How to become an ornithologist

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course

University

Most ornithologists have a foundation degree, higher national diploma or degree in a relevant subject like:

  • biology
  • ecology
  • environmental science
  • zoology

You may need a postgraduate qualification for some jobs.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • at least 1 A level, or equivalent, for a foundation degree
  • between 1 and 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national diploma or degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More Information

Volunteering

Relevant experience is increasingly important, and you may be able to get this by becoming a volunteer or seasonal warden with organisations like the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the British Trust for Ornithology.

More Information

Career tips

You'll need a British Trust for Ornithology ringing permit and experience as a birdwatcher to become a bird warden.

Professional and industry bodies

You can register with the British Ornithologists' Union, which has study resources for students and professionals, and information about help with course funding.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming an ornithologist from the British Ornithologists' Union.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of biology
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • science skills
  • maths knowledge
  • the ability to read English
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • excellent written 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 could include:

  • conducting surveys
  • monitoring bird species 
  • tracking bird movements
  • collecting, analysing and evaluating data
  • preparing reports, management plans and presentations

Working environment

You could work in the countryside.

Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers and you'll travel often.

Career path and progression

With experience you might become a supervisor.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for an ornithologist 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

Environmental Science

  • Provider: HAVANT AND SOUTH DOWNS COLLEGE
  • Start date: 06 September 2021
  • Location: Havant

Environmental Science A Level

  • Provider: BROCKENHURST COLLEGE
  • Start date: 06 September 2021
  • Location: BROCKENHURST

Jobs In the United Kingdom

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.

Skills assessment

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