If you’re interested in improving the environment or having an impact on the environment, all of the diverse careers listed below will lead you on a path to being completely involved with the fields that are primarily focused on the environment. Some of the careers listed below have subsets of careers under them that get even more diverse and specific in their specialties. With the depth of this field the environmental career opportunities are extremely vast. If one interests you, please make sure you keep digging deeper through our content as your environmental career could be hiding under one of the main career listings. If you feel there is a type of career we have not covered well or have missed, please let us know.
Comprehensive List of Environmental Degrees
Environmental Agriculture / Sustainable Agriculture - A degree in Sustainable Agriculture will teach the student how to either start their own farm, or go into business on someone else’s, in such a way as to preserve the land for future generations. Sustainability requires a strong foundation of knowledge in areas like biological sciences, agriculture and foods systems and sustainable ways to find new ways of doing things. You can gain the knowledge to sustain the economic viability of farm operations, enhance the quality of life for farmers and find efficient ways to use nonrenewable resources and integrate natural biological cycles and controls. Other specializations can go into biofuels, organic vegetables and sustainable products and food.
Environmental Biology - An environmental biology degree is a great option for individuals who want to work with land, plants and animals. They may choose from degrees offered at universities, colleges and even online. In order to work in a research department or facility, graduates should pursue a master’s doctoral degrees. Certificates and bachelor’s degrees in environmental biology may help a person get into an entry level position. However, they have to invest in continuing education if they want to obtain high-paying positions and take part in more challenging projects.
Environmental biology students will take courses that are similar to those who are taking general biology. However, they will have to choose their area of concentration later in their education. Moreover, environmental biology is among the few fields that will see increasing demands in the decades to come. This demand will mostly come from state and local governments. Environmental biologists can work in many different areas. They can be teachers, foresters, conservation scientists and biological scientist.
Environmental Chemistry – Focusing on the environmental on a chemical level requires specialization and makes this job more unique than some of the other environmental programs. This career can lead someone down the path to working in a lab, in the field or even continuing their degree into something like engineering the be a highly specialized environmental chemist in that sector. The growth rate of this environmental career is strong due to the need to clean up the world on a level that requires chemical analysis.
Environmental Conservation - Environmental conservation degree programs are increasing in number at United States colleges and universities, though they’re frequently held as part of the environmental science program and often issued as a concentration rather than a traditional, standalone degree. Graduates can be expected to learn anything from statistics and environmental policy to eco-minded regulations, geography, and global climates. Employers of environmental conservation graduates are numerous and diverse, with many positions to be had in state, local, and federal governments. Many private sector employment opportunities also exist at outfits like think tanks, private research operations, and even corporate offices. Graduates are typically found in office settings, government buildings, and the natural world, applying their skills appropriately.
Environmental Consultant - Environmental consultants utilize a variety of skills, including mathematical, science, engineering and design skills throughout their job roles. Many entry level consultants acquire experience by working as assistants to project managers for specific projects. International firms may hire environmental consultants to perform contract work overseas. For most of the projects, environmental consultants are required to travel regularly from the headquarters of clients to production sites. Students and recent graduates should obtain internship opportunities to help them gain experience and advance to expert consultancy positions. In addition to gaining work experience, students and graduates of environmental consultant degree programs should network with other individuals in the industry, which is also a great way to get a head start into the consultancy career as well as in the environmental science and engineering industry as a whole. Although entry level consultants receive salaries that are slightly lower than the median annual salary, many consulting firms provide opportunities for individuals to advance to higher level positions within the firms and acquire higher salaries.
Environmental Design - Anyone seeking an environmental design degree must first ask themselves what they expect to get out of it. Whereas other degrees lead students down a strict path towards a specific career outline, such as doctor or chemist, environmental design offers a bit of leeway in a few directions. Those interested in architecture would benefit from an environmental degree instead of one of its more traditional degrees as it doesn’t focus solely on the development of buildings regardless of their ecological impact. Being an environmental design major is a way of expressing care for the environment and the way humans impact it.
Due to how useful its curriculum is, there is still quite a demand for those that pursue an environmental degree. While architects make up one of its main career paths, there are still options for those that wish to be environmental designers, historical preservation specialists, or environmental planners. With support from the Environmental Protection Agency and job listings from state governments, students of environmental design should feel confident that they’ll be able to find a job once they’ve graduated.
Environmental Education - Individuals who are considering a degree or college focus in environmental education should at the very least be interested in scientific inquiry and should likely also want to learn about the condition of the environment and how various problems and solutions may impact the earth’s future. Students may also want to be interested in green technologies as well since this area of scientific focus within environmental education is one that has been experiencing significant growth in the last decade.
Environmental Economics - Options abound with an environmental economics degree since environmental issues, as well as a multifaceted approach to dealing with said issues, are present. The degree has many similarities with an environmental science degree but the main differences are that the economics degree focuses on its name sake, leaving some of the science courses behind in favor of specialized economic courses. Furthermore, it is often connected with either environmental management or environmental policy, making it a further hybridized degree. This makes since due to the heavy influence that policy can have on what is now economically and managerially feasible as governmental strictures change the cost-benefit analysis. It is fairly easy to have an environmental economics major serve where an environmental scientist might though they would probably be more suited towards a coordinator or manager role due to their focus on cost constraints. A scientist, in contrast, would be more focused on the most practically sound way to solve a problem from a scientific standpoint.
Environmental Engineering - Environmental engineering is a challenging career field that is expected to grow significantly in the next ten years. Although an environmental engineering degree can take longer to attain than some other degrees, the field of environmental engineering combines office and field work in a way that few other occupations do. The subjects offered in most environmental engineering curricula allow for detailed specialization in one of many areas all of which contribute in some way to preserving clean air, water and soil for future generations. The knowledge that you are contributing to the preservation of the earth by discovering better ways to use natural resources, finding new sources of renewable energy, developing methods of sustainable design or remediating contaminated soil or groundwater, the job satisfaction that comes along with being an environmental engineer is truly rewarding.
Environmental Health - If you have a heart for the environment and want to know what you can do to improve the situations that you observe, a degree in Environmental Health might be right for you. Looking into Environmental Health careers helps you envision the many ways that the people and the environment interact. You have seen the stringent accreditation requirements available to colleges and universities as they design and enact their environment health programs. You have looked at some of the ways that program graduates at any level can move into industry or government positions. Next, you will want to look at the accredited schools and compare their offerings. Some will align with your interests more than others. Look for a school that supports a vibrant practicum because companies often hire those who undergo internships with them. Keep your goal of making a difference for the environment and for society clearly in front of you so that each obstacle you encounter will strengthen your core and contribute to your life-long success in the field of Environmental Health.
Environmental Horticulture - Environmental horticulture is a unique and interesting degree to pursue. Students will learn how to work efficiently with different kinds of plants and soil. They will be responsible for making the environment a lot more beautiful and productive. Students have to complete coursework whether online or on campus. In addition, there are some courses that may require them to do field work. This is especially true when they are near graduation. Professionals also have the option to obtain a master’s and doctorate degree online. Graduates don’t have to worry about getting the job as the BLS says that there is a good projection for professionals in the field. Individuals who want to pursue this degree should be determined and able to handle both the intellectual and physical demands of being an horticulturist.
Environmental Journalism - There are a number of options available to those pursuing an environmental journalism program. The program can easily differ from person to person depending on how they choose to structure it. This is based largely on whether it is desired to be more environmental studies/science heavy, journalism heavy, or balanced. As such, the curriculum is to a significant degree left up to the student as opposed to a more specifically structured program marrying the two fields. There are a number of fields to choose from and the statistics can help gain perspective on what they have to offer as well as the level of difficulty getting in them. Since the program is multidisciplinary, more research should be conducted for career paths as the above list is not exhaustive and reflects conventional roles that don’t necessarily blend both environmental science and journalism to the effect desired by the prospective student.
Environmental Justice - Environmental justice students undertake a wide range of coursework in the fields of social, environmental and political science. While pursuing this degree, students learn to recognize how environmental issues affect different populations and how to find solutions to the problems presented by environmental damage and pollution. Graduates of this degree field work to raise awareness and to address socio-environmental issues through political involvement, community activism and legal action. The field of environmental justice is a relatively new career field and is a good choice for someone who believes in preserving the environment while being a positive voice for under-served and under-represented communities.
Environmental Law - The person who has received his or her degree in environmental law will be pleased to find that there are a large number, as well as a wide range, of places in which he can be assured of finding work. A judge advocate with such a degree can work for the United States Marine Corps. His primary work will then consist of challenging billets for which an understanding of the complex laws and regulations regarding the use of land. Depending on his rank, he may also be appointed counsel or deputy counsel to the commandant of the Marine Corps.
Like anyone with a law degree, an environmental lawyer may open up a private law office and serve his community by arguing environmental cases in court and pushing for stronger environmental legislation. Local bar associations may also have special interest groups within them, including those that work with matters of environmental concern.
Environmental Management - Student who pursue a degree in environmental management acquire in depth theoretical knowledge in the principles of environmental concerns and laws affecting the environment. Upon graduating, students have the abilities to apply their knowledge to practical settings and help promote the many efforts to resolve issues affecting the environment and its natural resources as a whole.
The courses in this degree program are challenging, and the best way to prepare for an environmental management degree program is to acquire mathematical skills as well as knowledge in biological studies. Pollution and other contaminants in the air and water are currently affecting the climate as well as the health of people in general. More private and federal organizations are hiring environmental specialists to help these organizations resolve emerging issues that affect society. For this reason, the salaries for environmental specialists are competitive in comparison to other careers, and the job opportunities are also expected to increase over the next decade.
Environmental Planning / Urban Environmental Planning - As regions become increasingly concerned about the way resources are distributed, it has become more and more critical for people to become environmental planners. The ultimate goal for the career is to figure out how environmentalism affects how constructions of cities are designed. The focus of the planning is to have communities achieve development in a sustainable manner and use resources in a way that the general population and the ecosystem can both enjoy.
In general, an environmental planner must go to school to become trained to work with local agencies to figure out how construction projects will affect resources and the environment. In the United States, planners work with the EPA to examine city planning impact and urban development.
Environmental Policy - Firms are looking for well-spoken individuals to be passionate and speak for their causes. There is a great need for trained environmental policy practitioners. Those seeking employment in the field should look for employers who are interested in bridging the gap that exists between scientists and policy makers. In every workplace, one can find environmental issues. As awareness of these issues is raised, the need for people with a vast knowledge of science and policy knowledge continues to increase. While the more developed nations of the world are ahead in Environmental Policies, some of the poorer nations of the world require significant assistance. The need for graduates in these nations is great, as these people are able to come up with solutions that are both innovative and effective. Those looking to pursue senior positions are able to work towards an advanced degree. Pursuing an advanced degree can give students confidence to do more extensive training and skills in research. Obtaining a degree in Environmental Policy can also prepare you for degrees in medicine, law and graduate studies. By building a great resume and gaining extensive knowledge through in-depth research, there is a job to match every strength in the field of Environmental Policy. Dedicated individuals with a passion for the environment and helping others can go very far in this field.
Environmental Protection - Environmental Protection professionals are needed to ensure current and future standards be met and maintained to ensure safe water, clean air, adequate and safe waste management operations, and hazard, chemical, and radiation prevention and eradication.
Environmental Psychology - Overall, the field of environmental psychology is rewarding and lucrative. The field effectively observes the relationship between people and their social and natural environment. This psychology field helps to create basic correlations about environmental factors that can help to improve the quality of life. The benefits of this degree include excellent interpersonal skills, enhanced problem-solving skills, and an increased concern in the environmental health of people. Many professionals that have undergraduate degrees in this field succeed in teaching, in positions like management, government and planning. Regardless of the kind of psychology program; a student should plan to take courses in statistics, social ecology, cultural theories, human-environment interactions, architectural psychology, and environmental science. This field is also ideal for any graduate that desires to open a private clinical practice or a successful consulting firm. A degree in environmental psychology is a prerequisite for opening a private practice as well as conducting patient care. This degree would be perfect for anyone that enjoys helping others, engaging in a challenging curriculum, and obtaining a satisfying career.
Environmental Remediation - A career in environmental remediation is challenging because of the complex nature of the work and also rewarding due to the benefits to the environment of cleaning up pollution. Despite being a relatively new field of endeavor environmental remediation includes a wide variety of educational opportunities and career options that range from machine operation to governmental regulator. Employment prospects in this career field are expected to grow as the world population continues to increase and access to clean soil, water and air become more important both in the United States and worldwide.
Environmental Resources Management - Environmental resources management students prepare for a career in a wide range of specializations. The educational process to become an environmental resources manager includes coursework in a number of important environmental topics. Graduates are hired by private corporations and government entities to oversee, manage and conserve important natural resources including soil, water, air, oil, timber, minerals and other natural products. For people who want to work in a field that protects the natural environment by encouraging sustainability and conservation, environmental resources management is an excellent career choice.
Environmental Science - With regulations becoming more and more strict, with new New Emission Source Hazardous Air Pollution (NESHAP) requirements coming into play, the need for dedicated professionals in environmental science is becoming more necessary. There are many options to choose from to gain a rewarding career in environmental science and if experience is an issue in the case of some jobs, there are volunteering options, as well as intern options to help get a leg up against potential competition. When choosing the right school, make sure it is regionally accredited and listed with the United States Department of Education so that the degree will garner the consideration needed in the job market.
Environmental Studies - You may be dedicated towards improving the current environmental issues society faces today. If you are passionate about the environment, then pursuing a degree in environmental studies is perfect for your needs. A normal course of study involves core classes in environmental science and other related topics such as biology, economics, climate change, and human impact. Most programs require intensive writing, internships, and sometimes clinical or lab research. There are several ways to get an online degree if you are currently working or in a different field and looking to switch over. Graduates can look forward to a plethora of jobs in almost every field possible, as environmental studies is a highly interdisciplinary field.
Environmental Sustainability – Sustainable Environment professions are on the cutting edge. No one can go wrong entering into or advancing their knowledge of environmental sustainability. This is the future and many should investigate getting in and growing with it.
Environmental Systems - Environmental systems students study a broad interdisciplinary curriculum that prepares them for a wide range of careers. Students that pursue this degree can expect to take courses in science, engineering, social science and legal topics in preparation for working in private industry, consulting or for a governmental agency. Because of an increased focus on cleaning up currently polluted sites and preventing new contamination to the environment, most environmental careers including environmental systems can expect to experience increased job opportunities in the future.
Environmental Technology - A career in environmental technology can be rewarding and challenging for an individual who has a passion for earth sciences and environmental stewardship. The coursework is demanding and requires an aptitude for math and science, as well the ability to collect and analyze data, attention to detail, and the ability to summarize and effectively communicate and act on the data received.
A well-rounded environmental technology degree program from an accredited institute of higher learning will guide the student and help them to develop these critical skills. The program should include introductory courses to provide a good foundation of basic knowledge in the field, and a combination of in-depth courses in specialized areas of environmental technology and the appropriate lab and field work to supplement these courses and allow the student to put their knowledge to practical use.
Once the student has earned their degree, certification in specialized areas is encouraged. This is a wide-open field with lots of opportunity for the individual who is passionate about finding ways to study, care for, and manage our vital resources.
Environmental Toxicology - Environmental toxicology is a challenging scientific field. The average pay in this field is greater than the national average pay, and the specialized education can help provide a measure of job security that some career categories lack. In the future, the knowledge gained by studying environmental toxicology will be in even greater demand than today as the public becomes more aware of environmental issues and past environmental pollution is addressed and cleaned up. The variety of career options include the possibility of traveling to various job site locations, the opportunity to work outdoors and educating people about environmental issues. Earning a degree in this field requires in-depth coursework coupled with hands-on training; but most graduates find the rewarding work of helping to clean and preserve the environment is worth the time spent achieving an environmental toxicology degree.
Forestry - Forestry is an excellent degree for people who are environmentally conscious and enjoy the outdoors. Students who enroll in one of the many accredited forestry degree programs in the United States take a number of classes that address all aspects of forest growth and management. Although foresters spend long hours in a physically demanding job that might include cruising timber, inspecting trees for signs of disease, investigating and cataloging trees or assigning timber values, the work they perform is also rewarding. Foresters have the option to work in the private sector or in government jobs that allow them to serve the public and preserve a beautiful and important natural resource. Increased environmental awareness and demand for natural wood products ensure that a degree in forestry will continue to be in demand.
Zoology - Zoology is one of the oldest sciences that humans have been studying, and research in this field is only increasing with time. Global warming and lost habitats of wild animals have directed the attention of many countries and international organizations towards animal conservation. In recent times, zoologists have played an important role in developing information about our dependence on animals in the field or in laboratories. New drugs which can cure many diseases are derived from cellular level research on animals.
Students who find biology and animal science intriguing should consider studies in zoology. Zoology coursework for a Bachelor’s degree requires 3 to 4 years to complete, whereas it takes 2 additional years for a Master’s and more than 2-3 more after the completion of Master’s for a Doctoral degree. Around the world, numerous universities recognize the importance of Zoology and numerous courses in the area. Research institutes and private companies offer jobs in the field. Zoologists earn a modest but sufficient income as zookeepers, animal welfare officers, researchers, environmentalists, and more. Some of the most interesting, dangerous and fascinating career opportunities are opened up through the study of Zoology.