Natural Resources Careers in BC
Natural resources are all around us, from water in the lakes and rivers to the oil and gas under the ground to the sun in the sky. Natural resources careers in British Columbia are about either preserving natural resources for the future or making them available for people to use.
Many different jobs are available in natural resources. BC has many natural resources careers, including jobs for people who administer the programs and authorize the work with natural resources. People in this branch of the work gather information and make decisions in fields such as fish and wildlife, timber, and water. Listening to others, especially Indigenous groups and other people who can help to make sure that natural resources are available in the future, is very important in this job.
Deciding what is important requires information. Biologists study animals, fish, and their habitats to find out how to preserve the natural world and keep the animals from decline or even extinction. These professionals help to educate people about how different parts of their work fit together and provide a scientific basis for the decisions that government officials and others make for the environment.
Indigenous people are often closely connected to the land where they live, and they have insights and knowledge that other people might not have. Because of that, a third career in natural resources is a First Nations or Indigenous relations advisor who can help Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to work together. This job might involve arranging meetings, writing reports, doing research, or even travelling out to remote locations to consult with people on the negative and positive aspects of any project.
Once people have gathered enough information and obtained an agreement from everyone concerned with the project, natural resources engineers can get to work. These people work with infrastructure such as roads and bridges that allow workers to get access to resources and to the cities and towns where the markets are. Maintaining the infrastructure is important, and natural resources engineers are often involved in projects until they are completed, monitoring the use of various parts of the infrastructure to make sure that workers maintain safety standards and find any problems or missing pieces.
These jobs require a high level of understanding of the issues to allow people to work at more than a basic level. Normally, at least a bachelor’s degree is necessary for working in these fields, and sometimes a master’s degree might be necessary. Some people might be able to work their way up from low-level jobs, but normally these types of careers require at least some formal education. Useful high school courses include biology, history, and English. Salaries might start at about $30,000 or $40,000 but can rise to about $100,000 with experience, depending on the job and the location.
Even without a bachelor’s degree, people can get jobs in natural resources. Biologists need lab assistants, engineers need construction workers, administrators need office workers, and Indigenous relations advisors need helpers to file documents or answer phones. Although these jobs might not be very well paid, they are still important. Training in the trades is often important for many natural resources jobs.
Working in natural resources can be an exciting and important career choice. If you want to be part of this field, you can already begin to prepare for it.
Government of Canada. “Follow Your Passion. Find Your Skilled Trade.” https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/campaigns/skilled-trades.html
Government of British Columbia. “Natural Resources Careers.” https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/careers-myhr/job-seekers/featured-careers/careers
Natural Resources Canada. “Career Profiles.” https://natural-resources.canada.ca/careers/career-profiles/19466.
Pawlowska-Manville, Agnes and J. D. Chapman. “Natural Resources in British Columbia.” https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/natural-resources-in-british-columbia.