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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Conservationism

Majors Overview April 1, 2015

Get information about bachelor’s degree programs in conservationism and their coursework, career choices, job and wage outlook, and certification and continuing education choices.

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Conservationism

Coursework in a bachelor’s degree program in conservationism covers the theory and practice related to the maintenance of ecosystems and the natural resources of the environment. Students learn about the effect of human activities on the earth and ways of lessening negative impacts.

Many universities and colleges offer these programs, although some may pertain to closely-related subjects, such as environmental and natural resources or environmental science. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma.


Coursework for a conservationism program includes subject areas such as communication, geography, and government. Schools often offer specializations via broader programs, including sustainable management, watershed management, conservation biology, and restoration ecology.

Students can typically acquire hands-on learning through laboratory work, internships, and fieldwork. Core coursework may include topic areas such as the following:

•Wildlife ecology
•Conservation biology
•Wildlife habitat management
•Natural resources and society
•Organic chemistry

Career Choices

Those who complete the program can seek entry-level careers in the private and public sectors, including environmental advocacy groups, environmental management consulting firms, and government natural resource agencies. Jobs may involve fieldwork or work in labs and offices. Novices and independent consultants spend most of their time doing fieldwork (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). They may choose from popular job options, such as:

•Park ranger
•Conservation scientist

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, a slow job growth rate of three percent has been predicted for foresters and conservation scientists (BLS). In May 2012, foresters and conservation scientists brought in an average annual wage of $59,060.

Certification and Continuing Education Choices

Some bachelor’s degree program graduates may opt for continuing education by enrolling in graduate degree programs in conservationism. The master’s degree program imparts education in advanced topic areas in the field and involves participation in research.

A master’s program typically requires a research-based program or thesis. Students pursuing doctorate programs engage in original research while working closely with faculty. They usually conclude their studies with a written dissertation based on the research.

Conservation professionals can enhance their career prospects by volunteering for professional certification, such as the Associate Wildlife Biologist or the Certified Wildlife Biologist certification offered by the Wildlife Society; adequate experience and approved education can help these professionals qualify for the certified credentials.

All wildlife professionals may also aspire for a Professional Developmental Certificate offered by the same organization. Professionals with sufficient professional experience and an approved bachelor’s degree can seek the Certified Forester credential offered by the Society of American Foresters.

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