Wetland science emerged as a distinct discipline in the 1980s. In response, courses addressing various aspects of wetland science and management were developed by universities, government agencies, and private firms. Professional certification of wetland scientists began in the mid-1990s to provide confirmation of the quality of education and experience of persons involved in regulatory, management, restoration/construction, and research involving wetland resources. The education requirements for certification and the need for persons with specific wetland training to fill an increasing number of wetland-related positions identified a critical need to develop curriculum guidelines for an undergraduate wetland science and management major for potential accreditation by the Society of Wetland Scientists. That proposed major contains options directed toward either wetland science or management. Both options include required basic courses to meet the general education requirements of many universities, required upper-level specialized courses that address critical aspects of physical and biological sciences applicable to wetlands, and a minimum of four additional upper-level specialized courses that can be used to tailor a degree to students' interests. The program would be administered by an independent review board that would develop guidelines and evaluate university applications for accreditation. Students that complete the required coursework will fulfill the education requirements for professional wetland scientist certification and possess qualifications that make them attractive candidates for graduate school or entry-level positions in wetland science or management. Universities that offer this degree program could gain an advantage in recruiting highly qualified students with an interest in natural resources. Alternative means of educating established wetland scientists are likewise important, especially to provide specialized knowledge and experience or updates related to new management discoveries, policies, and regulations.
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Vol. 28 • No. 3