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Conservation Officer

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Summary of occupation

Natural resource managers ensure the ecological sustainability of the flora, fauna, soil and waterways of Western Australia. They monitor, collect and interpret environmental data, develop land management and rehabilitation plans, ensure sustainable use of land and water resources, and consult with government agencies, environmental groups, industry and communities. They may also run programs that educate the community about specific natural resources and ecological sustainability. Natural resource managers work within any one of the six natural resource management regions; the Avon, Northern Agricultural, Rangelands, South West and Swan. 

ANZSCO description: Develops and implements programs and regulations for the protection of fish, wildlife and other natural resources.
Alternative names: Conservationist, Environmental Officer
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A natural resource manager needs:

  • a passion for conservation and the environment
  • organisational skills
  • a willingness to work both indoors and outdoors
  • project management skills
  • motivation and persistence
  • strong communication and interpersonal skills
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Working conditions

Natural resource managers work for state and local government agencies that are responsible for maintaining the ecological sustainability of natural resources, and sometimes for universities. They work both in offices and outdoors collecting data in the field. They usually only work outdoors in fair weather conditions, unless collecting specific weather-related data. They may need to travel extensively to visit the locations they are researching. They usually work regular business hours, but may be expected to work longer hours at times.  

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Salary details

On average, natural resource managers, classified under environmental scientists, can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week ($78 000 and $103 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a natural resource manager develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Natural resource managers use computers and specialist software including environmental data compiling and management software. They also use equipment for collecting water, soil and air samples, and laboratory equipment such as microscopes, test tubes, pipettes, and portable meters to measure pH, and other biological components. They may also use vehicles, including 4-wheel drives, to visit specific locations in the field. 

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a natural resource manager you usually need to complete a formal qualification in environmental monitoring and technology, conservation and land management, environmental science or a related field.

The Diploma of Environmental Monitoring and Technology, and the Diploma of Conservation and Land Management are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You may improve your employment prospects if you complete a degree majoring in environmental science or environmental management.

Most of the universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information. 

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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