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10 Degrees to Pursue for a Career in Environmental Sustainability

APR 06, 2021

With increased awareness around climate change and environmental sustainability, college degrees that support careers with an eco-friendly focus are becoming more appealing to future generations of business people, philanthropists, scientists and more! Earth Day is just around the corner, so we put together a list of 10 college degrees you may want to consider if you’ve got your sights set on a career that makes a positive environmental impact.

In recent years, the global climate crisis has become less of an issue of opinion and (thankfully!) more an issue of fact. It can be a bleak topic — but in the words of the UN Secretary General, “the climate emergency is a race we are losing, but it is a race we can win.”

As the industrial and corporate worlds shift to not only acknowledge, but understand and even promote the importance of environmental conservation, companies and entire industries are looking for new ways to operate in a more eco-friendly manner.

For students interested in a career that contributes — directly or indirectly — to a sustainable future, having knowledge of things like sustainable energy and resource management can open many doors! As such, we’ve compiled a list of 10 degrees that could help you pursue a career in a field that supports a greener and cleaner world.

1. Environmental Engineering

Environmental Engineers are a crucial part of green industry architecture and facilities that require alternative resources to operate. From insulation to HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) to innovating building materials, these engineers change the way our living spaces work for the better.

2. Environmental Chemistry

Environmental Chemists are the first line of defense in the recovery of ecosystems from ecological tragedies. In a more professional sense, chemists are also involved with creating ways to handle pollution and the fallout of manufacturing. Much of the alternatives to fossil fuels begin in the environmental chemistry lab. This career is to the environmentally green industry as biotechnology is to the healthcare industry – it is hard to see it becoming anything other than a core profession.

3. Environmental Law

Environmental law is an integral part of the justice system, as impactful and widespread change often begins at the judicial level. Experts in policy development are often the catalyst behind emerging, environmentally conscious industries and their work helps make lasting change a reality.

4. Conservation Science

There are a wide range of options available to a Conservation Science grad. Fish and Wildlife Management is the traditional career path, and involves managing wildlife preservation efforts in local or natural habitats. The Conservation Science degree can also lead to careers in waste management, pollution control, and policy or compliance-related roles that offer a high degree of job security given the increased focus on environmental issues.

5. Sustainability

Many industries have pressing, long-term incentives for hiring Sustainability grads. With companies increasingly looking for greener ways to eliminate waste, handle recyclable materials, and incorporate environmentally friendly practices into their workflow, a degree in Sustainability has the unique ability to blend advances in environmental science and engineering with operations management. Consulting is also a viable path for people with this degree, as multiple firms seek out opportunities to become more environmentally friendly.

6. Waste Management

Waste Management is an important industry surrounding everything from hazardous waste to water pollution. It requires experts in chemistry, civil engineering, biology, urban engineering, and operations management, making people who have this specialized degree desirable to most manufacturing industries.

7. Biology

A Biology degree has many applications, and most industries have a vested interest in Biologists that understand organic sciences. The “green revolution” of today’s marketplace is in large part the product of increased understanding of living organisms and how they affect our environment. Few green industries did not start in a laboratory; and this connection between environmental science and biology will likely continue to drive this job market.

8. Business Management

As companies continue to go green, new products and services become valuable commodities in the marketplace. But their mere existence isn’t enough — their growth relies on the expertise of people with strong business chops to handle the logistics. There are many opportunities forthcoming in the business of sustainability, with a lot of investment capital on the table for people that know how to navigate this rapidly expanding market.

9. Renewable Energy Management

As advances in renewable energy technology become more widely available, the demand for people with knowledge of their inner workings rises. A Renewable Energy Manager monitors the technology that makes things like wind, solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal energy a viable alternative to more environmentally costly fuel sources.

10. Urban Planning

Urban Planning is an expanding industry that advances our understanding of urban living spaces and ecosystems to create better living standards in urban environments. A degree in Urban Planning is an intersection of many knowledge areas on this list and will appeal to those interested in practical environmental issues.

Are you curious about pursuing one of these degrees or something similar, but not sure where to start? Whether you need guidance finding the best university to pursue your environmental passion, or already have your sights set on your dream school but need help submitting your best possible application, Crimson has you covered! To learn more about how our students consistently get into world-leading universities on the road to their dream careers, click the link below to schedule a one-hour consultation with an Academic Advisor.

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