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2023 Wildlife Management Degree Guide

For those passionate about the preservation of natural resources and habitats, Wildlife Management is an obvious choice for a career and field of study. Wildlife Management majors learn everything from conservation of natural resources to the preservation of animal habitats to wildlife disease, so they may work closely with public officials to create policies and management plans. The major teaches how to identify and solve the many possible issues related to wildlife. This is a science based major and requires classes in biology, anatomy, ecology, and other animal sciences.

Rapid Growth in Wildlife Management Degrees Awarded

#186 Most Popular Major
2.4k Degrees Awarded
4.8% Increase in Graduates

Wildlife Management was the 186th most popular major in the 2020-2021 school year. Colleges in the United States reported awarding 2,449 degrees in this year alone. This represents a 4.8% increase in wildlife degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 2,331.

This year's Best Wildlife Management Schools ranking compares 43 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Continue reading to check out one of our many unbiased rankings of wildlife programs later in this article.

2023 Best Colleges for Wildlife Management
2023 Overall Best Wildlife Management Colleges >

Best Wildlife Management Schools by Degree

Associate Degrees in Wildlife Management
Bachelor's Degrees in Wildlife Management
Master's Degrees in Wildlife Management
Doctorate Degrees in Wildlife Management

Requirements for Getting a Degree in Wildlife Management

Critical thinking, observation, and problem solving skills are important for a career in wildlife management. You must be able to analyze animal behaviors and appearance, conduct experiments, and decide the best course of action for solving problems related to wildlife. Strong interpersonal and writing skills are also important for proper communication between other wildlife specialists, scientists, and the public. Findings will often be written in a report, paper, or article, making writing an important skill.

Wildlife Management professionals will normally enjoy a regular schedule, occasionally needing to put in irregular or longer hours. When conducting fieldwork they may find themselves out of the office and working round-the-clock to complete a project.

To get involved in wildlife management, you should try to gain experience through an internship or summer job. Some organizations that would provide excellent experience are the National Park Service or nonprofit group like The Sierra Club.

Getting Accepted Into a Wildlife Management Program

wildlife management degree applicants generally need have finished high school or their GED. Many schools may also have GPA and SAT/ACT score minimums that must be met. Once you obtain your degree, additional wildlife certifications required to pursue a career in this field.

Types of Wildlife Management Degrees

There are various different levels of wildlife degrees. Wildlife Management programs offered by schools range from a to a , which is the highest wildlife degree you can get. Wildlife Management programs can take anywhere between one to four or more years for a full-time student to complete.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to wildlife, with approximately 59.2% of workers getting one. People currently working in careers related to wildlife tend obtained the following education levels.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 51.2%
Doctoral Degree 18.6%
Master’s Degree 12.5%
Post-Doctoral Training 7.3%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 3.1%

Most workers in wildlife have at least a bachelor's degree. See the chart below for the most common degree level workers in wildlife management have received.


This of course varies depending on which wildlife career you choose.

Wildlife Careers

Below Average Number of Jobs
$26.4k Average Starting Salary
7% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

Depending on the type of job, work environment for Wildlife Management graduates vary. Some work in offices, labs, or outdoors conducting fieldwork. The majority of graduates are employed by state or federal governments or by privately owned companies. Since this major equips graduates with the skills to assess how changes can affect wildlife, some people may be hired by contracting companies or builders concerned with decreasing their environmental impact.

Those with master's degrees will have an easier time finding jobs in their field and are more likely to advance quicker. If you are interested in independent research, you must have a Ph.D.

Growth Projected for Wildlife Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your wildlife degree? Wildlife Management careers are expected to grow 6.5% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to wildlife management.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Conservation Scientists 23,700 6.3%
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists 20,900 7.7%
Fish and Game Wardens 7,300 4.3%
Forestry & Conservation Science Professors 2,300 4.5%

How Much Money Do People With a Wildlife Degree Make?

Wildlife Management graduates between 2017-2019 reported earning an average of $26,447 in the 2019-2020 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $21,021 to as high as $39,602. As you might expect, salaries for wildlife graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


Highest Paid Wildlife Careers

Salaries for wildlife management graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers wildlife grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Forestry & Conservation Science Professors $92,550
Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists $67,760
Conservation Scientists $65,320
Fish and Game Wardens $59,260

Getting Your Wildlife Management Degree

With over 153 different wildlife degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased wildlife school rankings to help you with this.

One of 5 majors within the Natural Resources & Conservation area of study, Wildlife Management has other similar majors worth exploring.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Natural Resources Conservation 22,254
Natural Resource Management 2,933
Forestry 2,233
Fisheries Sciences 483
Natural Resources Conservation (Other) 151

View All Wildlife Related Majors >


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