What Are Some Popular Careers that Deal with Natural Resources?

Popular careers in natural resources generally involve the protection and management of environmental resources from a local to global level. Popular careers that deal with natural resources include soil conservationists, foresters and engineers. Read on to learn more. Schools offering Environmental & Social Sustainability degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Natural Resources Careers

There are many potential careers available that deal with natural resources, whether a job involves being in the field, directly dealing with animals or plants, or working in an office, dealing with natural resources from afar. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), many jobs that work with natural resources require a bachelor's degree, though some offer on-the-job training. The BLS also reports that, for 2012 to 2022, job positions for most jobs related to natural resources are expected to grow slower than the national average.

Important Facts About Careers in Natural Resources

Entry-level Education Most require a bachelor's degree and some require a master's degree
Professional Certification Society of American Foresters, National Recreation and Park Association, American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists
Key Skills Critical thinking, management, writing, analytical, observation, physical stamina, outdoor skills
Work Environment Office setting, laboratories, outdoors, parks, remote locations

Popular Careers

The following are a selection of popular careers that deal with natural resources. These are just a small selection of the careers available, and some general positions, such as science writer or lawyer, can specialize in the area of natural resources as well.

  • Soil conservationists work with people who use the land, such as farmers or foresters, to help with conservation planning and protection of the water supply, wetlands and wildlife habitats. According to the BLS, job opportunities for all conversation scientists, including soil conservationists, are expected to increase by 1% between 2012 and 2022, with job opportunities being best for those people who understand geographic information systems (GIS).
  • Biologists work with the public and private sector to help manage wildlife populations and the restoration and building of habitats and waterways. The BLS predicts that positions for zoologists and wildlife biologists will increase by 5% between 2012 and 2022.
  • Foresters can work for businesses, conservation groups or government agencies. They may be involved in the study of forest ecology, diseases affecting trees, insects, tree physiology, microclimatology, geology or soil science. The BLS predicts positions for foresters will increase by 6% between 2012 and 2022. Most foresters have a degree in forestry from a Society of American Foresters (SAF) accredited program.
  • Parks and recreation coordinators can work anywhere from state parks to small parks in the city. They work to encourage people to get involved with the outdoors and enjoy nature. The BLS predicts that opportunities for all recreation workers, including those who work at parks, will increase by 14% between 2012 and 2022.
  • Environmental technologists are involved in developing clean energy and reducing and preventing pollution. They also work towards sustainable development. According to the BLS, positions for environmental science and protection technicians will increase by 19% between 2012 and 2022, faster than the national average.
  • Fish and wildlife managers use their backgrounds in biology and ecology to help sustain populations of fish and wildlife. O*NET Online (www.onetonline.org) reports that positions for fish and game wardens are expected to stay steady between 2012 and 2022, with no real growth or decrease.
  • Environmental engineers can use their skills to control erosion, manage waterways or design buildings, along with working on natural resource issues and natural disaster recovery. The BLS predicts that positions for environmental engineers are expected to grow by 15% between 2012 and 2022. Much of this growth comes from local and state governments' concern about water.

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