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2021 Natural Resources & Conservation Degree Guide

Natural resources and conservation are hot topics in our society. Many are concerned about the world's quickly depleting resources, whether it is oil, forests or endangered species. If you are passionate about this topic and believe you would like to help make a difference, a major in Natural Resource Conservation is just the beginning.

There are many different majors within the Natural Resources and Conservation field of study. A Natural Resources Management degree will provide the skills to manage how resources are used while majoring in Natural Resource Conservation will teach you how to productively and responsibly use the Earth's resources. If you prefer to work with animals, you can learn about habitat management with a major in Wildlife Management or specialize with a major in Fisheries Sciences. If you believe Natural Resources and Conservation is the field of study for you, any one of these majors will allow you to work in the field you are passionate about.

A Spike in Natural Resources & Conservation Degrees

#26 Most Popular Major
28k Degrees Awarded
3.9% Increase in Graduates

In 2018-2019, natural resources and conservation was the 26th most popular major nationwide with 28,018 degrees awarded. This represents a 3.9% increase in natural resources and conservation degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 26,936.

Approximately 940 colleges in the U.S. offer a natural resources and conservation degree of some kind. Our 2021 Best Colleges for Natural Resources & Conservation ranking analyzes 190 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for natural resources and conservation students. Explore this or one of our many other custom natural resources and conservation rankings further below.

Requirements for Getting a Degree in Natural Resources & Conservation

Most of the majors within Natural Resources and Conservation are based heavily in sciences making a background in sciences very beneficial. Other essential skills are critical thinking and problem solving. Careers in this field require professionals to analyze different problems related to natural resources or habitats and create solutions. A love for the outdoors and a desire to save habitats is vital for anyone in this field.

Natural Resources & Conservation Degree Program Entry Requirements

natural resources and conservation degree applicants generally need have finished high school or their GED. Many schools may also have GPA and SAT/ACT score minimums that must be met. Specific natural resources and conservation careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Natural Resources & Conservation Degree Types

There are many different natural resources and conservation degree levels. You can spend many years getting as high as a in natural resources and conservation to something that takes less time like a . The type of natural resources and conservation degree you choose will determine how long it takes to get your diploma.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to natural resources and conservation, with approximately 37.1% of workers getting one. Find out other typical degree levels for natural resources and conservation workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 31.9%
High School Diploma 15.3%
Master’s Degree 12.8%
Doctoral Degree 8.4%
Some College Courses 7.5%

About 62.6% of workers in careers related to natural resources and conservation obtain at least bachelor's degrees. See the chart below for the most common degree level workers in natural resources and conservation have received.


This of course varies depending on which natural resources and conservation career you choose.

Career Opportunities for Natural Resources & Conservation Majors

Above Average Number of Jobs
$33.2k Average Starting Salary
7% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Depending on your major, there are many possibilities for a career in natural resource conservation. Graduates often work for state or federal government agencies focusing on resource or wildlife conservation. Graduates also have the option to work in labs or perform fieldwork. Depending on your level of education, you may be able to perform your own independent research and publish findings. No matter what type of career you want, there are many opportunities available. Your possibilities are endless.

Growth Projected for Natural Resources & Conservation Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your natural resources and conservation degree? Natural Resources & Conservation careers are expected to grow 7.4% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to natural resources and conservation.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Managers 1,071,700 8.0%
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers 731,900 7.0%
Firefighters 350,900 7.2%
Lifeguards, Ski Patrol, and Recreational Protective Service Workers 163,700 7.6%
Police and Detective Supervisors 111,600 6.6%

How Much Money Do Natural Resources & Conservation Grads Make?

Natural Resources & Conservation graduates between 2015-2017 reported earning an average of $33,196 in the 2017-2018 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $17,000 to as high as $68,600. As you might expect, salaries for natural resources and conservation graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid Natural Resources & Conservation Careers

Salaries for natural resources and conservation graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top 5 highest paying careers natural resources and conservation grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Managers $115,590
Police and Detective Supervisors $93,100
Forestry & Conservation Science Professors $92,550
Environmental Science Professors $91,330
Fire Fighting Supervisors $80,310

Getting Your Natural Resources & Conservation Degree

With over 2,557 different natural resources and conservation degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased natural resources and conservation school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Natural Resources & Conservation

Natural Resources & Conservation Majors to Study

Major Annual Graduates
Natural Resources Conservation 20,652
Natural Resource Management 2,459
Wildlife Management 2,179
Forestry 2,042
Fisheries Sciences 555

View All Natural Resources & Conservation Related Majors >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Engineering 196,678
Computer & Information Sciences 173,112
Biological & Biomedical Sciences 160,242
Physical Sciences 53,214
Engineering Technologies 52,780

View All Natural Resources & Conservation Related Majors >


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