Wildlife Manager: Career and Salary Facts
Wildlife managers may focus on a particular species or a certain type of environment. They usually work for conservation organizations or government agencies. Read about education options, typical job duties and earnings for various positions within wildlife management.
What Is a Wildlife Manager?
Wildlife managers focus on the management of various kinds of species in a given ecosystem. Management of these species may include risk management, data tracking and care. These professionals have a general knowledge of the species they manage, including their lifecycles and movement patterns. They also tend to have an understanding of variety of science fields, including ecology, hydrology and husbandry. Wildlife managers must also be able to communicate any findings of their research with the public, other scientists and policymakers through detailed reports or presentations.
What Kind of Jobs Can I Find as a Wildlife Manager?
Wildlife management is a broad field covering any type of job that balances environmental concerns with human needs. If you are interested in wildlife management, you might consider seeking a career as a conservation scientist, parks manager, wildlife biologist, forester or gamekeeper.
As a wildlife manager, you can choose to specialize in one or more locations, such as forests or wetlands. You could also focus on preserving and protecting environments for local animal or plant species. As a wildlife management professional, you'll typically find work with independent conservation organizations or local, state or federal government agencies. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), as of 2018, 74% of all conservation scientists work for the government; others found employment with social advocacy organizations, and professional, scientific, and technical services (www.bls.gov).
What Education Will I Need?
If you are interested in pursuing a career in wildlife management, you have a number of undergraduate degree programs from which to choose. Bachelor's programs in environmental sciences, natural resource management, conservation, biology or forestry all prepare you for different disciplines within a wildlife management career. Many programs allow you to concentrate your studies on a specific aspect of the field, such as fisheries or forestry.
Master's and doctoral programs in wildlife management and conservation might be ideal if you're interested in becoming a conservation scientist or researcher. Graduate degrees also qualify you for teaching positions at elementary, secondary and postsecondary levels.
What Are Standard Job Duties?
If you choose to work as a wildlife manager for a state or local government agency, you'll primarily be engaged in managing local parks, forests and fishing areas. You may be responsible for enforcing the rules and regulations in the area to make sure that visitors do not endanger local wildlife. You'll also oversee the maintenance and staffing of local parks, as well as fishing and hunting areas.
What Salary Could I Make?
Your earnings depend on your particular occupation or employer. In 2018, the BLS reported that wildlife biologists and zoologists made a median annual salary of $63,420 and conservation scientists took home $61,310 per year. In November 2019, PayScale.com indicated that wildlife managers could earn approximately $33,000-$86,000 per year, the Wildlife Conservation Society paid its budget managers in the range of $47,000 to almost $102,000, and wildlife biologists employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took home between $34,000 and almost $97,000 per year.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
Some careers that are similar to wildlife managers include forest and conservation workers, zoologists and wildlife biologists. Forest and conservation workers only require a high school diploma or equivalent. These individuals help improve the quality and overall health of forests, as well as protect the natural resources. Zoologists and wildlife biologists need at least a bachelor's degree, but often obtain a graduate degree as well. These professionals study animals' interactions within their ecosystems and how society impacts these animals and their environment.