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People who are looking for a job in the Department of Conservation are sometimes required to have a relevant tertiary qualification. However there are many positions where a qualification is not required, although experience is often necessary.

Finding voluntary or temporary work either with DOC or other similar agencies and organisations may help build up that experience. It is vital to have an enthusiasm for conservation and to care for the environment.

If the position you are interested in involves a lot of field work, such as in parks and reserves or with a wildlife species, it is good to have an interest in the outdoors and to have pursued some sort of outdoor recreation such as tramping, climbing, or hunting. A good level of physical fitness and health is necessary. 

Tertiary qualifications

There are a great variety of qualifications that help make people suitable for work with the Department. Obviously, the type of work determines what is most useful. Some of the more common, suitable qualifications are: 

  • BSc in Zoology, Botany, Ecology, or Geography
  • Bachelor of Recreation Management (Lincoln)
  • Bachelor of Resource Studies (Lincoln)
  • Diploma in Wildlife Management (Otago) 
  • Bachelor of Business Studies
  • Diploma in Environmental Management (Bay of Plenty Polytechnic)

Many postgraduate studies, such as a Masters in Resource Management, are also suitable. 

National Certificate in Conservation 

The National Certificate in Conservation (Trainee Ranger) programme at the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology is designed, with the full support of the Department of Conservation, to produce graduates with the skills and training to move into Trainee Ranger positions with the Department.

The graduates from the programme will have the opportunity to apply for a limited number of Ranger Trainee vacancies each year.

Those applying for the National Certificate programme would be expected to have, among other things, a current drivers licence, satisfactory grades at NCEA level 2 or equivalent, and a demonstrated interest in the outdoors and conservation.

Conservation course information on NMIT website 

Application forms are available from:

Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology
Freephone 0800 422 733
Private Bag 19, Nelson
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology website

Applied Conservation

Advanced conservation studies are offered in partnership with DOC at the Institute for Applied Ecology New Zealand (AENZ) at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT): The institute provides opportunities to study and conduct research in:

  • GIS
  • Conservation in marine ecosystems
  • Ecological restoration of island ecosystems
  • Conservation of reptiles
  • Socio-ecological systems

For more information see the:


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