Wildlife conservation and management officials work to keep populations in balance and prevent a domino effect which would result in the destruction of a particular eco-system. They find work in game reserves, soil and water conservation districts, national and state parks, protected forests and in research positions.
Associate Degree in Wildlife Conservation and Management
Associate degree programs introduce students to the basics of wildlife management in preparation for entry-level positions preserving the environment. Students interested in this field should note that undergraduate programs require a high school diploma or the GED equivalent prior to admission. Associate degree programs teach students about a variety of interconnected ecological disciplines and some of the subjects they usually take are:
- Dendrology (study of wooded plants)
- Regional wildlife
Bachelor's Degree in Wildlife Conservation and Management
Wildlife management is an interdisciplinary field of complementary sciences. Students learn about animals and the conditions in which they thrive at the community, ecosystem, organismal and population levels. Subjects of study include:
- Fishery science
- Forest plants
- Habitat management
- Resource sampling
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Master's Degree in Wildlife Conservation and Management
Conservation and management work at this level involves projecting population fluctuations based on a variety of factors, such as disease, genetics, species' carrying capacity and available resources. A bachelor's degree in wildlife management or a related field is a common prerequisite for master's programs. Enrolled students learn about animal behavior, different ecosystems and interactions between carnivorous mammals and animals lower on the food chain. Coursework includes:
- Animal-plant interactions
- Conservation law
- Disease and wildlife
- Landscape ecology
- Population modeling
Popular Career Options
Graduates from associate degree programs find work in entry-level jobs, such as assistants to park and wildlife officials. With further training, students find higher-level work in natural resource management.
Graduates from bachelor degree programs can find jobs at game reserves, private research groups or government employers such as natural resources agencies, parks and forests. Positions include:
- Conservation officer
- Field researcher
- Fishery biologist
- Park naturalist
- Wildlife education specialist
Salary and Career Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimated that zoologists and wildlife biologists will have 4% job growth for the years 2014 through 2024. This growth is considered slower than the national average. In May 2015, the BLS reported that wildlife biologists and zoologists earned $64,230 as a mean annual wage.
Students have the option to earn undergraduate or graduate level degrees in wildlife conservation and management if they are interested in the various careers available in this field. Graduates usually have extensive exposure in science courses and gain practical training essential for employment.