Countryside officer

conservation officer
Animals, land and environment

Career outlook for countryside officer

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would try to make it easy for people to enjoy spending time in the countryside. You’d improve access to interesting and beautiful places they’d enjoy visiting.

You’d explain scientific knowledge and facts in a way that’s easy to understand so they can learn more about nature and wildlife.

Your work would help to protect Scotland’s natural heritage - including woodlands, moors, rivers, hills, lochs and coastlines - for future generations.

You’d advise people who live and work in the countryside about how to manage, protect and improve the rural environment. For example, you’d persuade landowners to manage their land in ways that would conserve or increase the number of plants and animals living there.

You’d also advise about opening land to the public so everyone can enjoy the countryside.

You would:

  • Organise the upkeep of country parks and woodlands
  • Make sure footpaths are clearly marked and litter bins and carparks are provided
  • Produce resources like leaflets and information boards for the public
  • Give talks to local groups
  • Support local environmental events, activities and projects
  • Conduct surveys, carry out research and analyse data
  • Write reports and deliver presentations
  • Comment on planning applications - for example, you’d assess how a new road or housing development might affect the environment
  • Deal with complaints about issues such as rights of way becoming overgrown

You would also keep detailed records, prepare applications for funding, and possibly assess funding applications from other organisations.

Working conditions


You would usually work around 37 hours a week. This could include early starts, especially during the summer. You may also be asked to work to cover evening meetings, weekends and public holidays. Temporary and seasonal work may be available.


You’ll have an office base, although you would spend a lot of time visiting sites. You would be expected to work in most weather conditions.


You would spend a lot of time visiting sites.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Observation
  • Researching
  • Social conscience
  • Developing a plan
  • Managing resources
  • Taking initiative
  • Ethical
  • Analysing

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


You would usually require qualifications at Higher National Diploma level (SCQF level 8) or degree level (SCQF level 9/10) in relevant subjects such as:

  • Countryside/environmental management
  • Environmental sciences
  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Geography 

Entry to a Higher National Diploma course (SCQF level 8) usually requires two Highers.

Entry to a degree requires National 5s and at least four Highers (SCQF level 6).

Useful subjects

  •  Maths (required by most courses)
  • Science subjects - biology or environmental science preferred (required by most courses)
  • English
  • Social studies such as psychology

You will also need

A driving licence is often essential.

Relevant work experience is often essential.

You may need to be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show observation skills, the ability to work alone and an interest in the countryside such as Skills for Work Rural Skills (SCQF level 4) or the John Muir Award.