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Natural Resource Management

Do you want to work in the great outdoors? A degree in natural resource management puts you on the right path.

Our associate in applied science degree in Natural Resource Management prepares you to enter the workforce as a forestry, wildlife, fisheries, or recreation technician. Classes include outdoor labs, where you’ll learn how to identify forest plants, measure trees to determine their value, identify and sample fish and wildlife species, navigate with a map and compass, safely operate a chainsaw, diagnose plant diseases, run a surveying total station, build maps, and much more.

When you complete this two-year degree, you’ll be ready to start your career with Federal or State agencies like the Forest Service, Department of Natural Resources and Washington State Parks, or go to work for a private company, like Potlatch-Deltic.

The Enroll in Natural Resources video shows students in a typical field class conducting activity that are commonly done by fisheries technicians after graduation.

Options to continue at a university and earn a four-year degree are also available.

Related Program

We also have a program for students interested in working on street and park trees in an urban setting. For more on arboriculture/urban forestry, visit the arboriculture/urban forestry area of study page.

  1. Identify selected forest trees, shrubs, and forbs native to the Pacific Northwest.
  2. Use various instruments to measure the height, diameter and age of trees and apply this data to volume, site, and growth determinations.
  3. Operate hand compasses, level, global positioning systems, and electronic instruments in determining slopes, turning angles, running traverses, locating ownership boundaries, and determining locations.
  4. Utilize maps and aerial photographs in the management of natural resources, including the use of geographic information systems.
  5. Recognize common diseases and insect pests of forest trees and assess their damage.
  6. Use the computer as a tool for solving natural resources problems and applying cartographic concepts to the development of effective reference and theme-based maps.
  7. Demonstrate human relationship skills and professional behavior needed for successful job performance.
  8. Recognize and apply the various silvicultural systems and techniques used in ecosystem management.
  9. Understand concepts involved in soil science including soil management, conservation, and use of soils in forestry and agriculture.
  10. Maintain and safely operate a chainsaw.
  11. Write technical reports and give presentations.
The number of technical level jobs has increased in some areas and remained steady in most others. Public pressure for environmental protection and management has led agencies to undertake projects in all areas of the natural resources that require qualified field technicians to complete.

The associate in applied science degree in Natural Resource Management prepares students to work in the forestry area. This program is nationally accredited by the Society of American Foresters. Two additional options are available: Parks and Recreation or Wildlife Fisheries. The Wildlife\Fisheries program is accredited by the North American Wildlife Technicians Association. The Parks and Recreation option prepares students for park maintenance and/or interpretive positions. The Wildlife/Fisheries option prepares students to perform field sampling as well as habitat restoration work.

All students must complete an internship of at least 400 hours to complete the degree. Second-year students may remain in the main program which is forestry-based, or they may select one of the two options for an AAS degree which requires a total of 90 credits.

Breaking Ground on Your Pathway


Placement

Math placement is not required for this program.
English placement is not required for this program.

Plan Your Courses

Meet with our counselors to customize this plan just for you. You can also search the quarterly schedule for class days and times.

Program Map for

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Total Program Credits: 90


Program Courses

First Quarter

Course ID
Course Title
Credits
NATRS112
Natural Resources Mathematical Applications  
5
NATRS120
Basic Computer Applications in Natural Resources  
2
NATRS202
Dendrology  
5
NATRS225
Natural Resources Occupational Experience  
1
Total Credits
 
13

Second Quarter

Course ID
Course Title
Credits
NATRS204
Maps and Aerial Photo Interpretation  
5
NATRS215
Forest Measurements  
5
NATRS225
Natural Resources Occupational Experience  
2
WATER120
Hydrologic Technical and Field Reports   1
5
Total Credits
 
17

Third Quarter

Course ID
Course Title
Credits
ENVS 220
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems for Natural Resources  
5
NATRS130
Chainsaw Operation, Maintenance and Safety  
3
NATRS201
Forest Protection  
5
NATRS230
Global Positioning Systems  
3
Total Credits
 
16

Fourth Quarter

Course ID
Course Title
Credits
NATRS203
Forest Harvesting and Products  
5
NATRS209
Silviculture  
5
NATRS216
Forest Inventory  
5
NATRS225
Natural Resources Occupational Experience   2
1
Total Credits
 
16

Fifth Quarter

Course ID
Course Title
Credits
ENVS 110
Plant Biology   3
5
ENVS 207
Wildlife Biology  
5
NATRS221
Applications in Geographic Information Systems  
4
NATRS225
Natural Resources Occupational Experience   2
1
Total Credits
 
15

Sixth Quarter

Course ID
Course Title
Credits
ENVS 208
Outdoor Recreation and Interpretation  
3
ENVS 210
Environmental Soil Science  
5
NATRS205
Surveying  
5
Total Credits
 
13

1 May be substituted with ENGL& 101 or an approved written communication course 100 level or higher.
2 A 400-hour internship, either paid or volunteer, must have been completed before registering for this course.
3 May be substituted with BIOL& 160.

Estimated costs for completing this program

 
WA Resident
Non-Resident
International
Tuition
$ 9,242
$ 11,460
$ 21,142
Books
$ 702
$ 702
$ 702
Course Fees
$ 821
$ 821
$ 821
Institutional Fees
$ 3,212
$ 3,212
$ 3,212
Total Costs
$ 13,977
$ 16,195
$ 25,877

Costs for completing a degree or certificate can vary. For more information about costs, visit our How Much Does it Cost? page.

The Forestry option of the Natural Resource program is nationally accredited by the Society of American Foresters (SAF). The Wildlife/Fisheries option is accredited by the North American Wildlife Technicians Association (NAWTA).

The Natural Resources Program includes three options. Each option begins with the same three quarters of field-based introductory coursework. Then, you’ll specialize into either Natural Resources Management (Forestry), Wildlife/Fisheries, or Recreation.

The degree in Natural Resources Management is an applied forestry degree that prepares you to work as a technician in the forest products, timber management, and environmental conservation fields. Typical job titles include forest technician, wildland firefighter, environmental technician, timber cruiser, biological technician, forest and conservation worker, or forester.

The Wildlife/Fisheries degree option trains you to begin a career with State, Federal, Tribal agencies, or private consultants. Typical job titles include wildlife technician, wildlife aid, hatchery technician, fisheries technician, fish and game officer, or biological technician.

The Parks and Recreation degree is designed for a career in the State and National Parks. In addition to a working knowledge of forests and ecosystems, you’ll take coursework in communications and equipment operations and maintenance. Typical job titles include parks technician, parks aid, park ranger, or maintenance technician.

As part of all three program options, you will complete a required summer job experience that will provide connections in your career field and prepare you for employment after graduation.

Field sites are located throughout the region in diverse ecosystems from the top of Mount Spokane to the Columbia sagebrush/grassland ecosystems and transportation is provided to and from field sites.


 

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