Alternative titles for this job include

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

Average salary (a year)

£22,000 Starter


£42,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 41 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends

Meet Lauren

Lauren is a science officer which is a similar role to ecologist.

A woman with a coat and chunky scarf standing on a bank in front of a river.
BBC Bitesize logo

She works to protect the natural environment by analysing data on river wildlife.

Watch Lauren’s story on BBC Bitesize Careers

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Ecologist

You can get into this job through a university course or an apprenticeship.


You'll need a degree or postgraduate qualification in a subject like:

  • ecology
  • ecology and environmental sustainability
  • conservation, marine or plant biology
  • environmental science
  • zoology

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


You might be able to start by applying for an Ecologist Level 7 Degree Apprenticeship.

This usually takes around 3 years to complete.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • a degree in a relevant subject

More Information


Volunteering is a great way to get practical experience and skills, meet new people and develop useful contacts. This might improve your chances of finding work.

You can find volunteering opportunities with:

More Information

Professional and industry bodies

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

Further information

You can find more details about careers in ecology through the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management and Green Jobs for Nature.

What it takes

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

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • science skills
  • maths knowledge
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • excellent written communication skills
  • legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
  • persistence and determination
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

Restrictions and Requirements

You may need a driving licence to visit fieldwork sites.

What you’ll do

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

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

As an ecologist you might:

  • analyse data on plants, animals and environmental conditions
  • research the impact of activities like house building and farming on land and waterways
  • create and manage wildlife conservation areas and restoration projects
  • advise landowners and local authorities on ecological legal matters
  • study the effects of changing insect populations on agriculture
  • raise awareness of ecological issues in local communities and promote involvement in schemes

Green job

As an ecologist, you can restore woodlands and peatlands to help tackle climate change. This can have a positive impact on the environment.

Find out more about green careers

Working environment

You could work in the countryside, at a university, in an office or in a laboratory.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

You can work for:

  • local authorities
  • conservation organisations
  • government or scientific bodies
  • universities

With experience, you can:

  • become a senior ecologist, leading a team of researchers
  • be employed as a consultant on sustainable development projects
  • act as an adviser on biodiversity policy
  • work in conservation education or scientific journalism
  • specialise in a particular area, for example the study of insects - entomology

You can find more job specialisms at Green Jobs for Nature.

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 an Ecologist 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

FdSc Ecology and Wildlife Conservation

  • Start date: 23 September 2024
  • Location: Northampton

OU L6 BSc(Hons) in Animal Management, Ecology and Conservation - Yr 1 of 3

  • Start date: 16 September 2024
  • Location: Bridgwater

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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