Those interested in the cultivation, protection, and maintenance of natural resources and wildlife, should look into obtaining an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree in wildlife management. Jobs that are included are natural resource conservationist or technician.
A.A. Programs in Wildlife Management
Students interested in entry-level occupations relating to the outdoors and who want to help preserve wildlife habitats and natural areas will be well served by earning an associate’s degree in wildlife management. Some schools with forestry technology combine wildlife management programs; alternatively, these schools may degree programs in fish and wildlife management. Students are expected to participate in research and hands-on study into ecology, botany and biology, even as they learn about enhancing and preserving natural resources and wildlife. The program prepares graduates for entry-level occupations as technicians or assistants for private organizations, natural resource consulting firms, and federal and state land management agencies.
Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. There are usually no other educational prerequisites; however, before they enroll for the program, high school students can prepare by completing classes in math, earth science and biology.
Coursework typically includes general education classes in humanities, math and composition, in addition to focused studies in natural resources and wildlife management. Coursework may include topic areas such as:
•Techniques in wildlife management
•Fundamentals of fish culture and hatchery methods
•Law and ethics in wildlife management
•Topics in general biology
•Basic field skills
•Protecting the forests
Job and Wage Outlook
Graduates of the program can seek entry-level careers as park and wildlife aides and natural resource technicians, among other career positions. Technicians help environmental scientists to set up for fieldwork or research and then assist in tracking results. A negative job growth rate of 4% has been projected for forest and conservation technicians during the decade from 2012 to 2022 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, these professionals took home an average annual wage of $33,920.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Students are allowed to transfer some credits from a wildlife management associate’s degree program for enrolling into a bachelor’s degree program in the field. Many universities and colleges offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programs that can help graduates obtain occupations in the fields of professional research and management positions in wildlife management. There are professional organizations that offer opportunities for continued education through workshops and courses along with professional certification. For instance, the Wildlife Society, including a credential for wildlife technicians, offers several certification programs. To qualify for certification, a technician must subscribe to a code of ethics, and should have completed specific courses, and gained three years of experience.