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Natural Resources Conservation Major

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Natural Resources Conservation

2,998 Master's Degrees Annually
436 Doctor's Degrees Annually
#53 in Popularity (Master's)
$77,580 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Natural Resources Conservation Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many natural resources conservation graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Master’s Degree 2,998
Doctor’s Degree 436
Graduate Certificate 92

What Natural Resources Conservation Majors Need to Know

O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to conservation and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.

Knowledge Areas for Conservation Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in 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.
  • Biology - Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • 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.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Skills for Conservation Majors

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

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  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • 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.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Abilities for Conservation Majors

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

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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.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

What Can You Do With a Natural Resources Conservation Major?

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

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Climate Change Analysts 11.1% $71,130
Environmental Restoration Planners 11.1% $71,130
Environmental Science Professors 10.1% $79,910
Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Including Health 11.1% $71,130
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
Soil and Water Conservationists 6.3% $61,310

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

2,998 Master's Degrees Annually
60% Percent Women
19% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
The major attracts more women than men. About 60% of the recent graduates in this field are female.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

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

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Conservation Students with Master's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 120
Black or African American 100
Hispanic or Latino 217
White 1,855
International Students 457
Other Races/Ethnicities 249

Geographic Diversity

Conservation appeals to people across the globe. About 15.2% of those with this major are international students. The most popular countries for students from outside the country are:

  • China
  • India
  • South Korea
  • Canada
  • Nepal

How Much Do Natural Resources Conservation Majors Make?

Master’s Degree Starting Salary

The U.S. Department of Education found that students who graduated in 2015-2017 with a master’s degree in natural resources conservation made a median starting salary of $54,250 per year. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $42,500 (25th percentile) and $57,100 (75th percentile).

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It is possible that some of these people may have taken positions that were not related to conservation.

Salaries According to BLS

Conservation majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $65,320 to $91,330 (25th to 75th percentile). 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  ( 65320 to 91330 )
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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 conservation may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to conservation have obtained the following education levels.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 0.1%
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) 1.0%
Some College Courses 1.9%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 2.1%
Bachelor’s Degree 37.9%
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. 1.7%
Master’s Degree 23.9%
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. 0.4%
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. 1.0%
Doctoral Degree 20.4%
Post-Doctoral Training 10.1%

Online Natural Resources Conservation Programs

In the 2018-2019 academic year, 1,026 schools offered some type of natural resources 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) 89 7
Certificate (1-2 years) 38 2
Certificate (2-4 Years) 2 0
Associate’s Degree 221 4
Bachelor’s Degree 46 9
Post-Baccalaureate 89 7
Master’s Degree 247 22
Post-Master’s 3 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 93 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 conservation grad is $77,580 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 94% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $753,600 after 20 years!

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

Major Number of Grads
Natural Resource Management 1,059
Forestry 540
Wildlife Management 240
Fisheries Sciences 101
Natural Resources Conservation (Other) 25

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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