Natural resource management bachelor's programs focus on the responsible use of Earth's natural resources and may appeal to those seeking careers in wildlife management, conservation and/or national park administration. Programs are four years in length, and give students the opportunity to specialize in areas such as wildlife biology, conservation science, fisheries biology, and ranch conservation.
Bachelor of Science in Natural Resource Management
Many of these programs include lab-based courses, classroom lectures and hands-on training in the field. Specific classes may vary from program to program, but most natural resource management programs draw primarily from the biological and agricultural sciences, as well as ecology and environmental science. Courses may include:
- Natural resources ecology
- Forest ecology
- Animal sciences
- Forest biometrics
Popular Career Options
Commonly employed by government agencies from the local to federal level, professionals in this field can work in both the conservation and management of natural resources. Professionals may carry out multiple duties, from planning conservation and management efforts to directly overseeing those plans as they're carried out. Specialization options in the field are available in a variety of areas, including pest management and soil conservation. Some top titles could include:
- Conservation Scientist
- Land manager
- Water and soil conservationists
- Watershed hydrologists
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of conservation scientists and foresters is projected to increase by 7% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). In May of 2015, the BLS reported that the yearly median salary of conservation scientists was $61,110. Foresters earned median salaries of $58,230 annually the same year.
Continuing Education Information
Usually, a bachelor's degree in a field such as natural resource management is all that is required for a career in conservation or forestry. As of 2011, forester registration, both voluntary and mandatory, depending upon location, was available in 16 states. Licensure typically requires completion of a 4-year degree program along with varying amounts of field experience and sometimes, passing a written exam.
For work in research and academia, professionals typically need a master's or doctoral degree in natural resource management. At this level, programs may be offered in conjunction with related areas including environmental policy, sustainability, geographic information systems and international resources. A thesis or dissertation may be required for graduation from such a program.
A bachelor's degree in natural resource covers a wide range of topics in biology, conservation, and forestry. Students can find work as a conservation scientist or pursue further education.