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How To Become An Environmental Resource Manager

Do you feel a calling to protect the environment and all the plants and animals that rely on it? Are you interested in working with a team to solve environmental problems that affect people and animals? If so, an environmental resource manager career may be perfect for you.

an environmental resource manager looking up at a tree in a forest

Environmental resource managers protect and manage the environment and all the resources in it, including water, soil, plants, and animals. They are sometimes referred to as natural resource managers or just environmental managers. Keep reading to learn more in-depth answers to the questions of what is a natural resource manager and what does a natural resource manager do.

Career Path Overview for Environmental Resource Manager

Education Requirements

Bachelor’s Degree

Recommended Degree Program

B.S. in Natural Resources Conservation & Management 

Average Salary (2021)


Workers Employed in U.S. (2021)


Projected Job Openings (2021-31)


Projected Growth Rate

5% (As fast as average)

Other Job Titles

Environmental Manager, Natural Resource Manager

Related Careers

Sustainability ManagerOperations Manager 

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does An Environmental Resource Manager Do?

An environmental manager’s job description varies depending on the employer and the position, but generally, the job involves monitoring land use and planning how natural resources will be used. This includes the management of forests, bodies of water, and other ecosystems. Natural resource managers work to keep the environment healthy while allowing people to enjoy the land and utilize its resources in a safe and sustainable way. 

Environmental resource managers must work with a variety of different companies, government agencies, and individuals. They should have good written and verbal communication skills and excel at delegating and working collaboratively. 

Here are some common duties of environmental managers:

  • Conduct environmental compliance checks
  • Investigate environmental issues
  • Collaborate with diverse teams to create environmental solutions
  • Make recommendations on new projects and possible risks to the environment
  • Educate the public on environmental policies and programs
  • Collect and analyze natural resource samples from the field
  • Write environmental reports based on data collected in the field
  • Enforce environmental laws and regulations

Find more rewarding jobs that help keep the planet safe and healthy on Unity Environmental University’s blog.

Where Do Environmental Resource Managers Work?

Environmental resource managers work in laboratories, offices, and in the field. In the field, they collect samples and monitor construction or land use to ensure environmental regulations are being met. They study samples and data in labs. In offices, they create plans on how to best use and preserve land in a specific area. Environmental resource managers generally work full-time, regular hours. However, if they need to respond to emergencies such as flooding, they may have to work overtime. The job may require some travel to field sites.

The main employers of environmental resources managers are:

  • Federal government
  • State governments
  • Local governments
  • Social advocacy groups
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services 

Environmental Resource Manager In Field

Average Environmental Resource Manager Salary

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not have specific data on natural resource management salary averages. Instead, this data is lumped in with the general data on all conservation scientists and foresters. The median salary for a conversation scientist in 2021 was $63,750. Because management typically makes higher salaries, you can expect to make above this with the right education and experience. In fact, the median pay for all natural sciences managers in 2021 was $137,900.

  • Average salary for entry-level conversation scientists: $43,280
  • Average salary for senior-level conversation scientists and managers: $98,300

What is the Job Outlook for Environmental Resource Managers? 

The demand for environmental manager jobs is not going away. The BLS predicts that the number of jobs available will remain steady for the next decade. However, with the increase in wildfires and other natural disasters due to climate change, there will likely be an increased need for environment managers to help us adjust and ensure the land is still viable for future generations. 

  • Estimate of jobs available: 39,600
  • Rate of projected job growth: 5% (as fast as average)
  • New jobs to be added in the next 10 years: 1,800
  • Highest-paying states: Minnesota, Alaska, Hawaii, and Massachusetts

Environmental Resource Manager Education Recommendations

A career in environmental resources management requires at least a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree typically takes four years of full-time study to complete. While a biology or environmental science degree may be acceptable for some positions, a B.S. in Natural Resources Conservation & Management will make you stand out from the competition. Some advanced environment managers go on to get a master’s and/or Ph.D. 

Environmental Resource Manager High School Recommendations

Starting your environmental science education in high school can help prepare you for a successful career in environmental resource management. Consider taking advanced math and science classes such as calculus, biology, and chemistry. Many high schools also offer an environmental studies elective course.

Here are some additional ways to begin gaining knowledge and experience in environment resource management while still in high school:

  • Join an environmental advocacy organization at your school or in your local community 
  • Volunteer with outdoor conversation projects such as a beach clean-up or trail maintenance
  • Take online classes at your local junior college to get a head start

Environmental Resource Manager College Education Recommendations

bachelor’s degree in environmental studies or a related field will usually meet the education requirements for environmental manager jobs. There is no license or certification process for environment managers. To ensure you are fully prepared for the workforce, look for a program that includes hands-on field and laboratory training. A good program will also have internship opportunities and career development support. 


An undergraduate education in environmental resource management should include courses in biology, ecology, chemistry, and communications. Students should graduate with a strong understanding of environmental laws and regulations. A Natural Resources Conservation and Management Degree provides the interdisciplinary education needed to be successful as a natural resources manager. 


Some senior-level environmental resource management positions require a master’s degree in environmental studies or a related field. A master’s degree can advance your career as a leader in conservation. If you are interested in environmental research, you may also need a doctorate. This usually involves 4-5 years of additional study after you complete undergraduate school. 

Environmental Manager Assessing Solar Panels

Recommended Unity Environmental University Degrees and Courses

B.S. in Natural Resources Conservation & Management

Unity Environmental University’s Natural Resources Conservation and Management program is one of the only degrees in the country that focuses specifically on environmental resource management. You will gain the practical knowledge, skills, and experience needed for a career as a resource manager or consultant. 

B.S. in Environmental Studies

A degree in environmental studies provides an interdisciplinary education that looks at all scientific, social, economic, and political factors when trying to solve environmental problems. This hybrid in-person and online program can give you numerous career options, such as ecologist or environmental planner

unity environmental university logo

Explore More Career Paths Related to Environmental Resource Manager

Sustainability Manager

Sustainability managers help companies operate as sustainably as possible to protect the planet’s future. If you have an analytical mind and like solving complex problems, this may be the right career for you.

Operations Manager

Are you interested in sustainable business practices? An operations manager ensures that a business functions efficiently. This requires strong organization and communication skills in addition to knowledge of business laws and regulations. 

Environmental Planner

Environmental planners are sustainability experts. They work on various projects to ensure that companies, organizations, and government agencies follow environmental codes when planning and implementing new development or other land use.