Natural Resources Degree & Career Guide
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What Is Natural Resources & Conservation?
The air we breathe, the water we drink, plus soil, plants, and wildlife comprise some of the Earth’s natural resources. Conservation is how we care for our natural resources and our steps to protect them. If you’re a humanities major and want a career in conservation, you may consider pursuing an environmental anthropology specialization.
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Natural Resources & Conservation in the Classroom and Workplace
There are various careers in natural resources and conservation, from green education and natural resource management to environmental science.
For example, a natural resource manager monitors the environment. They develop environmentally and ecologically sustainable techniques for land and water resources. These careers typically require a bachelor’s degree in sustainability, natural resources, or management.
Environmental scientists and specialists analyze soil, water, air samples, and other research data to identify environmental threats. They usually have a bachelor’s degree in environmental science or a related subject such as biology. Analytical people who have excellent communication skills and enjoy being outdoors usually enjoy these roles.
Frequently Asked Questions About Natural Resources & Conservation
Is natural resources & conservation a good major?
A bachelor's degree in environmental science prepares graduates for careers such as environmental health and safety specialists. A natural resources and conservation degree is a good choice for people who care about the environment and want to make a difference.
These roles often pay well, too, with some of the highest-paying natural resources conservation jobs in government, engineering services, and management, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Government environmental scientists and specialists ensure companies follow regulations and policies. Industrial ecologists work with industry to limit environmental impacts, and climate change analysts study the effects of climate change on ecosystems. Additionally, many professionals with backgrounds in environmental science become educators.
Is natural resources & conservation a hard subject?
It takes passion, commitment, excellent communication skills, and education to pursue natural resources and conservation jobs. Students must prepare to study a broad variety of scientific disciplines, including biology, chemistry, and geology. Math and data science are a vital part of many environmental studies careers as well.
Environmental scientists and specialists may also monitor environmental conditions and gather data. Fieldwork happens in all types of weather and can be stressful and physically demanding. These professionals often must travel and may need to present research at conferences.
Is a natural resources & conservation degree worth it?
A natural resources and conservation degree is worth it for people who care about sustainable practices and improving environmental impact. People can pursue diverse roles in conservation, from administration to science and education. These careers also often pay well and offer many growth opportunities.
Many students pursue an online degree while they gain work experience. Degree-seekers should note that a bachelor of science (BS) focuses on scientific and quantitative aspects of environmental conservation. A bachelor of arts (BA) focuses on how humans interact with the environment historically and how public policy affects environmental challenges.
What can you do with a natural resources & conservation degree?
A BS in environmental science prepares graduates for many STEM careers, such as environmental scientists or engineers. These graduates can also become environmental health and safety specialists. Ecosystem science and sustainability professionals investigate natural and human-made environmental conditions. They also help address environmental challenges.
Graduates who want to get hands-on work experience could work in wildlife and conservation, combining fieldwork, lab research, and technology. Geoscience focuses on studying the Earth's composition, structure, atmosphere, oceans, and rivers and how it all interconnects and interacts. Conservation scientists are consultants who work with private landowners, businesses, and governments to ensure sustainability practices.
How much money can you make with a natural resources & conservation career?
Depending on your career path, you can earn from $35,000 to over $100,000 per year in natural resources and conservation careers. In May 2021, the BLS reported environmental scientists and specialists made a median annual wage of $76,530.
Conservation scientists and foresters earned a median annual wage of $63,750 in May 2021. The lowest 10% of conservation scientists made $38,670, and the highest 10% earned over $100,440 per year. Geoscientists made some of the highest-paying conservation careers in May 2021, with median annual wages ranging from $48,880 to over $172,490.