Ornithologist

Ornithologists study the behaviour, ecology, classification and conservation of birds and their habitats.

Average salary (a year)

£18,000 Starter

to

£35,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

38 to 40 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home

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 for a foundation degree 
  • 2 to 3 A levels to do a degree or higher national diploma
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study

More information

Volunteering and experience

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
  • you will be expected to use a computer confidently as part of this job.

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 environment.

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.

Training 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: The de Ferrers Academy
  • Start date: 05 September 2019
  • Location:

Environmental Science WJEC Level 3 Diploma

  • Provider: Worthing College
  • Start date: 16 September 2019
  • Location: Worthing

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