Online degree programs in wildlife management are not very common and can't be completed totally online. Many courses can be completed through distance learning, but a bachelor's degree program in wildlife management has lab requirements that must be fulfilled on campus. Also, most programs call for at least a 1-year internship in the profession before graduation.
In addition to general education requirements, online courses in one of these bachelor's degree programs may include principles of fish and wildlife conservation, ecosystem ecology, and field sampling. Many programs allow a student to choose a specialty area, such as large mammal ecology or conservation biology.
Bachelor of Wildlife Management
Online bachelor's degree programs in wildlife management train students to analyze, track, and maintain populations of wildlife and their habitat. Students are taught how species of animals and fish interact with each other, their environment, and humans. There is also a strong emphasis on how human behavior affects wildlife and their habitats. Typical online wildlife management programs offer a Bachelor of Science and require students to have a high school diploma or GED. Students are also expected to complete general education requirements in writing, math, and natural science before they are able to begin their major curriculum.
Graduates of online wildlife management bachelor's degree programs can choose to continue their education in online graduate certificate programs. Schools offer these certificates in fisheries management, sustainable natural resources, and other related areas.
Program Details and Common Courses
Although the majority of coursework in an online wildlife management program can be completed at home, most programs require students to undertake at least one year of in-person lab work to finish their degree. Additionally, students may have to complete a professional internship at a consulting firm or government agency that specializes in conservation science. Some of the courses in a general environmental science program often overlap with the required curriculum of wildlife management programs and both degrees may lead to similar professional opportunities.
Courses in an online wildlife management program address issues related to the analysis of mammals, birds, and fish and their habitats. General courses related to environmental science and/or conservation science are also included, such as:
- Fish and Wildlife Conservation - This course teaches students the history of fish and wildlife conservation, its importance in relation to ecology, and how research affects conservation.
- Population Dynamics - Students are taught how to estimate species abundance and discuss extinction risks and harvest levels.
- Resource Ecology - Students learn how human behavior affects ecosystems and the earth's supply of natural resources. The course also discusses how these behaviors can contribute to species endangerment and extinction.
- Wildlife Diseases - This course covers how common diseases found in wildlife affect the ecosystem and conservation. Topics covered include carnivores, migratory birds, and animals with plant-based diets.
Graduates of wildlife management degree programs are qualified for conservation scientist positions in government agencies and private consulting firms. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for conservation scientists are expected to grow by 7% between 2014-2024, and as of June 2015, the annual median salary of conservation scientists was $60,220.
Online wildlife management programs typically offer a Bachelor of Science degree that trains students to analyze, track, and maintain populations of wildlife and their habitats through extensive conservation science coursework, fieldwork, laboratory studies, and internship experience.