Wildlife Management Training Programs and Requirements

Students majoring in wildlife management will study many different nature-related topics, such as conservation, animals, wildlife development and ecology. Wildlife managers evaluate the conditions and populations of habitats and identify areas of maintenance and improvement. An associate's and bachelor's degree in wildlife management is available for students interested in this field.

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Training Requirements and Recommendations

Not all colleges and universities offer a degree in wildlife management specifically, but related degree in wildlife biology, ecology, mammalogy (study of mammals), ichthyology (study of fish) or zoology provide the fundamental education and skills needed for a career in wildlife management. College admissions counselors recommend that high school students have favorable grades in English, math, biology, chemistry and physics to place well into a college program.

Most employers require at least a bachelor's degree for entry into the field and good grades in the sciences for a better position. If a student is beginning their wildlife management career in an associate's degree program, students should research the 4-year school that they are applying to, to make sure that their credits are transferable.

Formal Education

While an undergraduate degree is typically required for work in wildlife management, the duties of a wildlife manager are often best learned hands-on interacting with nature, animals and other people who love the outdoors.

Associate's Degree

The associate's degree program in wildlife management exposes students to topics such as conservation, hydrology (study of water systems), dendrology (science of woody plants), forestry, geology and ornithology (study of birds). Students are also tested in basic computer operations, English, map reading, ecology, technical writing, verbal communications skills and algebra.

Graduates of the associate's degree in wildlife management learn how to perform some job duties, like rescue animals, operate a chain saw, assemble devices to trap animals and understand the importance of managing animal populations, land development and wetlands. Associates programs in wildlife management also prepare students to transfer for a 4-year university to complete a bachelor's program and choose an area of concentration, such as fisheries, wildlife management or forestry.

Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree in wildlife management program typically covers a range of science material, including animal science, wildlife biology, agronomy (study of plants), wildlife ecology and habitat management. Future wildlife managers learn the technical aspects of their role in the bachelor's degree program, which may include monitoring the population of wildlife movement, conducting research programs and overseeing any recreational activities.

Through classroom lectures and laboratory exercises, students in a bachelor's degree in wildlife management program are taught genetics, field botany, vertebrate anatomy, aerial photography, forest soils and watersheds. The complexities of a career in wildlife management, such as environmental conditions, species, natural habitats, tools and behaviors, are usually covered in detail in the bachelor's degree program.

Job Experience

With an associate's degree, graduates may apply for positions at governmental agencies, parks and recreations or private organizations as a wildlife technician or park aide. An entry-level position as a wildlife technician is usually performed under supervision for an undetermined amount of time until the employee demonstrates judgment in field assignments. Once a technician is found capable to work independently, they are responsible for a host of duties involving food counts for species, wildlife data, shelter construction and inspection of hunting areas.

Graduates with a bachelor's degree usually find a larger scope of job opportunities in positions, such as a wildlife biologist, conservationist, environmental consultant, game warden or wildlife manager. Wildlife managers evaluate the conditions of a natural resource location and make determinations about its maintenance and improvement. Employers typically want employees in these positions to have at least 1-2 years of experience before they can act independently to protect and manage wildlife.

Licenses and Certifications

The Wildlife Society offers a voluntary Certified Wildlife Biologist program for graduates of a bachelor's degree program in a wildlife management field. In addition to undergraduate training, individuals must also have at least five years of experience in wildlife biology and submit personal references. A Wildlife Society membership is required after certification and recertification is required every five years with continuing education classes. Some state agencies require certification, while others only recommend it.

Workshops and Seminars

There are dozens of science and wildlife related professional organizations for graduates to learn more about the industry. Reputable societies like the Botanical Society of America and the Animal Behavior Society provide conferences, discussion sessions and workshops on a range of current topics for wildlife management professionals, such as new advances in science or software demonstrations.

Additional Professional Development

An undergraduate degree in wildlife management offers basic entry into the field, but individuals with a teaching or research interest should seek a graduate degree. Select universities offer advanced degrees in related wildlife management programs; other related graduate programs include wildlife conservation and natural resources.

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