How to become a Natural Resource Manager

Natural resource managers develop conservation plans for nature reserves, land and other natural resources, so that people can use these resources in an ecologically sustainable way. Natural resource managers specialising in land and biological resources work in agencies where they can apply ecological and planning principles to the management of renewable resources such as forests, grasslands and agricultural landscapes. Natural resource managers specialising in water and soil resources may apply their skills to several areas, including irrigated agriculture, drainage, water supply, water catchment management, pollution control and rehabilitation after mining activities.

Personal requirements of a Natural Resource Manager

  • Interested in conservation and management of the environment
  • Aptitude for science
  • Good oral and written communication skills
  • Able to work indoors and outdoors
  • Patient and able to persevere
  • Good project management skills

Education & Training for a Natural Resource Manager

To become a natural resource manager you usually have to complete a VET qualification. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have a degree in environmental management, environmental science, sustainability or wildlife and conservation biology. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, physics, chemistry, earth and environmental science, biology and mathematics are normally required. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Natural Resource Manager

Natural resource managers:

  • assess techniques for flora and fauna conservation
  • monitor components of the environment, such as soil, water and air
  • develop practical solutions for environmental management and rehabilitation
  • develop techniques to ensure the development and use of vital land and water resources is ecologically sustainable
  • undertake plant and animal pest management
  • undertake bush regeneration activities
  • work with land managers to improve biodiversity on private lands
  • organise geological, plant and animal research
  • undertake laboratory work
  • develop resource management policy
  • work with government and environmental groups
  • run community education programs.

Employment Opportunities for a Natural Resource Manager

Natural resource managers are employed in the areas of catchment management, land care, recreation, research, soil conservation and wildlife management. They work in universities, the minerals industry, environmental organisations and government agencies that manage community-owned land (such as conservation parks, forest or local government reserves and Crown land). With greater community concern about environmental issues and increased demand for government accountability, resource management is a growing field. However, competition for entry level positions is very high. Gaining practical experience in conservation and land management is recommended.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:


Employment by state:

ACT ACT 2.4%

NSW NSW 30.4%

NT NT 1.8%

QLD QLD 13.6%

SA SA 8.5%

TAS TAS 1.3%

VIC VIC 28.9%

WA WA 13%

Hours worked:



Lower unemployment

Gender split:

Male 60.8%

Female 39.2%

Education level:

Not completed Year 12: 6.4%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 6.4%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 18.5%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 15.9%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 29.2%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 23.5%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0.2%

20-24 - 2.7%

25-34 - 19.1%

35-44 - 27.8%

45-54 - 27.3%

55-59 - 9.2%

60-64 - 10.4%

65 and Over - 3.3%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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