for a career in heritage. These include history, geography, cultural heritage studies, building conservation, architecture, archaeology, and Earth or natural sciences. A postgraduate qualification in subjects like heritage management or historic conservation can be advantageous when looking for jobs. As well as a degree, you will also need relevant work experience in the heritage sector. It's important to look for internships and work experience opportunities while you study.
You could also start out by doing an historic environment advice assistant higher apprenticeship. English Heritage, Historic England, and the National Trust are developing this route as an alternative to going to university. You would start out as a heritage trainee or technician.
You may be able to move into heritage officer work if you have relevant skills or experience in other professions, such as construction project management, local authority planning, or building surveying.
Work experience and volunteering are important for this role. Opportunities can be found with organisations like English Heritage, Historic England, National Trust, or The Heritage Alliance. Your local council also may be useful to contact to see if they have opportunities in departments like planning or regeneration. You can also search for private companies in the heritage sector through the Historic Environment Provider Service Recognistion scheme. Some organisations have internship programmes to encourage people from black and minority ethnic communities to think about a career in heritage.
You may be able to apply directly if you've got several years' experience in a related industry like civil engineering, construction management, planning or conservation.
With experience, you could become a heritage project manager, senior inspector, or heritage consultant. To be promoted, you might need to relocate to a new area or move between organisations in the public and private sector.