Wildlife management focuses on balancing human needs with preserving and managing animal populations in their natural settings, protecting Earth's biodiversity and controlling pests. Education in wildlife management is available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels. Hands-on and laboratory work is common at all levels of these programs and online courses and programs are available.
Associate of Science in Wildlife Management
Associate of Science (A.S.) programs in wildlife management emphasize the scientific, technological and theoretical skills needed to work with wild animals. Students learn about maintaining and conserving animals' natural habitats, providing basic care to animals and working with plants. Some programs also cover aquatic life management. Programs are typically open to applicants who have a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Classes offered in a wildlife management A.S. program discuss topics in the natural sciences, agriculture and technology. Students often gain practical experience through fieldwork. The topics below are usually covered:
- Animal handling techniques
- Wetlands management
- Wildlife management technology
- Marine ecology
Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Management
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) programs in wildlife management offer interdisciplinary curricula focused on the variety of issues affecting wild animals and their habitats. The programs provide students with hands-on instruction in a variety of scientific and agricultural skills. Students also sit for classroom lectures on topics related to genetics, economics and animal population control.
Applicants need to have strong skills in mathematics and the natural sciences. Programs look for students who've completed courses in biology, chemistry, physics and algebra. The classes in wildlife management B.S. programs emphasize a variety of scientific, agricultural and practical concepts used in ecological preservation and animal population control. Some programs also discuss wetlands and aquatic wildlife as well. Students usually learn about the following topics:
- Wildlife biology
- Endangered species protection
- Land use theory
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Master of Science in Wildlife Management
Master of Science (M.S.) programs in wildlife management discuss the theoretical and research-oriented aspects of ecological science. Students learn about restoring habitats, natural resource preservation and environmental management. Many programs require students to complete a thesis as part of their coursework.
To be admitted to a wildlife management 2-year M.S. program, applicants need a firm understanding of the natural sciences. Incoming students also need to be familiar with research design and statistical analysis methodologies. Some programs require students to hold their bachelor's degree in biology, chemistry or a related field. The classes focus on the preservation, restoration and maintenance of wildlife populations and their habitats. Most programs cover several types of ecosystems, including wetlands, land and sea. Courses in the following topics are usually offered:
- Population dynamics theory
- Environmental law
Popular Career Options
People who enter the workforce after earning an associate's degree qualify for several entry-level positions. They often choose one of the following careers:
- Park ranger
- Conservation assistant
- Wildlife management technician
M.S. graduates qualify for field positions and jobs in policymaking. Many graduates become researchers. Listed below are some common career options:
- Habitat biologist
- Conservation consultant
- Wildlife biologist
Earning a B.S. in wildlife conservation prepares graduates for positions with the government working at local, state and national parks. Some graduates find work in environmental consulting and policy analysis. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, zoologists and wildlife biologists earned a mean annual wage of $64,230 in May 2015. These workers are projected to see a 4% increase in employment opportunities from 2014-2024.
Undergraduate and graduate programs in wildlife management are available to students and will prepare them for careers ranging from park ranger to wildlife biologist. Throughout these programs, students gain information through labs and fieldwork to learn about habitats, animals, and plants.