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Natural Resources Conservation

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Natural Resources Conservation Major

19,928 yearly degrees
#63 in popularity
$78,000 median salary

Natural resources conservation is a major that typically falls into the Natural Resources & Conservation category.

There are 222 programs available throughout the country that offer an associate’s degree in conservation, 1,005 that offer a bachelor’s degree, and 239 that offer a master’s degree. There are also at least 92 schools in the nation where you can get your doctorate degree in the field.

Who Is Getting a Conservation Degree?

Natural resources conservation runs middle of the road when it comes to popularity, ranking #34 out of all the majors we track. In 2017, about 14,500 graduates completed their bachelor’s degree in this major. The major attracts more women than men. About 55.5% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial Distribution

At the countrywide level, the racial distribution of conservation majors is as follows:

  • Asian: 5.2%
  • Black or African American: 2.8%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 10.2%
  • White: 70.3%
  • Non-Resident Alien: 3.2%
  • Other Races: 8.2%
Natural Resources Conservation Majors Ethnic Diversity Statistics

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in conservation. About 3.2% of those graduating in 2017 were international students. The most popular countries sending conservation majors to the U.S. are China, India and South Korea.

What Will You Learn as a Natural Resources Conservation Major?

An O*NET survey asked people with careers related to conservation to rate how important certain subject areas were to their job. The following are some of the results of that survey. Importance was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Conservation Majors

Conservation majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

Important Knowledge Areas for Natural Resources Conservation Majors

Skills for Conservation Majors

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

Important Skills for Natural Resources Conservation Majors

Abilities for Conservation Majors

As a conservation major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:

Important Abilities for conservation Majors

What Can You Do With a Conservation Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with conservation:

Careers Related to Natural Resources Conservation
Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary

Park Naturalists



Industrial Ecologists



Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health



Range Managers



Forestry & Conservation Science Professors



Climate Change Analysts



Environmental Science Professors



Environmental Restoration Planners



Soil and Water Conservationists






Natural Resources Conservation Major Salary

Conservation majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $65,000 to $91,000. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, the typical high school graduate makes between $29,000 and $57,000 a year. The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $44,000 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,000 and $120,000.

Average Salary for a Conservation Major  ( 65000 to 91000 )
Average Salary for High School Graduate  ( 29000 to 57000 )
Average Salary with Bachelor's Degree  ( 44000 to 99000 )
Average Salary with Advanced Degree  ( 55000 to 120000 )

Your salary will be largely dependent on the career path you follow and what area of the country (or world) you work. Getting a graduate degree may open up more options with higher salary potential.

Amount of Education Required for Natural Resources Conservation Major Jobs

Some careers associated with conservation require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

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

Education Levels for Careers Associated With Natural Resources Conservation
Level of Education Percentage of Workers

Less Than a High School Diploma


High School Diploma or Equivalent


Post-Secondary Certificate


Some College Courses


Associate's Degree or Equivalent


Bachelor's Degree


Post-Baccalaureate Certificate


Master's Degree


Post-Master's Certificate


First Professional Degree


Doctoral Degree


Post-Doctoral Training


Online Natural Resources Conservation Programs

There are 1,005 colleges that offer a bachelor’s degree in natural resources conservation, with 33 of them offering at least some courses online.

Online learners must listen or watch video lectures, participate in group chats or forums, submit papers and assignments electronically, take tests, and meet deadlines.

Online learners benefit from being able to watch lectures remotely and complete coursework on their schedule, but they also take longer to graduate than average and are more likely to dropout.

Is a Natural Resources Conservation Major Worth It?

The median salary for a conservation grad is $78,000 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 99% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $773,600 after 20 years!

natural resources conservation salary compared to typical high school and college graduates over a 20 year period


Bureau of Labor Statistics
National Center for Education Statistics
O*NET Online
Image Credit: Lynn Betts via License

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