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2023 Natural Resources Conservation Degree Guide

The depletion of natural resources is a hot topic that is frequently discussed. If you have a passion for the environment and would like to conserve resources for future generations, consider a degree in Natural Resource Conservation.

Classes in Natural Resources Conservation include ecology, biology, and forest resource measurement and will focus on topics, such as climate, air, soil, water, land, fish and wildlife, and plant resources. Business and computer science courses are also incorporated into the curriculum to equip you with the skills to review conservation proposals and analyze their possibilities. As a conservationist, you will be able to help humanity conserve coal, oil, and trees and incorporate renewable resources into everyday life.

Under the umbrella of the Natural Resources Conservation major are specialties that include Natural Resources Conservation and Research, Environmental Studies, and Environmental Science.

Natural Resources Conservation Degrees Remain Stable

#49 Most Popular Major
22.3k Degrees Awarded
0.2% Increase in Graduates

Natural Resources Conservation was the 49th most popular major in the 2020-2021 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 22,254 degrees in this year alone. This is approximately the same as the 22,202 graduates the prior year.

This year's Best Natural Resources Conservation Schools ranking compares 269 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Explore this or one of our many other custom conservation rankings further below.

2023 Best Colleges for Natural Resources Conservation
2023 Overall Best Natural Resources Conservation Colleges >

Best Natural Resources Conservation Schools by Degree

Associate Degrees in Natural Resources Conservation
Bachelor's Degrees in Natural Resources Conservation
Master's Degrees in Natural Resources Conservation
Doctorate Degrees in Natural Resources Conservation

What Are The Requirements For a Degree in Natural Resources Conservation

Natural resource conservationists work to ensure that humanity will not deplete all of the world's resources. They are able to estimate how projects will affect the environment and how to protect what resources still remain. This type of job requires strong analytical, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills. Conservationists must be able to make sound decisions when determining what steps should be taken to conserve resources. They also work closely with other scientists, foresters, and conservation workers making strong communication skills a necessary trait.

Work hours and conditions vary depending on the location and type of work conservationists are performing. Some conservation scientists work outdoors in all types of weather, occasionally in remote areas. This may require walking long distances through dense woods and underbrush to reach a certain location. Some work may also be physically strenuous.

Internships and summer jobs in parks or with conservationists are valuable when pursuing a career in Natural Resource Conservation. These provide you with experience within the field before beginning your own career. Employers prefer graduates with a degree from a program that is accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF).

Conservation Degree Program Entry Requirements

New students will need to have completed high school or a GED program and each school will have their own minimum GPA and SAT/ACT test requirements. Once you obtain your degree, additional conservation certifications required to pursue a career in this field.

Types of Natural Resources Conservation Degrees

There are many different conservation degree levels. You can get anything from a in natural resources conservation to the highest conservation degree, a . How long it takes to complete some common conservation degree levels is shown below.

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 conservation, with approximately 43.9% of workers getting one. Find out other typical degree levels for conservation workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 37.9%
Master’s Degree 23.9%
Doctoral Degree 20.4%
Post-Doctoral Training 10.1%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 2.1%

94.0% of conservation workers have at least a bachelor's. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in natural resources conservation have obtained.


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

Career Opportunities for Conservation Majors

Average Number of Jobs
$36k Average Starting Salary
10% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

A career in Natural Resources Conservation can take you all over the world. Conservationists hold jobs in offices, labs, outdoors, and doing fieldwork in remote locations. Although it's not necessary, some conservationists decide to continue their education to receive either their master's degree or Ph.D.

Solid Growth Projected for Conservation Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your conservation degree? Natural Resources Conservation careers are expected to grow 9.5% between 2016 and 2026.

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

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Environmental Scientists and Specialists 99,400 11.1%
Conservation Scientists 23,700 6.3%
Foresters 12,900 4.9%
Environmental Science Professors 7,600 10.1%
Forestry & Conservation Science Professors 2,300 4.5%

Conservation Degree Salary Potential

Recently graduated natural resources conservation students earned an average of $35,960 in 2019-2020. Earnings can range from as low as $14,764 to as high as $71,774. As you might expect, salaries for conservation graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid Conservation Careers

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

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Forestry & Conservation Science Professors $92,550
Environmental Science Professors $91,330
Environmental Scientists and Specialists $77,580
Conservation Scientists $65,320
Foresters $63,150

Getting Your Natural Resources Conservation Degree

With over 2,116 different 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 conservation school rankings to help you with this.

One of 5 majors within the Natural Resources & Conservation area of study, Natural Resources Conservation has other similar majors worth exploring.

Conservation Concentrations

Major Annual Graduates
Environmental Studies 9,899
Environmental Science 9,274
Natural Resources/Conservation, General 2,834
Natural Resources Conservation & Research, Other 247

View All Conservation Concentrations >

Related Major Annual Graduates
Natural Resource Management 2,933
Wildlife Management 2,449
Forestry 2,233
Fisheries Sciences 483
Natural Resources Conservation (Other) 151

View All Conservation Related Majors >


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