Great Career Paths for Environmental Studies Majors
Environmental Studies degrees are highly versatile and can lead to a number of good career choices. Students who study Environmental Studies gain a thorough understanding of environmental topics, including research skills, knowledge about public policy, knowledge about ecosystems and the environmental challenges humans face, among others. Even for your entry level job, you can end up doing desk work, field work, working for the government, working for a private organization, working for yourself or something in between. Here are some examples and suggestions of career paths you can take with an Environmental Studies degree.
Depending on your specialty, you could focus your career on plants or animals, and protecting them from the harm humans do them, either by doing research or working directly for conservation efforts. Forestry continues to be a growing field, and there are many scientists working on conservation efforts to protect endangered animal species in the US and around the world.
The Clean Energy Industry
You could also work in the clean energy industry, which has seen unprecedented growth in the last decade or so. Wind, solar, and geothermal have all emerged as career fields with a lot of promise, and those who have studied Environmental Studies will be well-equipped to be successful.
You could work in law, or as a consultant to lawyers, in regards to environmental issues. Be aware, though, becoming an environmental lawyer might not make your dreams of defending the environment come true. Many students are discouraged when they realize there are few jobs available defending the environment, and a lot more for the companies polluting the environment, such as mining companies. It’s still possible to achieve your dream, just be aware of the possible upward slog you might experience.
You could work for a non-profit organization, such as the Defenders of Wildlife or the World Wildlife Fund. They look for passionate, experienced advocates for the environment.
You could also work in politics as a lobbyist, informing elected officials of environmental issues. Politicians simply do not have the time or inclination to be experts on every subject, and so it is up to lobbyists to inform and persuade politicians, on the local, state, and federal levels, of environmental issues.
You could work in the health field, specializing in environmental-related human conditions cased by toxins or pollutants in the environment. Whether an emergency occurs or environmental health-related issues come up over time due to humans constantly living near toxins and pollutants, you could be the specialist to save their lives and make their quality of life better.
You could become a non-fiction writer, either working for magazines or as a freelancer. Writers with a background in environmental science have the responsibility of bringing environmental issues to the attention of the public. Some of the most famous environmental authors have been: Rachel Carson (Silent Spring), Aldo Leopold (A Sand County Almanac), Sigurd Olson (The Singing Wilderness and other books about his experiences in the north woods) and even Dr. Seuss with The Lorax, even though he was not an environmental scientist.
Perhaps obviously, another career path is to become an educator about the environment, either as a traditional teacher or an educator at state or national parks or nature centers. If you enjoy sharing your love and knowledge of the environment with others, this might be a good career path option. Most colleges have Environmental Studies programs, and more and more high schools are offering classes on Environmental Studies and need people to teach them.
As you can see, there are many career paths and options for Environmental Studies majors, because the degree is broad and equips you with the knowledge and a number of skills that gives you many career options.