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Conservator

Alternative titles for this job include Conservation officer

Conservators preserve and restore objects, artworks and buildings of historical importance.

Average salary (a year)

£26,000 Starter

to

£32,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 variable

You could work

as a contractor / self-employed managing your own hours

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become a conservator

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role

University

Conservators come from a range of subject disciplines so the subject you study will depend on the area of conservation you want to work in.

Examples of conservation specialisms include:

  • fine art
  • buildings and heritage
  • archaeology
  • books and paper
  • textiles
  • human customs and cultures

There are also specialist degree, diploma and postgraduate qualifications in conservation.

You can find out more about courses available through The Institute of Conservation (ICON).

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

More Information

Apprenticeship

You can start out by doing a cultural heritage conservation technician higher apprenticeship, then take further training to qualify.

You could also apply for a cultural heritage conservator degree apprenticeship if you have the right experience and qualifications.

Entry requirements

To do this apprenticeship, you'll need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More Information

Work

You may be able to move into certain kinds of conservation work if you've got relevant qualifications and experience. For example, building conservation may be suitable if you're a qualified stonemason, plasterer or roofer.

If you want to specialise in conservation of crafts, like stained glass, decorative stonework or metalwork, you're more likely to build up your skills and experience through a work-based route.

Volunteering

You'll find that internships are a useful way to get practical experience after studying.

You'll also have an advantage when looking for courses and jobs if you have some relevant work experience. For example with a museum collection or historic site.

More Information

Further information

You can find out more about careers in conservation from The Institute of Conservation.

You can also find out more about working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • an interest and knowledge of history
  • concentration skills
  • analytical thinking skills
  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You may:

  • preserve objects to stop deterioration
  • check the condition of objects
  • restore items
  • make sure that conditions are right for display and storage
  • keep written and photographic records
  • work in a team with other conservators
  • give presentations to visitors, including school groups
  • set up exhibitions and arrange safe transportation
  • give advice on collections or buildings

Working environment

You could work in a museum, in a workshop, in a creative studio, in a laboratory or visit sites.

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You could move into project management, although this may mean stepping away from 'hands on' practical conservation work.

You could go into teaching or academic research or work as a freelance consultant.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a conservator right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Fine Art Professional Practice - BA Hons Degree

  • Provider: BLACKPOOL AND THE FYLDE COLLEGE
  • Start date: 13 September 2022
  • Location: Blackpool

Fine Art

  • Provider: RAINHAM SCHOOL FOR GIRLS
  • Start date: 31 August 2022
  • Location: GILLINGHAM

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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