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Planning a Career in Fish and Wildlife Management:

And Related Fields of Interest

North Dakota Game and Fish Department

A Word to Prospective Natural Resource Managers

This information will help you plan for a career in the conservation of renewable natural resources. While it is directed mainly at a career in fish or wildlife management, it also will help you plan for a career in forestry, outdoor recreation, range management and other natural resource specialties. Whether you wish to become a fishery or wildlife biologist, forest ranger, a park naturalist, a conservation law enforcement officer or a watershed manager, your opportunities for a career in conservation will be few unless you obtain a college education.

That education should be broad enough to provide an understanding of the inter-relationships of the natural resources which make up the environment; the social, political and economic forces that influence natural resource management; and the ability to analyze natural resource problems to find realistic alternative solutions.

A career begins in high school

Career Preparation at Liberal Arts, State and Junior Colleges

Planning Your Major

How About Graduate Work

Research and Management

Merely acquiring knowledge is not enough; you must know how to apply it intelligently. Some students are attracted more strongly to research, others to management. Some natural resource agencies keep the two activities separate, others merge them. The skilled resource manager employs the methods as well as the findings of research in carrying out the management job.



Those who carry their training through the master's or doctoral level may wish to find employment as college or university professors. If so, they may teach or do research or combine these functions. University professors often serve as consultants to natural resource agencies.


The scientist must be educated to conduct research that will add to existing knowledge and thereby help in the solution of problems faced by the resource manager. After completion of graduate school, the researcher is highly trained in such fields as genetics, ecology, economics, physiology, limnology and other sciences.


The professional resource manager is a practitioner and deals with the application of knowledge. The main responsibility is the planning and direction of a managerial operation-a wildlife management area, a refuge or a park, for example. Education must be soundly based on theory, but also it must be practical in the sense that it gives intellectual and executive ability to put science to work in an economic and social world.


Frequently there are combination positions that require knowledge in one or more related fields. An example would be journalism, plus Ash and wildlife, for specialization in fish and wildlife information and education work. Prospective students should not overlook opportunities in combination fields, such as:

Wildlife-Police Administration
Conservation Officer

Conservation Education Specialist

Fisheries or Wildlife-Public Administration
Personnel Officer
Budget Officer
Planning Officer

Recreation Specialist

Job Opportunities

Other Career Information Resources

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