How to Become a Natural Resources Manager

How To Become a Natural Resources Manager: Career Guide

In order to become a natural resources manager, you need a combination of industry experience, education and the proper skill set. Below we've outlined what you'll need to succeed in a career as a natural resources manager.


We've also included helpful information for a natural resources manager career, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Required for a Career in Natural Resource Management

If you aim to become a natural resources manager, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in fields such as Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, Natural Resource Management, Forestry, Botany or Biology typically serves as excellent preparation for your future career, as it will provide you with the skills, knowledge and competencies to succeed.


Taking courses in Biology, Chemistry and Geology allow students to explore such topics including environmental systems, and the impact of human activity on the environment.


Some degree programs, such as those in Natural Resource Management or Forestry also offer students an opportunity to learn about such issues as natural resource protection, conservation and management.


A graduate degree is typically necessary if you want to pursue natural resource management careers in research or in teaching at the university level.


Please Note: Specific educational requirements for becoming a natural resources manager vary by employer




Natural Resources Manager Job Description

Natural resources managers are responsible for protecting and managing wildlife, trees, plants, soil and water. Natural resources managers focus on all of the issues linked to healthy ecosystems combined with human interaction such as habitation, economic resource extraction and recreation as well as the complexities of climate change adaptation.



Natural Resources Manager Job Duties

• Study wildlife populations, growth rates, migrations and survival rates

• Make recommendations concerning the regulation of wildlife and hunting activities

• Make recommendations for changes in current fish regulations

• Prepare watershed assessments and management plans in an assigned region

• Monitor and assist in the management of commercial fisheries

• Direct the awarding of mineral assignments and unitization agreements for oil and gas

• Make recommendations to acquire land based on ecosystem management, recreation needs, and direct land acquisition efforts



How to Get a Job as a Natural Resources Manager

Natural resources management positions are very competitive. Typically plenty of industry experience is necessary to become a natural resources manager; gaining entry-level employment in forestry, conservation, and wildlife or land management is a great way to begin gaining this experience.


Even gaining employment in entry-level positions is highly competitive. Having work experience or internship experience may be a pre-requisite for a permanent job in natural resource management, depending on who the employer is.


Landing an internship opportunity or getting a part-time job with an organization involved in forestry, conservation and wildlife or land management are great ways to add experience to your resume and stay ahead of the competition. Speak to your school's career services office, as well as your professors in order to learn about any available positions.



Who Hires Natural Resource Managers?

There are employers representing different sectors of industry that are interested in the specific skill set and knowledge base of natural resource managers. Below is an example of the types of employers that hire natural resource managers.


Sectors of Industry


• Public Administration

• Conservation

• Forestry and Logging

• Manufacturing

• Professional, Scientific and Technical Services




• Companies that produce products from natural resources (such as lumber)

• Conservation groups

• Consulting companies

• Educational institutions

• Government departments and agencies (all levels)

• Regulatory Bodies

• Utility companies

• Oil, gas and mining companies

• Some natural resource managers are self-employed as consultants





Characteristics of Successful Natural Resources Managers

Even with the right education and skill set, becoming a successful natural resource manager is not guaranteed. If you’re reading the list of personality and intellectual traits listed below, and you recognize many of the traits in yourself, you may be well suited for a career as a natural resource manager.


• Must have a keen interest in all aspects of nature

• Must be comfortable working both indoors and outdoors

• Must have a concern for the well being of the environment

• Excellent organization and communication skills

• Enjoy working and liaising with other natural resource professionals

• Must be able to delegate and direct the work of others

• Must be able to oversee multiple projects simultaneously



Career Advancement for Natural Resource Managers

Natural resource managers with a lot of experience typically leave fieldwork in order to increase their focus on office-based duties, such as working with teams to develop management plans and supervise other natural resource managers and related professionals.


Natural resource managers who have several years of work experience also may move into related fields such as natural resource planning, reclamation work, vegetation control, surveying or working in state/provincial/federal parks.


Natural resource managers can also purse advanced education in a variety of fields, such as forestry, land use planning, natural resource planning, public administration, management and other areas in order to move into other fields, such as research or public policy decision making related to forestry or natural resource management.



Natural Resources Manager Salary

It's difficult to determine how much natural resource managers make, as it is very difficult to acquire accurate information regarding the salary levels of these professionals.


The U.S Labor and Statistics reports that the median salary for Conservation Scientists and Foresters, who typically perform duties very similar to those of natural resource managers, was $57,420 USD per year.


In Canada, the numbers are a little different. According to the 2011 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Forestry Professionals occupational group earned on average from $29.92 to $38.45 an hour. These professionals perform similar duties and have similar responsibilities as those of natural resource managers.


Please Note: Salary levels can vary greatly for natural resource managers, depending on the level of education, who the employer is, and the amount of experience of the manager.



Careers Similar to Natural Resources Manager

Listed below are jobs that are similar in nature to that of a natural resources manager, as they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Environmental Policy Officer

Land Manager

Natural Resources Planner


Wildlife Manager



References: Natural Resources Manager Career

Please use the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as a natural resources manager.



Wages & Salaries in Alberta:Managers in Natural Resources & Fishing.” (n.d.). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 5, 2020.

Life, Physical, and Social Science:Conservation Scientists and Foresters.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved January 5, 2020.

Current Job Trends & Future Growth:Careers in Natural Resource Management.” (September, 2017). ECO Canada website. Retrieved January 5, 2020.

Academic Departments:Natural Resources Management.” (n.d.). Faculty of Natural Resources Management - Lakehead University website. Retrieved January 5, 2020.



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Scholarships for Becoming a Natural Resources Manager

Scholarships listed for majors that apply to becoming a Natural Resources Manager can be found on our All Scholarships by Major page.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Becoming a Natural Resources Manager: Applicable Majors

Studying one of the university majors listed below is an excellent starting point to becoming a natural resources manager. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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