What Degrees Are Available in Conservation?
Conservation degree programs can prepare you for jobs ranging from field technician and wildlife biologist to restoration ecologist and college professor. If protecting natural resources is important to you, read on for information regarding conservation degree options.
Scientists, policymakers and law enforcement officials who work in the field of conservation find ways for landowners, farmers and governments to safely utilize the land without harming the environment. They may also work to restore ecosystems or wildlife habitats that have been damaged due to overuse or over development. Common names for conservation degree programs can include conservation science, natural resources conservation or environmental conservation.
Important Facts About Conservation Degrees
|Prerequisites||Minimum GPA requirements for all levels, high school diploma or GED for associate's and bachelor's programs, work experience and a degree in the related field for graduate programs, letters of recommendation for graduate programs|
|Continuing Education||Courses and training are available through the USDA, the Soil and Water Conservation Society and other professional organizations|
|Concentrations||Watershed management, fish and wildlife management and ecology, conservation law enforcement, forest conservation, watershed management, environmental policy and range management|
|Online Availability||There are conservation degree programs available online at the associate's, bachelor's and graduate levels|
|Median Salary (2018)||$61,340 (for conservation scientists and foresters)*|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)||6% (for conservation scientists and foresters)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Associate's Degree Options
Natural or environmental resource conservation associate's degree programs teach students how to protect water sources, monitor wildlife populations or conserve game species. Program coursework often includes topics in conservation policy, ecology and environmental science.
Fieldwork and internships may also be required parts of the curriculum, allowing students to work with professionals and practice using conservation technology, such as GIS and environmental quality testing probes, in real-world conservation situations. Completing an associate's degree program in conservation may qualify you to become a conservation worker, park ranger, conservation officer or field technician.
Bachelor's Degree Options
Natural resource conservation bachelor's degree programs commonly include coursework in geology, hydrology, biodiversity, genetics, wildlife ecology and animal behavior. Outdoor field study components and research are also typically part of a conservation bachelor's degree program. Earning a bachelor's degree in one of these areas may qualify you for an entry-level job as a plant ecologist, environmental educator, wildlife biologist, park ranger or outdoor recreation specialist.
Graduate Degree Options
Conservation-related master's and doctoral degree programs are most commonly available as conservation biology or ecology programs. Some schools also offer degrees in specialty areas, such as wetlands conservation or fisheries and wildlife conservation. Graduate programs typically emphasize research and conservation management techniques, preparing students to become leaders in conservation. While a master's degree program may prepare you to work as a biologist, consultant, land use planner or restoration ecologist, a doctoral degree program is for those interested in advanced research or university teaching positions.