Want to save the world? If you specialize in environmental studies or environmental science, you’re preparing for a range of careers that can do just that.
The ES majors base their idealism on scientific rigor. As a student in this field, you will need the ability to understand and apply complex concepts in biology, chemistry, geology and physics. You will also learn to apply quantitative and qualitative analytical skills to solve problems and interpret research data. Your creativity will help you design research models to study environmental issues.
Ultimately, your career path will depend on the unique configuration of skills, interests and values you bring, but it will help if you are passionate about topics such as sustainability, conservation, ecology, climate change and alternative energy sources.
Top jobs for majors in environmental studies
Organizations of all kinds must prepare environmental impact assessments when considering the development of virgin land or the use of land currently developed for other purposes. As an environmental consultant, you will use analytical tools to assess the impact of development projects on the water, soil, air or wildlife in the area. When problematic impacts are identified, you will suggest ways to mitigate potential effects. In other cases, organizations may lead you to solve existing problems – such as pollution – and recommend solutions.
You will use advanced writing and presentation skills while graduating to write technical reports and provide recommendations to clients.
Environmental Studies majors gain a broad perspective on environmental issues that can be useful to you as an environmental educator. You will learn about the environment surrounding your geographic area of practice and rely on your training to collect and interpret information and conduct field work.
It is important to convey a sense of excitement in your interactions with visitors or students, and polite public speaking skills on campus will help you deliver dynamic presentations.
Public Relations Specialist
Environmental organizations need to influence public perceptions to gain political and financial support for their initiatives. As a public relations specialist or communications staff member, you will use the knowledge you gained as an environmental studies graduate to produce press releases about the programs and activities of your employer’s or client’s organizations. You will use your writing skills to develop content for the websites of environmental entities and to help write text for brochures and fundraising letters.
If you choose to go to law school after graduating in environmental studies, your scientific knowledge will be an asset when working with clients on environmental cases. You will interview expert witnesses such as environmental engineers, biologists, chemists and other environmental scientists while you prepare and argue cases. You will interpret scientific material and assess the validity/reliability of these results.
As a lawyer, your writing skills will help you prepare legal briefs and other documents. You may assist in drafting environmental regulations if you work for a government entity.
When technical solutions are needed to solve environmental contamination or pollution problems, environmental engineers are often called upon to propose and implement these systems. In this role, you will draw on environmental science knowledge when designing environmental technology and use the quantitative skills developed as a graduate in environmental studies when calculating the physical dimensions of systems.
You will be required to write project proposals and present recommendations to clients that demonstrate that you have researched and defended a position, collaborated with other professionals, designed solutions and presented them in a clear and concise manner.
Organizations of all kinds are looking for greener ways to perform their functions. As a sustainability specialist, you’ll assess an organization’s environmental practices and impact, and recommend and implement strategies to conserve resources and limit environmental damage.
Knowledge of scientific methodology is essential to conduct sophisticated assessments of the environmental impact of current operations and to determine the conservation benefits that result from implementing alternative processes.
You will use your writing, presentation and interpersonal skills developed as a graduate in environmental studies to write proposals and encourage your colleagues to adopt alternative practices.
To effectively target potential donors for contributions to environmental causes, fundraisers must have a solid understanding of their organization’s goals and operations. As a graduate in environmental studies, you are well positioned to acquire this knowledge and convey the benefits of supporting environmental initiatives.
In this role, you will rely on strong communication skills to write letters and make presentations to potential contributors. You must also be organized to orchestrate fundraising events and plan campaigns.
The development of realistic environmental policy proposals requires a thorough knowledge of scientific concepts. As a graduate in environmental studies, you must have the ability to learn new scientific information and a solid foundation in biology, chemistry and physics.
Your research skills will help you discover information related to public policy recommendations, and your analytical and statistical skills will help interpret and process this information. The technical writing skills you acquired as an environmental studies graduate will be needed to write science-based policy documents.