• Program Details

  • Thank you for your interest in the Natural Resources Technology (NRT) program.

    Natural Resources Technology is a two-year, applied/technical degree program. The curriculum is interdisciplinary, introducing students to a broad spectrum of natural resources applications. It emphasizes hands-on learning, which means that fieldwork is an integral part of the coursework. Field studies are conducted in local forests, parks and natural areas. Students in the NRT program share a common first year before choosing either a forestry or wildlife option.

    Students may elect to attend part-time, spreading the courses out over three to four years. Doing this requires additional advising as many of the courses are offered in a specific sequence. Students are encouraged to address further questions about the program and/or requirements to MHCC’s Academic Adviser at the Academic Advising and Transfer Center. A limited number of courses transfer to four-year universities. Transferability depends upon the chosen university and major. Please see an adviser for more complete information regarding transfer.

    Program Mission

    The mission of the Natural Resources Technology program is to provide a comprehensive, field-oriented education in the technical applications of sustainable natural resources management.

    Program Objectives

    The objectives of the Natural Resources Technology program are to provide students with the knowledge and skills to do the following:

    • Perform relevant field tasks required of natural resource technicians.
      • Conduct stand exams, reforestation surveys, and other forest inventories.
      • Perform fieldwork necessary to implement silvicultural prescriptions (e.g., for thinning, prescribed burning, tree planting, stream restoration, etc.).
      • Delineate and mark forest types, forest stands, roads, and riparian areas.
      • Conduct surveys of natural resources (e.g., plant associations, hazard trees, wildlife habitat, streams, large woody debris, soils, etc.).
      • Perform trail maintenance and fire suppression activities.
      • Identify native forest trees, plants, insects and diseases.
    • Use a broad range of technological tools to document, map, measure, record and analyze data relevant to natural resources.
      • Utilize a variety of instruments to determine tree height, diameter, age, and other forest stand conditions.
      • Utilize a variety of instruments to describe habitat and watershed features.
      • Use a variety of techniques to assess diversity and abundance of mammals, birds, amphibians, and fish.
      • Navigate and identify landforms using maps, aerial photos, compasses, and GPS units.
      • Survey/traverse boundaries and roads using total stations, GPS and hand compasses.
      • Use computer software for data analysis, mapping and problem solving (GIS).
      • Use software to analyze forest growth and development over time.
      • Enter field data onto field data recorders; download to a PC.
    • Demonstrate a practical understanding of Pacific Northwest forest and wetland ecosystems.
      • Relate the influences of climate, topography, and soils to ecological community composition and structure.
      • Apply concepts of basic ecosystem functions such as photosynthesis and nutrient cycling to natural resources management.
      • Assess forest management practices and natural disturbances as they relate to forest resources (soils, water, and wildlife) and succession.
      • Relate the influences of land management over time to landscape conditions.
    • Demonstrate knowledge of social influences on ecosystem management.
      • Relate social and economic benefits of forests and other ecosystems to society.
      • Connect social concerns about the environment to natural resources management legislation.
      • Prescribe environmentally sound management activities for a given set of landowner objectives and ecosystem conditions.
    • Demonstrate professional skills needed for successful job performance.
      • Prepare written field reports.
      • Fill out field data sheets accurately and completely.
      • Communicate verbally with crew, supervisor and public about fieldwork.
      • Prepare and present oral environmental information.

    Program Options

    Natural Resources Technology has two program options as listed below. Students will designate which option they are pursuing when applying to MHCC (or declaring their major with Admissions).

      • Natural Resources Technology – Wildlife Resources, Associate of Applied Science Degree (AAS)
      • Natural Resources Technology – Forest Resources, Associate of Applied Science Degree (AAS)

    Program Start and Length

    The Natural Resources Technology program begins Fall term each year. The program is six terms (excluding summers); part time attendance may take three to four years. Mid-year entrance into a class or classes is by faculty permission only.

    Student Enrollment Limit Per Year / Graduate Rate

    The program enrolls 40 students each year. Once the classes are full, students can be added to the waitlist. Fifteen to 25 students graduate each year. Students are awarded the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Natural Resources Technology, with Forest Resources or Wildlife Resources option upon completion of required coursework.

    Transfer Options

    1. Some students choose to transfer to a four-year university for a Bachelor’s degree, after completing the two-year program.
      1. The number of courses that will transfer depends upon which university you attend and which degree you pursue.
      2. Typically, 25-50% of the Natural Resources Technology credits will transfer.
      3. It may take up to five years to complete both the Associate and Bachelor degrees.
    2. Students also have the option of enrolling as a non-major in a transfer track instead of an Associate degree.
      1. This would require taking primarily general education courses, with a few selected transfer classes from the Natural Resources Technology program.
      2. If you have an interest in transferring, we strongly recommend that you visit with one of the program advisors about it before enrolling in any courses.


    • Employment opportunities have fluctuated with the economy in recent years! Over the last ten years, the employment rate of our graduates has ranged between 60% and 100%, with employment improving over the past two years.
    • Many entry-level jobs are seasonal in nature. This means that a person may have to work a couple of “field seasons” (approximately March through November) before obtaining a permanent job. Being flexible and willing to move to where the jobs are, greatly improves employment options.
    • Entry-level pay is quite variable, ranging from $13-20 per hour.
    • In general, the private sector hires more permanent employees; the public sector hires more seasonal employees.
    • Completing the Work Experience Internship with a seasonal job during the first summer greatly improves chances of obtaining employment upon graduation.

    What Our Students Tell Us

    What attracts students to Natural Resources Technology (NRT)?

    • Getting paid to spend your day outside!
    • Cost effective education – reasonable tuition and short preparation time for the job market.

    What do students like after they start the NRT program at MHCC?

    • Field classes that practice actual job activities.
    • A focus on practical applications and skills.
    • Small class sizes.
    • A broad-based forestry/natural resources education.
    • A challenge to produce professional results.
    • Knowledgeable and accessible instructors with real-life experiences.
    • Service learning – class projects that are often done for a client.
    • Flexibility to attend part-time.
    • Camaraderie with your “cohort.”
    • Flexibility in transferring to a university program.

    Estimated Program Costs

    These costs are estimates and are subject to change without notice. They are listed to give you an idea of costs in addition to tuition so that you can plan for your financial needs. To determine tuition, see the current Tuition/Fee Rate Table.

    The costs listed are for your Natural Resources Technology core classes and do not include costs for general education or related electives required for the Associate in Applied Science Degree in Natural Resources Technology.

    First Quarter (Fall)
    Items Estimated Cost
    Textbooks $200
    Calculator (TI83 or equivalent) $120
    Clothing/Field Gear Costs Vary
    • Rain Gear
    • Work Boots with Vibram sole
    • Hard Hat
    • Leather Work Gloves
    • Silva Ranger Compass (optional)
    • Cruiser Vest (optional)
    First Quarter Total $675
    Second Quarter (Winter)
    Items Estimated Cost
    Textbooks $95
    Field Books $6
    Second Quarter Total $101
    Third Quarter (Spring)
    Items Estimated Cost
    Textbooks $150
    Field Books $6
    Third Quarter Total $156
    Fourth Quarter (Fall)
    Items Estimated Cost
    Textbooks $150
    Field Books $6
    Fourth Quarter Total $156
    Fifth Quarter (Winter)
    Items Estimated Cost
    Textbooks $125-200
    Fifth Quarter Total $125-200
    Sixth Quarter (Spring)
    Items Estimated Cost
    Textbooks $65
    Field Books $6
    Sixth Quarter Total $71
    Grand Total $1284 Approximately