10 Best Cities For Environmental Jobs In The U.S.
According to a report from LinkedIn, the number of green jobs in the U.S. increased 237% in the last five years, but the availability of environmental jobs varies depending on what part of the U.S. you are in. Check out the best cities for environmental jobs to maximize your chances of a successful career in the field.
Environmental jobs will continue to be in demand as more businesses and governments focus on sustainability and more workers seek meaningful employment. To help you find green jobs that provide a positive environmental impact, we researched the best cities for environmental jobs in the U.S. This includes careers in wildlife conservation, environmental health and safety, and renewable energy. The cities are sorted by general region:
- Northeast Cities With Environmental Jobs
- Southwest Cities With Environmental Jobs
- West Coast Cities With Environmental Jobs
- Midwest Cities With Environmental Jobs
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Best Cities For Environmental Jobs By Region
We determined the best cities for environmental jobs in each region based on how many green jobs are available in that area and the average salaries for green jobs. Additional criteria for the cities on the list include sustainability initiatives in the area, environmentally friendly transportation options, and cost of living.
Northeast Cities With Environmental Jobs
The Northeast region of the U.S. is the most densely populated and has the most extensive public transportation offered anywhere in the country. If you can survive the harsh winters, this region features the best of what U.S. urban areas have to offer, from rich cultural events and large immigrant communities to historical sites and tourist attractions.
The Northeast has many opportunities for environmental planners, engineers, and analysts to help create sustainable cities for large numbers of people as we continue to see the effects of climate change. Environmental Health and Safety clean techs and managers are also in-demand to ensure that EPA, OSHA, and other government laws and regulations are being followed.
- New York City, NY: New York is the largest city in the U.S. and is the economic hub of the country. If you like fast-paced hustle and bustle, this is the place for you. New York and the neighboring city of Newark, New Jersey, employ the most environmental scientists and specialists in the country. The city has excellent public transit and has vowed to be powered completely by clean energy by 2040. Other sustainability initiatives in the city include more green infrastructure and an increased focus on environmental justice.
- Washington D.C.: Washington D.C. sits between the northern and southern portions of the East Coast. While it’s pricey to live in D.C., the cost of living is lower than in many other East and West Coast cities. The city also has an extensive public transportation system. It ranks fourth in top-paying environmental science jobs, with an average annual salary of $107,530. Many environmental scientists, specialists, and technicians in D.C. work for the federal government in various agencies such as the EPA, USGS, and US Forest Service.
- Boston, MA: Boston is the metropolitan hub of New England and home to several top universities including MIT and Harvard. The city has a long-running public transit system, and all new buildings must comply with strict green infrastructure standards. Boston and the surrounding area are very windy, and wind farms are common in this area. That means lots of jobs in construction, architecture, and engineering occupations to design, build, and maintain wind turbines.
Major cities often have high living costs. Find a high-paying green job to fund your life in the big city.
Southwest Cities With Environmental Jobs
The Southwest region of the United States spans the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. This region offers a lot of wide-open spaces and a mix of desert, forest, and mountain climates between its metropolitan areas. The cost of living is generally lower than in the coastal regions of the country. However, there are also fewer public transportation options, even in major cities. Common environmental jobs in this area include clean energy jobs, outdoor recreation jobs, and forestry occupations jobs.
- Denver, CO: Denver is one of the best places to work as an environmental scientist because you can live in a big city and be only an hour’s drive from epic field sites. There is an abundance of outdoor recreation options for your off days, and Denver has a decent public transportation system. The average pay for environmental scientists in the area is $92,720. There are also many forestry and conservation science jobs available in Denver and the nearby Colorado cities of Boulder and Fort Collins.
- Santa Fe, NM: If you are looking for a city full of culture and surrounded by natural beauty, consider Santa Fe. It boasts the highest concentration of environmental science jobs of any metropolitan area in the country. This could be partly due to the city’s extensive 25-year sustainability plan. Located at 7,000 feet in the mountains, Santa Fe offers excellent outdoor recreation opportunities year-round from hiking to skiing. The cost of living in Santa Fe is higher than average, but the city has a strong public transportation system and is very bike-friendly.
- Houston, TX: Houston lies in between the Southwest and Southeast regions of the U.S. near the Gulf of Mexico. The city has a low cost of living compared to the others on this list, but unfortunately, it does not offer great eco-friendly transportation options. The main economy in the area is oil and gas, but recently there has been a shift towards more green energy options. Houston employs more wind turbine service technicians than any other metropolitan area in the country.
West Coast Cities With Environmental Jobs
The West Coast of the U.S. is made up of three large states – California, Oregon, and Washington. California is the top solar energy producer in the country, making it a hub for renewable energy jobs. West Coast cities are known for their progressive politics, temperate weather, and high cost of living. This region also offers lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation.
- San Francisco, CA: San Francisco is one of the major cities in California, a state with very strict environmental protection laws. Therefore, the state government employs many environmental professionals to conduct inspections, issue permits, and lead conversation efforts. Common green jobs in San Francisco and the surrounding area include biological scientists, solar panel installers, and data analysts. The Bay Area is known for being eco-friendly and progressive, so if you are passionate about helping the environment, you will fit in well here.
- Los Angeles, CA: Due mainly to its sunny weather year-round, LA is one of the best cities for renewable energy jobs. According to the BLS, the number of jobs for wind turbine service technicians is expected to increase by 68% in the next ten years, so this is an ideal field if you are seeking a stable career. LA also employs a large number of environmental scientists with an annual salary of $93,710. People living in LA can enjoy access to beaches, mountains, and deserts, all within a two-hour drive.
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Midwest Cities With Environmental Jobs
The Midwest is a large region of the U.S. that includes states from North Dakota to Missouri to Ohio. The region generally has a lower cost of living and less densely populated areas than other parts of the U.S. While this part of the country is not known for being eco-friendly, many cities have sustainability initiatives to reduce carbon emissions through energy efficiency and protect environmental resources by using more electric and hybrid vehicles. According to a 2021 report from NXTGEN Clean Energy Solution, over half a million midwesterners work in renewable energy.
- Kansas City, MO: Kansas City offers milder temperatures than many other midwest cities. It’s a diverse city with a cost of living that is 6% lower than the national average. The city is focused on reducing its carbon footprint with the Climate Protection and Resiliency Plan, which includes planting new trees across the city and offering free public transportation. Kansas City has high concentrations of jobs for environmental engineers, environmental science and protection technicians, and animal scientists.
- Minneapolis, MN: Minneapolis is a medium-sized city surrounded by beautiful lakes. This is an ideal location to settle in if you enjoy boating and fishing. The city experiences four distinct seasons. It’s also a very cyclist-friendly city. Lastly, Minneapolis employs more animal scientists than any other city, so consider moving here if you want to work in sustainable jobs like farming or wildlife biology.
Get An Environmental Degree With Distance Education At Unity Environmental University
There are various types of renewable energy jobs and other environmental jobs in U.S. cities across the country. No matter what city you end up in, a successful environmental career starts with the right degree. Unity Environmental University offers bachelor’s degrees completely online so that you can study from anywhere in the country. Our online programs offer flexible schedules, experiential fieldwork, and classes taught by leading environmental experts.
Not sure which degree you should pursue to help you land your environmental dream job? With Unity Environmental University’s career search tool, you can explore options by career interest, so whether your passion is working with plants, animals, people, or computers, you can find the right degree program for you.