Our planet is undergoing a population explosion numbering over 6.5 billion people and growing. This increase in the population worldwide has had a profound impact on the environment, especially the use of non-renewable resources, such as fossil fuels, and the output of excessive carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The actions we take to support our environment, especially those of us in developed countries, will play a key role in the future of humanity and the world.
Environmental Science offers the opportunity to study and work with these and other exciting topics. Environmental science is an interdisciplinary study that equips a student with many skills, which can lead to jobs in a variety of specialty areas including soil science, solid waste management, hazardous waste management, air quality management, water quality management, land and water conservation, fishery and wildlife management, parks and outdoor recreation, forestry, environmental education and communication, and environmental law.
Environmental Science is one of NHTI’s programs in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). According to the US Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are expected to grow by 17% through 2018 and STEM workers command earnings 26% more than their counterparts in non-STEM occupations. STEM jobs grew 7.9% from 2000 to 2008, for example, while non-STEM jobs grew just 2.6% during that time. Also, STEM workers earn more, from 12 – 60% more, than their counterparts with similar levels of education.
Visit NHTI’s Environmental Science Department for information on degree and course offerings.
- Career Paths for This Major
- Skills Developed Through This Major
- Sample Career Titles with This Degree
- Sample Employers
- Ways to Explore and Reality Test Careers
- How to Increase Employability
- Professional Association Links
- Employment and Internship Links
When you graduate with this major, you will have work options that are varied and that depend upon your specific interests, abilities, work values, and hands on experience in the field.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, federal, state, and local governments employ a significant percentage of all environmental scientists and specialists. Other environmental science graduates go to work for scientific, engineering, environmental, or technical consulting services. Some work in the areas of architecture, engineering, or construction. Others work with water, air, or soil. Some work on waste management, and some go into hazardous waste management. Some even work in the automotive industry. Some employers will prefer candidates with Masters Degrees, and research positions may require a Ph.D.
- research and problem-solving skills;
- analytical skills;
- competence in conceptualizing and understanding situations and then developing arguments from scientific, ethical and philosophical perspectives;
- ability to plan and manage projects;
- ability to gather, analyze, interpret and communicate complex technical data to others;
- flexibility to work in all kinds of environments, developed through field-work experience;
- use of field appropriate equipment for water quality testing and plant sampling;
- numerical and IT skills, developed through the application of statistics and measurement techniques;
- a broad understanding of local, national and global environmental issues.
With this associates degree…
- City Planning Aides
- Economic Research Assistants
- Grazing Examiners
- Soil Testers
- Meteorological Aids
- Tree Wardens
- Environmental Advocate
With a 4-year degree and beyond
- Air Pollution Analyst
- Air Quality Manager
- Biological Technician
- Chemical Technician
- Conservation Agent
- Ecological Modeler
- Environmental Advocate
- Environmental Air Monitor
- Environmental Chemist
- Environmental Consultant
- Environmental Coordinator
- Environmental Ecologist
- Environmental Health Manager
- Environmental Impact Analyst
- Environmental Planner
- Environmental Scientist (may require advanced degree)
- Environmental Specialist
- Environmental Technician
- Hazardous Waste Manager
- Park Ranger
- Regulatory Compliance Specialist
- Research Technician
- Resource Manager
- Science Teacher (may require certification)
- Water Quality Manager
- Wetlands Scientist
- Federal, state, and local government. Sample federal agencies: US Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Resource Conservation Services, USDA Forest Service, US Department of Health and Human Services
- State farm bureaus
- Environmental research laboratories
- Agricultural or environmental consultant firms
- Privately owned farms and ranches
- Power Companies
- Non-profit organizations
- Academic Institutions
- Private waste management firms
- Consulting firms
- Private companies that generate hazardous waste in production
- Hazardous waste management firms
There are four key ways to explore your favorite career interests…through reading, through speaking with those in the know, through observing and through doing. Use the link(s) below to begin exploring major related careers through ‘reading’. Go to the Exploring Career Interests link to get tips on all four key exploration strategies.
- Environmental Science and Protection Technicians
- Environmental Engineering Technicians
- City and Regional Planning Aides
- Environmental Scientists and Specialists
- Environmental Engineers
Additional sources of information for this major include:
- NHTI Faculty, Academic Advisors, and Environmental Science Department resources.
- Professionals who are working in the field
- Professional Associations (see below)
- Become an active student member of college, community, or professional associations, which helps you build leadership skills and promote connecting (networking) with fellow professionals.
- Obtain quality practical experience prior to graduation through part-time, full-time and summer employment/internship positions related to your targeted field.
- Participate in volunteer and service learning opportunities.
- Maintain knowledge of current environmental issues including policy, conservation, and industry trends. Stay current on technology used in natural resource management including software, geographical information systems, and global positioning systems.
- Become familiar with the federal job application procedure for government employment.
Professionals who do work related to this major belong to these associations. You can use the links below to do career research and to connect with local association members. You may also be able to join an association of interest, at a reduced rate, as a student member.
- American Geosciences Institute
- Association of American Geographers
- Geological Society of America
- National Association of Environmental Professionals
- National Environmental Health Association
- Ecological Society of America
- American Fisheries Society
- Air and Waste Management Association
See below for job posting sites related to this major (including our own home grown NHTI posting site – see first link).
- NHTI Job Posting Site
- Cyber-Sierra Natural Resources Job Search
- Environment Web Directory
- Environmental Career Center
- Environmental Careers Resource Guide
- Enviro Link
- The Student Conservation Association