Natural Resources Conservation Degree Job Opportunities

Find Career and Employment Opportunities in Natural Resources Conservation

Natural resources conservation degrees are best suited for individuals that want to work in a scientific discipline and are concerned with the environment and the use of resources. Graduates of a program in this field will be prepared to work as a forester, biologist, or soil and water conservationist.

Natural Resources Conservation Degree Programs

Natural resources conservation degrees provide students with an understanding of the interconnectedness of political, social, and ecological systems and how to protect them. This knowledge allows students to design solutions to address natural resource conservation and management problems. Students also learn about natural resource stewardship and how to develop solutions that are sustainable and ethical at global scales. Some courses that students in this field may be asked to complete include:

  • Stream biology and ecology
  • Forest ecology
  • Ecology and management of weeds
  • Woodland ecosystems
  • Economics of forest environment
  • Forest vegetation management
  • Natural resources history and policy

Students that complete a program in this field may be prepared to work as a biologist, soil and water conservationist, or forester.

Biologist Job Opportunities for Natural Resource Conservation Degree Graduates

Biologists research or study basic principles of animal and plant life. They collect and analyze biological data about relationships and supervise biological technicians and technologists. They may program and use computers to store, process, and analyze data, and they may also need to prepare technical and research reports such as environmental impact reports. Additionally, biologists develop and maintain liaisons and effective working relationships with agencies and the public, and they may prepare requests for proposal or statements of work. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a biologist in 2009 was $58,300 or $28.03 per hour. Projected growth in this field is expected to be much faster than average with an anticipated 48,500 job openings through 2018.

Soil and Water Conservationists Job Opportunities for Natural Resource Conservation Degree Graduates

Soil and water conservationists plan and develop coordinated practices for soil and water conservation, soil erosion control, and sound land use. These professionals apply principals of soil science, agriculture, forestry, and agronomy to achieve objectives in conservation. They advise ranchers and farmers on conservation plans, planning assistance, problems, and alternative solutions, and plan practices such as:

  • Terracing
  • Crop rotation
  • Permanent vegetation
  • Reforestation
  • Contour plowing

They may visit areas that are affected by erosion to develop solutions, and they may also monitor projects during and after construction to ensure that they are completed to design specifications. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a professional in this field in 2009 was $60,160 or $28.92 per hour. The projected growth is expected to be average with an anticipated 4,000 job openings through 2018.

Forester Job Opportunities for Natural Resource Conservation Degree Graduates

Individuals that pursue a career as a forester are usually employed by the state or federal government to manage forest resources. Foresters that work in conservation will conduct regular information-gathering sessions, and they may measure the growth of trees or other shrubbery. Foresters plan and supervise forestry projects and negotiate terms and conditions of agreements and contracts for forest management, leasing forest lands, and forest harvesting. They also participate in and direct forest-fire suppression. Commercial foresters may look through the area of a forest in order to find an area to cut down to build roads or buildings, and the lumber can be used to build furniture or other items. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a forester in 2009 was $53,840, and the growth in this area is expected to remain constant within the next several years.

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