Bachelor's Programs in Environmental Protection and Conservation

With a bachelor's degree in environmental protection and conservation, you can work to maintain and rehabilitate natural resources and wildlife habitats. Read on to learn about degree options, common classes, online learning options and career prospects in this field. Schools offering Environmental & Social Sustainability degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

How Can I Earn a Bachelor's in Environmental Protection and Conservation?

Bachelor's degree programs in environmental science, environmental protection, natural resources and conservation are available from many public and private universities throughout the U.S. You can even enroll in one of the rare online degree programs. Some schools look for high school graduates who have taken at least three years of science and four years of mathematics classes. Typically, a bachelor's degree takes about four years to complete.

Common Courses Biology, ecology, chemistry, soils, water conservation
Online Degrees Bachelor's degrees available online
Other Requirements In-person internship, research project
Career Options Wildlife biologist, forester, water conservationist, ecologist
Median Salary (2018)$61,340 (Conservation Scientists and Foresters)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)6% growth (Conservation Scientists and Foresters)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Courses Will I Take?

Biology, ecology, physical science and chemistry make up a large portion of an environmental protection curriculum. These classes help you understand the underlying processes of the natural world, including wildlife habitats and ecosystems. You'll also learn how to observe, measure, document and perform tests in accordance with the scientific method. You'll spend time in the field, practicing research and learning about sample collecting methods.

Other classes teach you about specific aspects of the environment. You might take courses that cover the atmosphere, hydrosphere or biosphere. Courses in soils and plants are common, and some programs include location-specific ecology classes that might cover rainforests, deserts or specific areas, like the Pacific Northwest. Some programs allow students to choose a concentration in such areas as wildlife, water conservation, forestry, urban ecology or fisheries.

Can I Take Online Courses?

You can find some online environmental protection, environmental science and conservation bachelor's degree programs online, though you probably won't be able to complete the degree without some classroom time. Some options are offered by public schools, but most programs you'll come across will be at for-profit private institutions.

Typically, an online environmental protection bachelor's degree program will require you to take in-person lab and fieldwork courses through a school near your home. Additionally, some programs require you to participate in research projects or internships that will take you into real-world situations. These projects and internships can often be through schools, conservation agencies or government organizations.

What Careers Are Available?

With a bachelor's degree in environmental protection or conservation, you could gain employment in the conservation field as a wildlife biologist, forester, water conservationist or ecologist. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, federal, state and local governments employ many people in this field (

To advance in the environmental protection and conservation field, you can earn master's and doctoral degrees that can qualify you for leadership and teaching positions. Additionally, some environmental groups, such as The Wildlife Society, American Fisheries Society and the International Society of Arboriculture, offer credentials and certifications for qualified candidates. Specific requirements vary from organization to organization, but they often include a strong record of academic achievement and verifiable work experience.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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