Conservators plan and organise the conservation of materials and objects in libraries, archives, museums, art galleries and other institutions.
Specialisations: Art Conservator.
A bachelor or postgraduate degree in heritage, museums and conservation or cultural materials conservation is usually needed to work as a Conservator.
Researches history of items.
Analyses and test items to determine the material they are made of, their condition, and to confirm their identification and authenticity.
Consults with curators, owners or custodians about items.
Takes photographs of items before and after treatments.
Chooses the best method of treatment and treats items.
Keeps records of all decisions and the results of any treatments carried out.
Is involved in the disaster recovery of items (treating items that are water damaged).
Researches aspects of conservation such as the materials and techniques used to create a group of artefacts.
Ensure items going on exhibition are in good condition.
Advises staff or collectors on how to best care for artefacts, including how to store, display and transport them.
May advise and consult with community groups, over the treatment of cultural artefacts.
JSA produces employment projections to show where likely future job opportunities may be. Employment projections data are only produced for occupations at the broad four digit Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) level. While data are not available for this occupation, projections data are available for the parent occupation, Other Natural and Physical Science Professionals, under the outlook section.
Earnings and hours
Around 62% of people employed as Conservators work full-time hours, in all their jobs combined. This is 4 percentage points below the all jobs average (66%).
Full-time workers work an average of 40 hours per week in their main job. This is 4 hours less than the all jobs average (44 hours per week).
Sources:Full-time share and full-time hours: ABS, 2016 Census, customised report. Compared to the all jobs average.
Most Conservators work in the Arts and recreation services industry. They are also employed in industries like:
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report.
Employment across Australia
Employment by State and Territory (% Share)
|State||Conservators||All Jobs Average|
Around 81% of Conservators live in capital cities, compared with the all jobs average of 62%.
The Australian Capital Territory has a large share of employment relative to its population size.
The region with the largest share of workers is Australian Capital Territory.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian states, territories and regions, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age and gender
The median age of Conservators is 46 years. This is higher than the all jobs average of 40 years.
A large share of workers are aged 35 to 44 years.
Females make up 67% of the workforce. This is 19 percentage points above the all jobs average of 48%.
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile and gender share compared to the all jobs average.
Age Profile (% Share)
|Age Bracket||Conservators||All Jobs Average|
|65 and Over||8.9||4.2|
Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Education, training and experience
A bachelor or postgraduate degree in heritage, museums and conservation or cultural materials conservation is usually needed to work as a Conservator.
- Course Seeker to search and compare higher education courses.
- ComparED to compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes.
Highest Level of Education (% Share)
|Type of Qualification||Conservators||All Jobs Average|
|Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate||38.9||10.1|
|Year 10 and below||3.0||12.5|
Source: ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Skills and Knowledge
Employers look for Other Natural and Physical Science Professionals who can communicate clearly, work well in a team and have strong interpersonal skills.
Skills can be improved through training or experience.
Writing things for co-workers or customers.
Reading work related information.
Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
Keeping track of how well work is progressing so you can make changes or improvements.
Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
Talking to others.
45%Complex problem solving
Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
45%Judgment and decision making
Figuring out the pros and cons of different options and choosing the best one.
Being able to use what you have learnt to solve problems now and again in the future.
43%Coordination with others
Being adaptable and coordinating work with other people.
Understanding why people react the way they do.
Managing your own and other peoples' time to get work done.
Teaching people how to do something.
Looking for ways to help people.
Figuring out the best way to teach or learn something new.
Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect it.
Bringing people together and trying to sort out their differences.
Talking people into changing their minds or their behaviour.
36%Quality control analysis
Doing tests and checking products, services, or processes to make sure they are working properly.
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.
English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
65%History and archeology
Events of the past, their causes, how we learn about them, and how they influence the way we live today.
Compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.
61%Computers and electronics
Circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.
Design techniques, tools, and principles used to make detailed technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
48%Administration and management
Business principles involved in strategic planning, leadership, and coordinating people and resources.
46%Engineering and technology
Use engineering, science and technology to design and produce goods and services.
Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
44%Public safety and security
Use of equipment, rules and ideas to protect people, data, property, and institutions.
42%Education and training
Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
40%Customer and personal service
Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.
40%Production and processing
Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and ways of making and distributing goods.
39%Communications and media
Media production, communication, and dissemination. Includes written, spoken, and visual media.
The physical laws of matter, motion and energy, and how they interact through space and time.
Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.
Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.
31%Building and construction
Materials, and methods used to construct or repair houses, buildings, or other structures like highways and roads.
31%Sociology and anthropology
Group behaviour and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
Workers use these physical and mental abilities..
Listen to and understand what people say.
Read and understand written information.
Write in a way that people can understand.
See details that are up-close (within a few feet).
Communicate by speaking.
Come up with a number of ideas about a topic, even if the ideas aren't very good.
Use general rules to find answers or solve problems logically.
50%Sorting or ordering
Order or arrange things in a pattern or sequence (e.g., numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Put together small parts with your fingers.
Use lots of detailed information to come up with answers or make general rules.
Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong, even if you can't solve the problem.
Speak clearly so others can understand you.
Keep your hand or arm steady.
Notice differences between colours, including shades of colour and brightness.
Imagine how something will look after it is moved around or changed.
Come up with unusual or clever ideas, or creative ways to solve a problem.
Identify and understand the speech of another person.
Quickly move your hand to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
See details that are far away.
41%Flexibility of closure
See a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) hidden in other distracting material.
These are kinds of activities workers regularly do in this job.
78%Handling and moving objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, moving and manipulating objects.
Using your own ideas for developing, designing, or creating something new.
69%Planning and prioritising work
Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.
66%Looking for changes over time
Comparing objects, actions, or events. Looking for differences between them or changes over time.
65%Communicating within a team
Giving information to co-workers by telephone, in writing, or in person.
65%Keeping your knowledge up-to-date
Keeping up-to-date with technology and new ideas.
63%Monitoring people, processes and things
Checking objects, actions, or events, and keeping an eye out for problems.
63%Assessing and evaluating things
Working out the value, importance, or quality of things, services or people.
61%Documenting or recording information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
61%Building good relationships
Building good working relationships and keeping them over time.
60%Researching and investigating
Looking for, getting and understanding different kinds of information.
57%Collecting and organising information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or checking information or data.
57%Communicating with the public
Giving information to the public, business or government by telephone, in writing, or in person.
57%Making decisions and solving problems
Using information to work out the best solution and solve problems.
53%Doing physically active work
Use your arms, legs and whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling objects.
53%Checking for errors or defects
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials for errors, problems or defects.
51%Making sense of information and ideas
Looking at, working with, and understanding data or information.
50%Working with computers
Using computers to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
46%Coming up with systems and processes
Deciding on goals and figuring out what you need to do to achieve them.
41%Providing office support
Doing day-to-day office work such as filing and processing paperwork.
Interests and demands
Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.
Interests are the style or type of work we prefer to do. All interest areas are shown below.
Practical, hands-on work. Often with plants and animals, or materials like wood, tools, and machinery.
Working with forms, designs and patterns. Often need self-expression and can be done without following rules.
Following set procedures and routines. Working with numbers and details more than with ideas, usually following rules.
Ideas and thinking. Searching for facts and figuring out problems in your head.
Starting up and carrying out projects. Leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes require risk taking and often deal with business.
Working with people. Helping or providing service to others.
Results oriented. Workers are able to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.
Serve and work with others. Workers usually get along well with each other, do things to help other people, and are rarely pressured to do things that go against their sense of right and wrong.
Work alone and make decisions. Workers are able to try out their own ideas, make decisions on their own, and work with little or no supervision.
Supportive management that stands behind employees. Workers are treated fairly by their company, they are supported by management, and have supervisors who train them well.
Job security and good working conditions. There is usually a steady flow of interesting work, and the pay and conditions are generally good.
Advancement and the potential to lead. Workers are recognised for the work that they do, they may give directions and instructions to others, and they are looked up to in their company and their community.
Use electronic mail.
Have freedom to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals.
92%Indoors, heat controlled
Work indoors with access to heating or cooling.
92%Freedom to make decisions
Have freedom to make decision on your own.
Talk on the telephone.
Talk with people face-to-face.
89%Being exact or accurate
Be very exact or highly accurate.
81%Contact with people
Have contact with people by telephone, face-to-face, or any other way.
74%Using your hands to handle, control, or feel
Spend time using your hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools or controls.
73%Letters and memos
Write letters and memos.
70%Impact of decisions
Make decisions that have a large impact on other people.
Work with people in a group or team.
68%Spend time sitting
Spend time sitting at work.
68%Contact with the public
Work with customers or the public.
Work to strict deadlines.
66%Frequent decision making
Frequently make decisions that impact other people.
64%Exposure to contaminants
Be exposed to pollutants, gases, dust or odours.
Compete with others, or be aware of competitive pressures.
60%Loud or uncomfortable sounds
Be exposed to noises and sounds that are distracting or uncomfortable.
60%Physically close to people
Work physically close to other people.
O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 25-4013.00 - Museum Technicians and Conservators.
Links and downloads
Research and reports
The Skills Priority List provides a current labour market rating and a future demand rating for nearly 800 occupations nationally. Current labour market ratings are available for occupations at a state and territory level.
Occupation profiles data are available for download.
The Employment Projections are available for download.