For students wishing to pursue a career in wildlife and conservation management, associate and bachelor's degree programs are more common than a diploma program, though some diploma programs do exist. Through lectures, labs and outdoor field experiences, diploma students learn about ecology conservation, population control and plant classification, among other topics. Applicants to these programs need a high school diploma or GED, and they may need to meet minimum GPA requirements.
Associate and bachelor's programs typically include more general education coursework than diploma programs. Some colleges may also offer concentrations in fisheries management, forestry or recreational management. Since requirements vary from state to state, individuals interested in jobs with a state wildlife agency may only need a 2-year associate degree. However, some state and federal agencies may require a 4-year bachelor's degree.
Wildlife and Conservation Management Diploma
At this level, wildlife management programs often result in a Fish and Wildlife Management Diploma. These programs typically take 2-3 semesters to complete and prepare students for entry-level careers as wildlife technicians. The coursework in wildlife and conservation management diploma programs teaches students how to conserve and manage the plants, animals, water and land found in wilderness areas, wildlife reservations and other outdoor recreation environments. Specific course topics may include:
- Wildlife management techniques
- Fish pond management
- Habitat manipulation
Associate Degrees in Wildlife and Conservation Management
Associate degree programs with emphasis in wildlife and conservation management are available as an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science degree. Students gain field expertise, knowledge of plants and wildlife and study environmental theories. Through conservation and wildlife management degree programs, students gain knowledge about the needs of wildlife and how to preserve natural resources. They also receive training in identifying fish, plants and various types of wildlife. Typical coursework includes:
- Algebra, calculus or trigonometry
- Composition of the English language
- Mammal ecology
- Natural science
Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Conservation and Management
Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Conservation and Management degree programs are designed to guide students in gaining the necessary experience and training for employment with state and federal agencies and non-governmental associations. Students learn about the ecology of wildlife, including the habitats and natural territories of wild animals. Classes also cover the relations between animals and humans. Graduates focus on conserving the varieties of wildlife and cultivating environments for diminishing and rare wildlife. They also control wildlife population, implement rules and regulations and organize other activities. Along with in-room classes, many programs include participating in lab projects and field activities. Classes in the curriculum may include:
- Classification and cataloguing plants
- Environmental and natural science
- Vegetation health and environmental control
- Wildlife population and production
- Wildlife management philosophies
Popular Career Options
Graduates may find job opportunities with federal agencies, national parks, natural resource organizations, private businesses and wildlife parks. Career paths may include some of the following:
- Conservation official
- Forestry expert
- Habitat manager
- Wildlife biologist
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
From 2014-2024, conservation and forest workers are projected to see a 4% increase in employment in the field, stated the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The mean annual wages for conservation and forest technicians were $38,260 as of May 2015.
Bachelor's degree graduates can further their education by enrolling in a Master of Science in Biology degree program. Such programs guide students in studying animal activities, animal composition, marine ecology and wildlife conservation. Graduates may find employment as conservationists, ecologists, educational instructors or industrial supervisors.
Students wishing to study wildlife and conservation management can pursue diplomas, associate degrees and bachelor's degrees in the field to study conservation issues and wildlife management techniques. Graduates can expect positive job growth and work a variety of research or management jobs within parks and wildlife organizations.