How to become a conservator
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
The subject you study will depend on the type of conservation you want to work in.
Examples of conservation specialisms include:
- fine art
- buildings and heritage
- books and paper
- human customs and cultures
There are also specialist degrees, diplomas and postgraduate qualifications in conservation.
You can find out more about courses available through The Institute of Conservation (ICON).
You'll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
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.
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
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 in work.
You could apply for the Institute of Conservation's internship programme. It can be a useful way to get practical experience after studying.
You'll also have an advantage when looking for courses and jobs if you have work experience at a museum collection or historic site.
You can find out more about careers in conservation from The Institute of Conservation.
You can also get information about working in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.