Natural Resource Management

2022 Natural Resource Management Degree Guide

Are you concerned with the way humans currently interact with nature? Do you worry we are running out of natural resources? Would you like to create policies to help with conservation?

A degree in natural resource management will give you the ability to develop policies that will help preserve nature while catering to peoples' needs. Classes will cover topics such as how people interact with natural resources, how resources can be protected and preserved, and how to regulate natural habitats. Some specific courses include biology, environmental science, economics, law and policy, and communications.

Specialty areas within the major include Natural Resources Management and Policy, Natural Resource Economics, Water, Wetlands, and Marine Resources Management, Land Use Planning and Management/Development, Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism, and Natural Resources Law Enforcement and Protective Services.

Natural Resource Management Degrees Growing in Popularity

#176 Most Popular Major
2.5k Degrees Awarded
2.0% Increase in Graduates

In 2019-2020, natural resource management was the 176th most popular major nationwide with 2,509 degrees awarded. This represents a 2.0% increase in resource management degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 2,459.

There are 153 schools offering degrees in natural resource management in the United States. Our 2022 Best Natural Resource Management Schools ranking analyzes 80 of these schools to determine the best overall colleges for natural resource management students. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of resource management programs later in this article.

Requirements for Getting a Degree in Natural Resource Management

If you are passionate about the environment and enjoy working with others, this could be an excellent major for you. With a degree in Natural Resource Management, you will have the ability to plan, develop, and manage policies that will affect the way resources are used and interacted with. This degree prepares you for a career where you will be able to creatively develop original solutions to problems pertaining to natural resources.

A career in Natural Resource Management requires people to be personable and effective communicators. Natural resource managers work with policy makers and other conservationists to develop solutions to natural resource issues. This requires the ability to work with others and persuade others to support your cause. Natural resource managers must also carefully analyze data and make sound decisions on how to better manage the environment and its resources.

It is recommended that anyone interest in this major get hands-on experience through an internship or a summer job. A government agency like the National Park Service allows students to work closely with conservationists and policy makers to learn about resource management.

Prior Education for a Resource Management Program

natural resource management 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 resource management careers may require a certain level of degree attainment or additional certifications beyond that.

Natural Resource Management Degree Types

Resource Management degree levels vary. You can get anything from a in natural resource management to the highest resource management degree, a . Natural Resource Management programs can take anywhere between one to four or more years for a full-time student to complete.

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 resource management, with approximately 44.6% of workers getting one. Find out other typical degree levels for resource management workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 35.8%
High School Diploma 18.0%
Some College Courses 11.4%
Post-Secondary Certificate 9.6%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 9.5%

57.5% of resource management workers have at least a bachelor's. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in natural resource management have obtained.


The education level required is different depending on the resource management career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for Resource Management Majors

Above Average Number of Jobs
$36.2k Average Starting Salary
8% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Graduates with a degree in Natural Resource Management often hold management positions in public, private, and nonprofit sectors of agencies, government, corporations, consulting firms, and community-based organizations based in conservation and natural resources.

Growth Projected for Resource Management Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your resource management degree? Natural Resource Management careers are expected to grow 7.5% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to natural resource management.

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 Resource Management Grads Make?

Natural Resource Management graduates between 2015-2017 reported earning an average of $36,179 in the 2017-2018 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $20,100 to as high as $62,800. As you might expect, salaries for resource management graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for Resource Management Majors

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

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Managers $115,590
Police and Detective Supervisors $93,100
Forestry & Conservation Science Professors $92,550
Fire Fighting Supervisors $80,310
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers $65,400

Getting Your Natural Resource Management Degree

With over 241 different resource management 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 resource management school rankings to help you with this.

Natural Resource Management is one of 5 different types of Natural Resources & Conservation programs to choose from.

Resource Management Concentrations

Major Annual Graduates
Environmental/Natural Resources Management and Policy 1,426
Environmental/Natural Resources Management & Policy, Other 313
Water, Wetlands, & Marine Resources Management 265
Environmental/Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism 151
Environmental/Natural Resources Law Enforcement and Protective Services 141

View All Resource Management Focus Areas >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Natural Resources Conservation 21,317
Wildlife Management 2,030
Forestry 2,005
Fisheries Sciences 417
Natural Resources Conservation (Other) 118

View All Resource Management Related Majors >


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