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Natural Resources & Conservation Major

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Natural Resources & Conservation

$65,320 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Natural Resources & Conservation Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many natural resources and conservation graduations there were in 2017-2018 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Bachelor’s Degree 20,253
Master’s Degree 4,260
Associate’s Degree 1,801
Basic Certificate 1,142
Doctor’s Degree 622
Graduate Certificate 249
Undergraduate Certificate 240

What Natural Resources & Conservation Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, natural resources and conservation majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Natural Resources & Conservation Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in natural resources and conservation should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Skills for Natural Resources & Conservation Majors

The following list of skills has been highlighted as some of the most essential for careers related to natural resources and conservation:

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  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Abilities for Natural Resources & Conservation Majors

Natural Resources and Conservation majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:

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  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

What Can You Do With a Natural Resources & Conservation Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with natural resources and conservation:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Climate Change Analysts 11.1% $71,130
Compliance Managers 8.0% $107,480
Environmental Restoration Planners 11.1% $71,130
Environmental Science Professors 10.1% $79,910
Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health 11.1% $71,130
Fire Investigators 7.3% $62,510
First-Line Supervisors of Aquacultural Workers 2.1% $46,960
First-Line Supervisors of Logging Workers 2.1% $46,960
First-Line Supervisors of Police and Detectives 6.6% $89,030
Fish and Game Wardens 4.3% $57,710
Forest and Conservation Technicians 3.9% $37,180
Forest Fire Fighting and Prevention Supervisors 7.1% $76,330
Forest Fire Inspectors and Prevention Specialists 29.4% $39,600
Foresters 4.9% $61,410
Forestry & Conservation Science Professors 4.5% $86,900
Industrial Ecologists 11.1% $71,130
Lifeguards, Ski Patrol, and Other Recreational Protective Service Workers 7.6% $22,410
Municipal Firefighters 7.2% $49,620
Park Naturalists 6.3% $61,310
Police and Sheriff’s Patrol Officers 7.0% $61,380
Range Managers 6.3% $61,310
Regulatory Affairs Managers 8.0% $107,480
Soil and Water Conservationists 6.3% $61,310
Wind Energy Project Managers 8.0% $107,480
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists 7.7% $63,420

Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Natural Resources & Conservation?

20,253 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
53% Percent Women
22% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities
According to recent stats this major attracts about equal numbers of men and women. Roughly 53% of the graduates are women, and 47% are men.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of natural resources and conservation majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Natural Resources & Conservation Students with Bachelor's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 900
Black or African American 509
Hispanic or Latino 1,935
White 14,776
International Students 541
Other Races/Ethnicities 1,592

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Natural Resources & Conservation, too. About 2.7% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do Natural Resources & Conservation Majors Make?

Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary

The median starting salary of students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a bachelor’s degree in natural resources and conservation was $29,750 per year. These stats come from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $25,025 (25th percentile) and $34,175 (75th percentile).

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It’s important to note that just because the people reporting these salaries have a degree in natural resources and conservation, it does not mean that they are working in a job related to their degree.

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $53,240 to $80,310 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to natural resources and conservation. This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for a Natural Resources & Conservation Major  ( 53240 to 80310 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some degrees associated with natural resources and conservation may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for natural resources and conservation careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
Less than a High School Diploma 4.6%
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 15.3%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 6.4%
Some College Courses 7.5%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 7.1%
Bachelor’s Degree 31.9%
Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master. 1.5%
Master’s Degree 12.8%
Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level. 0.5%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.8%
Doctoral Degree 8.4%
Post-Doctoral Training 3.8%

Online Natural Resources & Conservation Programs

In the 2017-2018 academic year, 1,144 schools offered some type of natural resources and conservation program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 158 14
Certificate (1-2 years) 74 3
Certificate (2-4 Years) 2 0
Associate’s Degree 359 16
Bachelor’s Degree 75 20
Post-Baccalaureate 158 14
Master’s Degree 396 50
Post-Master’s 7 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 168 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Natural Resources & Conservation Worth It?

The median salary for a natural resources and conservation grad is $65,320 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 64% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $508,400 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to natural resources and conservation.

Major Number of Grads
Computer & Information Sciences 209,723
Engineering 197,582
Biological & Biomedical Sciences 157,997
Engineering Technologies 92,253
Physical Sciences 53,768
Mathematics & Statistics 47,138
Agriculture & Agriculture Operations 37,231
Architecture & Related Services 17,359
Communications Technologies & Support 15,669
Science Technologies / Technicians 6,550

References

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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