Overview of Environmental Remediation Degree
Environmental remediation is an emerging field that focuses on cleaning up contamination and mitigating the effects of pollution on the natural environment. Different levels of qualification exist with the field of environmental remediation and educational requirements vary based on the different levels of qualification. The educational process to become an environmental remediation professional can take as little as a few months for a remediation technician or as long as several years to attain a Bachelor’s degree in environmental remediation from a college or university.
Environmental remediation is an excellent career choice for a person who enjoys the challenge of applying science to solve problems. Pollution from past agricultural and industrial activity is a significant crisis faced by many communities, and remediation of polluted sites requires a combination of basic technical skills, scientific knowledge and creativity. Some jobs in this field require only a short training period and all careers in environmental remediation involve a large percentage of hands-on site work.
Environmental Remediation Curriculum
Training courses to become an environmental remediation technician can last from a few months to two years depending upon the depth of the training sought. These short term programs are generally available through community colleges. The coursework included in most environmental remediation technician programs provides instruction in the removal of hazardous materials, methods of encasing or covering pollutants to prevent further spread of the contamination and techniques to chemically or mechanically stabilize a polluted area to reduce the impact of polluted soil or water that cannot be removed. Other topics studied generally include heavy equipment operation, proper use of safety gear, pollutant sampling/monitoring and safe handling of polluted material.
Four year Bachelor’s degrees in environmental remediation are available from some colleges and universities. These degrees provide training in the science behind environmental remediation and emphasize the coordination of environmental remediation programs and pollutant removal. Environmental remediation degrees are usually offered through the science department of a college or university and may be a stand-alone degree or a specialized focus of a degree such as biology or ecology. In many cases a degree in environmental remediation is offered as an interdisciplinary program incorporating coursework from a number of departments including science, engineering and political science. Courses studied may include:
• Soil Science and Mechanics
• Pollution Remediation (water, air, hazardous waste)
• Environmental Policy
• Environmental Health
Environmental remediation technician programs consist of a large amount of hands-on training to operate the machinery and sampling equipment necessary to accomplish site remediation. Like many science degree programs, most four-year environmental remediation degrees include numerous courses that may incorporate laboratory studies and fieldwork. In some cases a portion of the coursework can be completed on-line, especially introductory topics and pre-requisite classes. Due to the level of hands-on instruction that is required, however, a majority of the coursework of any environmental remediation educational program will require attending classes on a college campus.
Career Outlook for Environmental Remediation Degree Graduates
Environmental remediation specialists are employed by scientific laboratories, research firms, private consultants and governmental organizations at the federal, state or local level. A professional with training in this field may perform the actual work required to remove environmental pollution, coordinate the clean-up process or oversee remediation as a government regulatory official. Due to the wide range of career options available and the fact that environmental remediation is a relatively new career field, the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not maintain a compilation of data specific to environmental remediation. The following list includes the 2010 median salary information for several jobs that are closely related to the specific tasks performed by environmental remediation professionals.
An expanding population, increasing public pressure to clean up past environmental pollution and ongoing identification of new contaminated sites are all factors that are expected to lead to growth in the environmental field including careers in environmental remediation.
If you think that a career in environmental remediation is something that you would enjoy check out local community colleges and four year universities in your area for information about training and degree programs. Other valuable resources for information on the educational requirements and daily job tasks of this career field are companies that perform environmental remediation activities. If possible, contact a company that offers services in the same specialization area in which you would like to work and request information about the type and level of education required by their company.