Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation?

Wildlife rehabilitation is the treatment and care of a sick, injured, distressed, or orphaned wild animal to release it back into its natural habitat.

Wildlife rehabilitation blends veterinary medicine, natural history, animal behavior, and environmental and animal ethics with public service and education.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation courses in the following subject areas:

  • Diploma in Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation – A study of fundamental topics such as animal psychology, animal anatomy, how to treat common injuries, and how to interact with animals.
  • Irish Wildlife Conservation – This course will provide an introduction to some of Ireland’s biodiversity such as land mammals, songbirds, plants, and will explore sustainable agricultural practices and wildlife conservation and management.
  • Certificate in Animal Conservation – Get acquainted with the responsibilities of animal welfare and wildlife. 
  • Advanced Certificate in Animal Conservation – Focus on the approach to conservation of wildlife, approach threatened wildlife, and the recovery of threatened species. 
  • Master of Science in Conservation Behaviour -You will study the behavior of a wide range of species from marine, freshwater, and terrestrial habitats, and you will learn how an understanding of animal behavior can contribute to the conservation and management of those species.
  • Master of Science in applied Marine Conservation – This degree focuses on core and specialist competencies in key themes of fisheries, marine conservation; sustainability, and ecosystem-based management.

Studying Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation in college

Many Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation courses take place over 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials, and taught modules. Assessments will take place continuously with written examinations and practical assignments combined to achieve a qualification. You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. Any experience in conservation, management, education, or planning will be invaluable. National and international working holidays are great opportunities to develop valuable experience.

Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favorably by employers.  

Work Experience will not only allow you to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, but it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a course in Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of Wildlife conservation, rescue, and rehabilitation policies and procedures.

There are many paths to careers in wildlife rehabilitation and wildlife rehabilitators learn mostly through experience with many starting as volunteers and summer students.

Many wildlife rehabilitation skills are transferable to other fields like wildlife research, conservation biology, nature interpretation, education, animal welfare, zoo biology, and veterinary medicine.

As a Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation conservation officer, you’ll work to protect, manage and enhance the local environment. This can include grassland, woodland, forests, coastal areas, moorland, mountains, and rivers. Depending on the region, you might also work in marine habitats. Part of the role is to encourage people to use the countryside and promote awareness and understanding of the natural environment and wildlife.

Working hours will depend on whether you are employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various facilities or companies. The hours are usually full time and unsocial hours, such as early starts and evening meetings, may typically be included in your working hours. It may also be necessary to work some weekends and public holidays.

At entry-level in particular, the work can be rough and extremely demanding, often outdoors in all weathers. The balance between fieldwork and office-based work varies considerably, with more administration, statistical analysis, and report writing associated with senior positions. The work requires considerable contact with the public and, increasingly, with the media. As environmental work is often developed from international policy or good practice, travel abroad to conferences and meetings may be common in some posts.

Related jobs include:

  • Academic researcher
  • Animal nutritionist
  • Animal physiotherapist
  • Animal technician
  • Nature conservation officer
  • Zookeeper
  • Zoologist
  • Charity officer
  • Ecologist
  • Environmental consultant
  • Environmental education officer
  • Environmental manager
  • Field trials officer
  • Research scientist (life sciences)
  • Sales executive
  • Science writer
  • Veterinary nurse
  • Veterinary surgeon
  • Volunteer coordinator
  • Higher education lecturer
  • Marine scientist
  • Marine biologist
  • Toxicologist

Further study

After completing a course in Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skillset. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as Ecology, Zoology, Environmental Sciences, or Nature Conservation.


Why is wildlife rehabilitation important?

Wildlife rehabilitation helps injured and ill animals return to their ecosystems so that they can continue to play their roles. Wildlife rehabilitation is especially important for endangered species.

What are the benefits of Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation provides a unique opportunity for learning about wildlife, nature, environmental issues, and human values.

Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation ensures humane and professional care of injured animals, specializes in threatened and endangered species recovery, assists in monitoring disease and domestic animal protection and public health, and provides valuable public education and clear understanding regarding the wildlife community and its necessary motives.

Where can I study Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation?

Explore your options here

Did You Know?

· Rhinoceros horns are made up of the protein keratin, the main component of human fingernails and hair.

· It can take sloths an entire month to digest their food

· All of the most important internal organs of a shrimp are located in its head, which is covered by its exoskeleton. This includes the heart, brain, stomach, and reproductive organs.

· In total, nearly 3% of the ice in Antarctic glaciers is made up of penguin urine.

· Flamingos are white, but the algae and brine shrimp they eat turns them pink. The darker the pink, the more well-fed they are.

Mariza Halliday

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  1. Martina Dolan 17th February 2022 at 11:15 am

    Hi there, I would like information about wildlife rehabilitation course available in Ireland or Northern Ireland please. I’m working full time so I’d be hoping for part time or remote access to a point if that’s possible.
    Thank you in advance.

  2. chayann mcbride 19th March 2024 at 6:49 pm

    hello, im currently doing my leaving cert in ireland and was wondering what the requirments are to do the wildlife course, thank you

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