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Environmental Career Paths

Many households and companies have incorporated environmentally friendly habits into their daily routines. Helping the environment during family time is a wonderful choice, but for a number of individuals, there is a desire to do more.

Are you one of those committed people ready to turn your passion for green living into a full time job?  If so, there is a growing list of environmental career options available to help you reach your goal of landing a rewarding “green job.”

From agricultural engineer and geoscientist to urban planner and landscape architect, there is sure to be a career path that’s the perfect fit for your interests, skills and educational background.

Here are some of the possible career paths.

Federal government. In the public sector, a number of government agencies offer promising green career options: The Bureau of Land Management, Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Peace Corps, Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation and Soil Conservation Service represent a sampling of agencies that may be the right fit for you. Government job titles may include environmental engineer or biofuel engineer, or you may find work with the military as a nonmilitary consultant.

The EPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in particular concentrate primarily on environmental issues.  With top priorities like acting against climate change, improving air quality, protecting US waters, dealing with massive oil spills and accelerating community cleanup, these two agencies would be a good place to start looking for jobs that match your passion for helping the environment.

Consulting firms and labs. Jobs in these sectors vary, but might include titles such as biofuel engineer or ecological consultant. The fields of clean tech and alternative energy may include jobs like research analyst, program manager or basic scientists, with work focusing on environmentally friendly energy sources.

The career path for any environmental job will depend on the nature of the position and the company, but it’s a safe bet that the advantage is given to individuals with a degree in the environmental sciences.  Environmental science majors leave college with a strong foundation in math, physics, biology and chemistry, as well as a demanding slate of environmental science courses that require students to apply basic principles of science to problems in the environment. An environmental science degree is the best preparation for those students interested in green jobs in government, education, industry or consulting, as coursework in this field will provide the technical skills and knowledge necessary to advance in the profession. 

Careers in the environmental sciences are sure to expand in the future, and salaries tend to be quite good, especially if you have an advanced degree or a specific area of expertise and are qualified to be the director of one of the EPA’s or NOAA’s programs.  By looking around now for jobs of interest to you, you can tailor your educational and career path to set you up nicely for the green job of your dreams!

No matter what environmental career path you choose to follow, you will be rewarded by your efforts and, in the long run, so will the environment.


This guest post was provided by Erin Palmer. Erin is a contributor to U.S News University Directory a leading resource for locating online bachelor’s degrees and masters programs from accredited colleges. The directory also offers a growing collection of education articles and career videos for your review. For more information please visit