Natural Resources Manager: Career and Salary Facts

Research what it takes to become a natural resources manager. Learn about salary, job outlook, job duties and educational requirements to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Environmental & Social Sustainability degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Natural Resources Manager?

Natural resources managers apply conservation and environmental management principles to the use of land, water, and wildlife resources. They may do scientific studies as well as administrative work. Their scientific work may include collecting environmental samples to test for pollution, monitoring plant or animal populations and more. Administrative duties outside of office work and paperwork may include overseeing conservation activities, ensuring compliance with government regulations and laws and working with the government and landowners to develop plans for land use.

These professionals may work for different branches of the government or private organizations. The following chart provides an overview of how to enter this profession.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Natural resources management, conservation science, forestry
Key Responsibilities Protection of wildlife & the environment; wildlife population studies; employee management; coordination among agencies; public education programs
Job Growth (2014-2024) 7% for all conservation scientists*
Average Salary (2015) $63,800 for all conservation scientists*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How Much Can I Earn as a Natural Resources Manager?

In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that conservation scientists, including natural resource managers, earned an average annual wage of $63,800 ( The top-paying industry was scientific research and development, with an average wage of $84,970. Most conservation scientists were employed by federal, state and local governments in that year.

What Job Duties Might I Have?

As a natural resources manager, your duties will be varied. Protecting wildlife and ensuring the safety of the natural environment are important components. You might study the populations of various animals, fish and birds and maintain wildlife records. You may also be responsible for ensuring that hunting and fishing regulations are being followed.

You may also be responsible for hiring, managing and supervising staff. You'll schedule work duties and assign projects to employees according to daily, weekly and monthly needs. When work is completed, you'll verify it was done correctly and review the quality to evaluate how well employees are doing. You'll also be in charge of providing training or education if you see the need for it. Maintaining safe work environments, providing safety equipment and ensuring employees know exactly what is to be done for every assignment are all part of the job requirements.

In addition to employee management, you'll create reports, manage correspondence with your department and other departments or agencies, coordinate your work with other departments or agencies, request supplies and equipment, create procedures and policies, manage the budget and maintain personnel records. You might also be in charge of creating programs to manage resources, educate the public and provide recreation.

How Do I Prepare for this Career?

You will want to complete a bachelor's degree program in natural resources management, environmental science, conservation biology or forestry. If your program is in forest and conservation technology, look for one accredited by the Society of American Foresters; such programs are available in all states. Experience working in a park system or other natural resources setting, as well as an understanding of management procedures and policies, could be beneficial.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Several alternative careers that require a bachelor's degree include zoologists and wildlife biologists and agricultural and food scientists. Zoologists and wildlife biologists may also be involved in conservation efforts, but they typically focus on studying animals and wildlife. They may examine things like animal behavior, species interactions and more to learn more about particular animals and their habitats. Agricultural and food scientists aim to improve agricultural products. They may study the production process to see if there are ways to increase efficiency or other factors.

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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