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Degree Overview: Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Natural Resources Management

Majors Overview April 2, 2015

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

Bachelor’s Degree Programs in Natural Resources Management

The primary focus of natural resources management programs is on the balance between the demands of humanity and conservation of the environment. The curriculum combines field learning, lab experiences, and classroom lectures that cover the application of the principles of ecology to specific situations that affect environmental resources. Students can often tailor coursework to suit their interests, with concentrations in water resources, range management, wildlife or fisheries, wetlands, and forestry available.

Schools commonly offer natural resources management programs. Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a GED certificate or a high school diploma, in addition to submitting scores from college entrance exams.

Coursework

Broad areas of social and natural sciences are typically covered in natural resources management programs. During the first two years of the program, students complete general education courses followed by core courses. Schools may also require completion of an internship. Core coursework may include topic areas such as:

•Ecology
•Wildlife law
•Range management
•Wildlife anatomy and physiology
•Natural resources conservation
•Wildlife management

Career Choices

Those who complete a bachelor’s degree program in natural resources management may seek employment in various environmental- and conservation-based careers. They may seek entry-level careers such as the following:

•Laboratory animal technician
•Fish and wildlife biologist
•Information management specialist
•Environmental technician
•Park ranger

These professionals can seek work involving the study of animal population growth and the way it impacts the environment, but budgetary resources at the federal, state, and local levels may determine employment.

Job and Wage Outlook

Over the 2012 – 2022 decade, job growth rates of five percent have been predicted for zoologists and wildlife biologists (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). In May 2012, zoologists and wildlife biologists brought home an average annual wage of $57,710 (BLS).

Certification and Continuing Education Choices

Those who complete a bachelor’s degree program may seek entry-level careers or pursue continuing education by earning an advanced degree. Schools offer master’s and doctoral degree programs to facilitate advanced problem-solving training in the fields of social systems, economics, and ecology. They offer some graduate programs in online formats.

Bachelor’s degree program graduates enjoy several certification options, such as the credentials offered by the Society of American Foresters (SAF). Passage of the exam and five years of work experience will qualify interested candidates for certification.

The Society for Range Management offers certification for rangeland management consultants and rangeland management. Passage of the exam and six years of work experience are needed along with a bachelor’s degree, in order to qualify for the credential.

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