Conservator

Alternative titles for this job include Conservation officer

Conservators preserve and restore historical objects, artworks and buildings.

Average salary (a year)

£24,000 Starter

to

£60,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

39 to 41 variable

You could work

as a contractor / self-employed managing your own hours

How to become a conservator

You can get into this job through:

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

University

You could do a degree or postgraduate qualification in conservation. The course you do will depend on which area of conservation you want to work in. Examples are:

  • fine art
  • buildings and heritage
  • archaeology
  • documents

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More information

Apprenticeship

You can work towards this role by starting with a cultural heritage conservation technician higher apprenticeship.

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

Entry requirements

To do this apprenticeship, you'll need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and college qualifications like A levels for a higher or a 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 and experience

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 and Creative Choices.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of English language
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • analytical thinking skills
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • knowledge of chemistry including the safe use and disposal of chemicals
  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • preserving objects to stop deterioration
  • checking the condition of objects
  • restoring items
  • making sure that conditions are right for display and storage
  • keeping written and photographic records
  • working in a team with other conservators
  • giving presentations to visitors, including school groups
  • setting up exhibitions and arranging safe transportation
  • giving advice on collections or buildings

Working environment

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

You may need to wear safety clothing.

Career path and progression

You could move into a management job, although this will usually mean stepping away from 'hands on' practical conservation work.

Training 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

BTEC Art and Design

  • Provider: John Henry Newman Catholic College
  • Start date: 01 September 2019
  • Location: BIRMINGHAM

BTEC Art and Design (Fashion)

  • Provider: Springwood High School
  • Start date: 04 September 2019
  • Location: KING'S LYNN

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