Developing an Environmental Career

in Environment

Green jobs, green industry, green collar - all are catch phrases for the new businesses and industry sectors developing that are based on the notion of sustainability. The concept has been represented for years by the recycling process applied to cans, bottles and paper.  Today, the concept is being applied to multiple areas where humans have impact on the environment, damaging naturally occurring sustainable ecosystems.  Measures to reduce the causes of global warming are the most public example of environmental endeavors at the moment.

Environmental careers vary tremendously but all of them are working towards the goal of reducing human impact on existing sustainable ecosystems.  Engineers that work with industries attempting to reduce their output of greenhouse gases are an example of an environmental professional working with a business that has committed to taking a step toward sustainability.  You'll find environmental engineers working in government agencies on cleaning up hazardous waste, bringing companies into compliance with clean water and clean air standards, and designing new wastewater treatment plants.

A bachelor's degree in environmental science will give you access to entry level positions in the field.  Tasks may include collecting data for a clean water study or a site with possible hazardous material on it.  Many people in the environmental field try to find a job with a bachelor' s degree while continuing to work on a master's  degree in the field.

Most professionals working in the environmental field hold master's degrees.  New professionals in the field are increasingly obtaining degrees in environmental science, but other life science degrees are also found in the profession including chemistry, geology, geophysics, atmospheric science, and physics.  Scientists with these degrees find jobs where their educational focus fits into a job with a government agency or environmental consulting firm.

Individuals who want to teach or do research in this field usually hold a doctorate. That degree also may be in environmental science or in another life science.  Research in this field is particularly interesting at this point in time, due to the extraordinary efforts in many areas of human activity to develop sustainable practices. 

The debate over the use of ethanol in gasoline is an example.  Researchers found that ethanol made from corn can be used as automobile fuel.  Thousands of acres of corn were planted, replacing other crops, and ethanol processing plants were built.  Research then showed that more energy is consumed in the production of ethanol than provided by the fuel that is manufactured.

Some schools are offering degrees in sustainable business management.  Others have MBA degrees with a focus on green industrial management.  These are example of schools adapting traditional degree programs to the new business orientation that includes environmental responsibility.  An MBA degree with sustainability concentration should be a welcome mixture of skills for many businesses hiring new executives today.

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Bob Hartzell has 1 articles online

Bob Hartzell writes on careers for On the website you'll find comprehensive resources for environmental degrees as well as information on educational opportunities for hundreds of other professions.

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This article was published on 2010/03/27