Associate Degree in Natural Resources

Associate Degree in Natural Resources

Associate Degree in Natural Resources

If you want to learn more about Earth’s materials and the impact of sustainable resource management practices, a Natural Resources degree might be an ideal path of study for you! Pursuing an associate degree in Natural Resources at Mount Wachusett Community College will allow you hands-on study in our greenhouse and the ability to work outdoors in many of your courses. You will learn about natural wildlife and plant life and what you can do to help protect the nature that surrounds all of us.

At the end of your associate natural resource studies degree, you will prepare to transfer into a 4-year college or university into one of many forestry, environmental conservation or natural resource management programs and eventually obtain a career in conservation.

Job Outlook for Conservation Scientists

A natural resource degree is an excellent step toward finding work across numerous industries, including consulting, conservation, corporate social responsibility, education, government and nonprofit work. Because of an emerging appreciation and heightened awareness of the nation’s natural resources, opportunities in these fields are growing, especially in state and local government-owned forest lands.

The need for ecologically sustainable environmental practices and wildfire prevention is helping to drive greater demand for conservation scientists and foresters. Experts project forestry and related environmental science fields will grow 5% over the next ten years. As of May 2020, Conservation Scientists and Foresters made an average of $60,000 annually.

Expected Responsibilities

A conservation scientist typically focuses on land use and the impact of consuming depletable land-related natural resources. As a conservation scientist, your responsibilities will include:

  • Overseeing forestry and conservation activities to ensure compliance with government regulations.
  • Supporting governments and landowners to determine the most prudent and ecological use of land.
  • Working with private landowners, farmers and government officials to improve land for sustainable forestry purposes.
  • Helping to manage parks, forests, natural areas, resources and private land through established plans.
  • Negotiating terms and conditions for forest harvesting and land-use contracts.

An educational background in MWCC’s Natural Resources Management program will help you obtain vital knowledge and experience to help you thrive in any position.

Skills You Will Need

An associate degree in forestry or natural resource studies will help you hone your decision-making, communication and management skills for a hands-on position in natural resource conservation. It will teach you how to create, execute and maintain sustainable solutions to preserve natural resources.

As a conservation scientist, you will manage, protect and improve the state of the country’s natural resources. By focusing on the interactions between humans and the natural landscapes around us, students will develop a robust understanding of how they can shape the future of land use for current and future generations, prevent erosion and safeguard the environment.

Many conservation scientists and foresters also advance to take on managerial duties, conduct their own research and work on broader policy issues. Foresters in management usually retire from fieldwork and assume leadership opportunities such as developing and supervising management plans with a team of other specialists.

Work Outside in Nature

Work Outside in Nature

As you work toward your associate degree in Natural Resources, you can study a wide range of courses across the natural and social sciences. At MWCC, you can also tailor your degree program to your interests by pursuing a particular environmental area of focus.

Graduates from our program can pursue entry-level jobs in:

  • Horticulture
  • Floriculture
  • Landscaping
  • Agriculture
  • Forestry

You also have the option to transfer to a 4-year college or university to pursue further education and advance your potential job placement in the natural resource management field! Many career opportunities for Natural Resources graduates exist in federal and state natural resource agencies, legislative policy and budget offices, and non-governmental trade organizations concerned with natural resource policy and administration. There are also multiple positions available in international development agencies, universities, consulting firms and private research organizations.

Some positions for Natural Resource graduates include:

  • Field researcher
  • Watershed specialist
  • Forester
  • Land-use planner
  • Environmental educator
  • Naturalist
  • Wildlife conservation officer
  • Forest/rangeland/wildlife ecologist
  • Ecological consultant
  • Sustainability coordinator

Transfer to a 4-Year College or University

An associate Natural Resource Management degree provides you with an excellent foundation when applying to a 4-year college or university, and you will save thousands by starting your Natural Resources education at MWCC. You will be able to transfer seamlessly upon graduation into one of many Natural Resource Management bachelor’s degree programs.

Our program is based on STEM core requirements and MassTransfer benefits so that you will enter as a junior at a 4-year institution after transferring from MWCC. With transfer agreements with many colleges throughout Massachusetts and beyond, we will facilitate the transfer of your earned credits toward your ongoing education in Natural Resource studies!

Enjoy the Diversity of Northeastern Plants and Wildlife

Sustainability is also near and dear to our hearts as an institution. Did you know that MWCC is a national leader in renewable energy use with our biomass plant, solar PV panels and two wind turbines? You can be sure that you will receive a high-quality education in Natural Resources from a school that cares about the environment as much as you do.

MWCC offers the perfect setting for environmental education by providing hundreds of acres of untouched plant communities and forested areas, two pond ecosystems, and a life studies center consisting of a greenhouse, potting area and lecture facility. If you are pursuing in-person studies, you will be able to work alongside Massachusetts’s local flora and fauna and take full advantage of the area’s plentiful nature.

Study the Environment to Save the Earth

Our Natural Resources degree includes a range of course topics covering plant science, biological diversity and other environmental issues that concern the planet. By instilling you with sufficient knowledge and skills, MWCC will ensure you are fully prepared when it comes time for you to transfer to a 4-year college or university. A career in Natural Resources will ensure the future establishment of protected areas and help conserve our planet’s natural landscape, geography and wildlife.

Some of the classes you will take at MWCC include:

  • Forestry
  • Greenhouse Management
  • Horticulture
  • Plant Science
  • Global Environmental Issues
  • Soil Science
  • Zoology

Find Your Niche at Mount Wachusett

Find Your Niche at Mount Wachusett

If you are ready to pursue an in-person or online Natural Resources Management degree, Mount Wachusett Community College can help you succeed. Our outstanding support for and commitment to our students helps us build access to learning opportunities and instill a passion for environmental conservation and sustainability. When you want an obtainable and affordable education, MWCC can go above and beyond to help you achieve a prosperous and gratifying career.

Contact us today to request more information and begin your journey to a Natural Resource degree.



"My Natural Resources degree gave me the skills and knowledge to launch my career with the Department of Conservation and Recreation and truly helped me excel. I get to work outside and it is such a joy knowing I got where I am today because of MWCC."

Lily Carr, Class of 2015, Natural Resources

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