Environmental Scientists are helping lead the way toward a better future. Students in the field are gaining the leadership and analytical skills that will be in demand as we face tomorrow’s challenges. They’re addressing environmental problems head on, and they’re finding solutions that governments, private industry, and NGOs are turning to address issues of climate change and environmental degradation.
By studying subjects as diverse as climatology, ecology, wildlife conservation, and natural resource policy and management, Environmental Science graduates are poised to enter a wide range of careers.
Graduate students earning Environmental Science degrees are entering an expanding field, with better than average job growth. Young professionals can look forward to full-time employment and competitive pay, though to land the most competitive jobs it may be necessary to get hands-on experience with internships and volunteer work during college.
Let’s explore five potential career paths for tomorrow’s environmental scientists.
Industries all over the globe are interested in improving the sustainability of their operations, both for the moral responsibility and because eliminating wasteful practices benefits their bottom line. More and more, environmental scientists are working as consultants who use analytical tools to help businesses find ways to reduce the impact of their operations. Environmental consulting encompasses a wide range of disciplines and professionals in this area find themselves specializing in everything from supply chain management, to environmental design, to implementing sustainable business practices.
Companies that bring environmental consultants on full-time often do so under the title Sustainability Specialist. In such a role, you’ll work closely with all areas of a business or organization and lead the way toward limiting environmental damage through the business’ daily operations.
Many graduate students who earn master’s degrees in Environmental Science go on to earn law degrees and enter the field of environmental law. Environmental lawyers work with clients on case law and legislation focusing on a range of environmental issues. They also analyze complex environmental regulations on behalf of their clients. Legal work is both intellectually stimulating and financially rewarding but does require an extensive educational background. For those who want a more hands-on approach, Conservation Law Enforcement offers an opportunity to work on criminal justice issues while defending the Earth’s resources.
Many environmental scientists go on to become passionate instructors in both secondary and higher education. Professorships will require you to go on to earn a doctorate, while joining secondary education usually requires credentialing, though that depends on the state in which you wish to teach. These educators also work with nonprofits and conservation groups to educate the public about environmental issues.
You’ll be working with young minds to shape their ideas and opinions about climate change, the environment, and much more. The work is often done in the classroom, but many environmental educators work in parks, land trusts, and preservations. Wherever they teach, environmental educators are tasked with understanding complex scientific issues and explaining them to students with non-technical backgrounds.
Those with outgoing personalities and a love of working with the public find this career extremely rewarding.
If you’re drawn to data collection and analysis, working in research might be your ideal career. Although environmental researchers are most commonly employed at universities and in government agencies, the private sector also relies on environmental scientists to analyze and assess threats to the environment.
Environmental scientists have to be adept at technical reporting and presenting their findings, and this is especially true for researchers who will be called upon to explain their work to a wide range of audiences.
More than a third of environmental scientists are employed with state and local governments. They’re working as environmental restoration planners, climate change analysts, environmental health specialists, and more. Cities and states and other municipalities depend on these professionals to develop and enforce the regulations that protect our health and the environment.
Qualifications will vary by area, but most government agencies are looking for environmental scientists with graduate experience, given the complex and often high-profile nature of their work.
Nonprofits and Advocacy
The Non-profit sector, including foundations and NGOs, offers many career opportunities for environmental scientists. Whether it’s in developing policy for advocacy groups or serving as a fundraiser or publicity specialist for environmental non-profits, you’ll need skills in management, policy, and communications, along with a strong understanding of science to support your work.
Full-time employment in the nonprofit sector can be competitive. Volunteering during college can help launch your paid career after graduation.
There are many career paths open to those who pursue a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science. This list is just a jumping off point; environmental scientists enjoy rewarding careers in air and water quality, waste management, natural resource planning, forestry, wildlife management, and more. Whatever path you choose, you’ll be making a positive impact on the environment and the way we interact with nature.
Unity’s Online Master’s in Professional Science is an ideal program for students wanting to engage in environmental issues and to make a positive impact through their work.
Learn more about Unity College by visiting online.unity.edu/learn-more or call 1-833-UnityGO.