How to get training to become a bat surveyor
If you are an ecologist looking to expand your skills and develop a deeper understanding of bat ecology, consultancy and work towards a bat licence, the following sources of training in bat work may be useful.
If you are a trainer and would like your details added here, just get in touch.
Voluntary Bat Work
Sometimes the best things in life are free! Volunteering time with a relevant organisation, like you local wildlife trust or bat group can get you invaluable experience in undertaking a range of bat surveys. Most bat groups are a friendly bunch and welcome new volunteers to support surveys and public information campaigns. If you are joining a bat group to gain experience though, it is essential that you also give back – some groups feel that they have been stung putting in time to train people who, as soon as they are licenced disappear! Assuming that you want to translate skills learnt into commercial work, then you may want to target your time on those activities that are relatable to commercial bat surveys or that would help you gain experience that will count towards a class 1 or class 2 survey licence.
The most commercially relevant surveys are those that involve visiting bat roosts in houses, or doing dusk emergence or dawn return surveys. Bat box checks are a really good opportunity to get hands-on experience with bats and will count towards a class 2 licence. It is actually pretty rare that you get the chance to see bats up close in commercial work, so keeping your hand in with this can also keep you reminded of how fantastic bats are.
The Big Two Bat Trainers
There are two organisations that come first to mind when thinking about getting training for bat surveys – CIEEM (the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management) and BCT (the Bat Conservation Trust). I’ve been on many courses run by both organisations, and they are generally of a high standard.
Courses at CIEEM can be found here
Courses at BCT can be found here.
Bat Licence Training
One well known course (the only course?) that specifically aims to get participants the experience needed to apply for a bat survey licence is the Complete Bat Training programme (formerly known as the Bat Licence Training Course), which is the longest running bat survey licence training programme for professionals, since 2008.
Run by Sandie Sowler and Richard Crompton, this is a really excellent stage on your route to obtaining a licence. Their website is here.