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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 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 4,487
Doctor’s Degree 670
Graduate Certificate 334

What Natural Resources & Conservation Majors Need to Know

People with careers related to natural resources and conservation were asked what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. They weighted these areas on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the highest.

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

A major in natural resources and conservation prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:

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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

A major in natural resources and conservation will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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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?

People with a natural resources and conservation degree often go into the following careers:

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
First-Line Supervisors of Aquacultural Workers 2.1% $46,960
First-Line Supervisors of Logging Workers 2.1% $46,960
Forest and Conservation Technicians 3.9% $37,180
Foresters 4.9% $61,410
Forestry & Conservation Science Professors 4.5% $86,900
Industrial Ecologists 11.1% $71,130
Park Naturalists 6.3% $61,310
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 Master’s Degree in Natural Resources & Conservation?

4,487 Master's Degrees Annually
57% Percent Women
18% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This major is dominated by women with about 57% of recent graduates being female.

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 Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 148
Black or African American 137
Hispanic or Latino 327
White 2,855
International Students 614
Other Races/Ethnicities 406

Geographic Diversity

Natural Resources & Conservation appeals to people across the globe. About 13.7% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do Natural Resources & Conservation Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

According to 2017-2018 data from the U.S. Department of Education, students who graduated with a master’s degree in natural resources and conservation have a median salary of $53,000 during the early years of their career. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $41,500 (25th percentile) and $57,100 (75th percentile).

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Note that some of these people may have jobs that are not directly related to a natural resources and conservation 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 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, 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 2018-2019, 1,151 schools offered a natural resources and conservation program of some type. 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) 168 12
Certificate (1-2 years) 75 4
Certificate (2-4 Years) 2 0
Associate’s Degree 370 20
Bachelor’s Degree 86 23
Post-Baccalaureate 168 12
Master’s Degree 403 38
Post-Master’s 7 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 173 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
Engineering 63,808
Computer & Information Sciences 51,096
Biological & Biomedical Sciences 27,505
Mathematics & Statistics 13,820
Physical Sciences 13,573
Architecture & Related Services 7,816
Engineering Technologies 7,277
Agriculture & Agriculture Operations 3,975
Communications Technologies & Support 604
Science Technologies / Technicians 70

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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