Career Services

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Environmental Studies/Science

What can I do with this major?

Area

Employer

Information/Strategies

Soil Science

  • Soil and Water Conservation
  • Land Use Planning
  • Waste Disposal
  • Environmental Compliance
  • Reclamation of Contaminated Lands
  • Landfill Operation and Monitoring
  • Agrichemical Management
  • Fertilizer Technology
  • Agricultural Production
  • Research
  • Education
  • Government agencies including:
    • 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
  • Universities
  • Maintain knowledge of current environmental issues including policy, conservation, and industry trends.
  • Develop acute observational skills.
  • Stay current on technology used in natural resource management including software, geographical information systems, and global positioning systems.
  • Seek related experience through co-ops, internships, or part-time jobs in area of interest.
  • Gain extensive laboratory and research experience to prepare for research positions.
  • Participate in related clubs, organizations, and soil judging teams to build contacts and cultivate academic interests.
  • Learn about certification programs offered by the Soil Science Society of America including soil science and agronomy.
  • Become familiar with the federal job application procedure for government employment.
  • Obtain Ph.D. for optimal research and university teaching careers.

Solid Waste Management

  • Chemistry
  • Engineering
  • Hydrology
  • Logistics
  • Planning
  • Recycling
  • Transportation
  • Compliance
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Private waste management firms
  • Consulting firms
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Develop strong communication skills, both written and oral.
  • Develop decision-making and problem-solving skills, diplomacy, and the ability to work under pressure.
  • Gain familiarity with current technologies, regulations, and statutes.
  • Join community groups or service organizations that focus on environmental awareness; attend public meetings about waste management.
  • Become flexible and learn to look at issues from various perspectives.

Hazardous Waste Management

  • Hydrogeology
  • Quality Control
  • Risk Assessment
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Public and Environmental Health
  • Industrial Hygiene
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Geology
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Planning
  • Compliance
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Private companies that generate hazardous waste in production
  • Hazardous waste management firms
  • Consulting firms
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Consider a double major in hard science or engineering.
  • Attend public meetings on hazardous waste issues.
  • Gain laboratory experience and computer expertise.
  • Complete an internship in a government office or regulatory agency.
  • Gain experience with technical writing.
  • Get involved with local chapters of citizen watch groups.
  • Become familiar with Superfund and its activities.

Air Quality Management

  • Engineering
  • Planning
  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Environmental Quality Analysis
  • Meteorology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Safety and Health Management
  • Toxicology
  • Project Development
  • Compliance
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Private industry
  • Consulting firms
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Stay up-to-date with federal regulations and both industry and regional standards.
  • Additional training in economics and policy is desirable.
  • Develop strong oral communication and technical writing skills.
  • Learn to work well under pressure and develop negotiation skills.
  • Seek volunteer or paid positions within area environmental groups.

Water Quality Management

  • Aquatic Ecology
  • Aquatic Toxicology
  • Biology
  • Civil/Environmental Engineering
  • Hydrogeology and Hydrology
  • Drinking Water Supply and Treatment
  • Waste Water Treatment
  • Groundwater Protection
  • Surface Water Management
  • Estuary Management
  • Wetlands Protection
  • Compliance
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Corporations
  • Consulting firms
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Treatment plants
  • Develop a strong chemistry background by taking additional courses.
  • Obtain laboratory skills by assisting faculty with research projects.
  • Maintain current knowledge of industry trends and regulations.
  • Develop interpersonal, oral communication, and technical writing skills.
  • Seek an advanced degree in policy for increased marketability.
  • Learn about certification programs offered by the American Institute of Hydrology.
  • Learn to use the tools and software associated with watershed modeling.

Land and Water Conservation

  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Planning
  • Law
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Preserve Management
  • Natural Resource Management
  • Soil Conservation
  • Land Acquisition
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Indian nations
  • Utilities and timber companies
  • Consulting firms
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Land trust organizations such as The Nature Conservancy or Trust for Public Land
  • Gain a solid background in the basic sciences while obtaining a broad-based education.
  • Obtain legal, real estate, and financial skills through coursework, internships or part-time jobs.
  • Volunteer through the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and hold an office.
  • Keep up with new funding sources.
  • Consider law school for careers as counsel to environmental organizations.

Fishery and Wildlife Management

  • Aquaculture
  • Botany
  • Data Management
  • Biology
  • Hatchery Management
  • Marine Biology
  • Ecology
  • Education
  • Research
  • Planning
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Marine sport fisheries
  • Utility companies
  • Developers
  • Timber companies
  • Wildlife ranges
  • Scientific foundations
  • Zoological parks
  • Hunting and fishing clubs
  • Consulting firms
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Develop a broad scientific education.
  • Obtain skills in areas such as planning, administration, communications, and negotiation through coursework, internships, or part-time jobs.
  • Get experience and skills in computers, statistics and computer modeling.
  • Join the Peace Corps as a segue way into federal government positions.
  • Learn about the federal job application process.

Parks and Outdoor Recreation

  • Administration and Management
  • Law Enforcement
  • Recreation Planning
  • Natural Resource Management
  • Research
  • Site Operations and Maintenance
  • Ecotourism
  • Direct Mail Merchandising
  • National Park Service
  • Federal agencies
  • State, county, or city parks
  • Resorts
  • Marinas
  • Privately owned facilities
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Tourism agencies
  • Develop a broad-based education that will develop both technical and interpersonal skills.
  • Gain expertise in additional areas such as communications, writing, fund-raising, negotiation, and computer applications.
  • Obtain working knowledge of a foreign language such as Spanish.
  • Learn to work well with and communicate with all types of people.
  • Participate in travel and recreation programs.
  • Join related organizations and seek leadership roles to gain experience planning trips and other programs.

Forestry

  • Consulting
  • Entomology
  • Hydrology
  • Natural Resource Management
  • Planning
  • Research
  • International Forestry
  • Urban Forestry
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Consulting firms
  • Timber companies
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Obtain skills with computers, statistics, and accounting through coursework, internships or part-time jobs.
  • Develop good communication and public relations skills.
  • Get a minor or double major in a technical area (soil science, wildlife or surveying) or in an arts and science area (business, economics, political science or computer science).

Environmental Education and Communication

  • Teaching
  • Journalism
  • Tourism
  • Law Regulation
  • Compliance
  • Political Action/Lobbying
  • Federal, state, and local government
  • Public and private elementary, middle, and high schools
  • Two-year community colleges
  • Four-year institutions
  • Corporations
  • Consulting firms
  • Media
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • Political Action Committees
  • Master public speaking skills.
  • Learn certification/licensure requirements for teaching public K-12 schools.
  • Develop creative hands-on strategies for teaching/learning.
  • Publish articles in newsletters or newspapers.
  • Learn environmental laws and regulations.
  • Join professional associations and environmental groups as ways to network.
  • Become active in environmental political organizations.

Planning

  • Air Quality
  • Aviation
  • Building/Zoning
  • Land-Use
  • Consulting
  • Recreation
  • Transportation
  • Water Resources
  • Federal, state, regional, and local government
  • Corporations
  • Consulting firms
  • Banks
  • Real estate development companies
  • Law firms
  • Architectural firms
  • Market research companies
  • Colleges and universities
  • Nonprofit groups
  • Get on planning boards, commissions, and committees.
  • Have a planning specialty (transportation, water resources, air quality, etc.).
  • Master communication, mediation and writing skills.
  • Network in the community and get to know "who's who" in your specialty area.
  • Develop a strong scientific or technical background.
  • Diversify your knowledge base. For example, in areas of law, economics, politics, historical preservation, or architecture.

Environmental Law

  • Teaching
  • Journalism
  • Tourism
  • Law Regulation
  • Compliance
  • Political Action/Lobbying
  • Law firms
  • Large corporations
  • Federal and State government agencies including:
    • US Environmental Protection Agency
    • Department of Justice
    • Attorney General Office
  • Nonprofit organizations, e.g. Green Action and Natural Resources Defense Council
  • Earn a law degree. Prepare for law school by maintaining a high g.p.a. and studying for the LSAT.
  • Build strong recommendations from faculty.
  • Work a part-time or summer job in a law firm.
  • Develop strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Participate in pre-law honor societies, debate teams, or moot court.

General Information and Strategies

  • Environmental studies and environmental science differ from each other in the amount of science course work needed.
  • Environmental studies provides a broad base of hard sciences as well as liberal arts or social science coursework.
  • Environmental science incorporates hard sciences and environmental sciences.
  • Choice depends upon career focus, for example, administration or policy-making versus technical areas or research.
  • Combine liberal arts skills with analytical skills to increase employability. Formally, obtain a double major or minor in one of these areas. Informally, obtain these skills through internships, co-ops, volunteer work, summer jobs, or independent research projects.
  • Become familiar with current environmental laws and regulations. Stay up-to-date with changing environmental legislation.
  • Join related professional associations; read related literature and journals to keep up with new developments.
  • Attend seminars, conferences and workshops sponsored by professional associations or public interest groups.
  • Network and get to know people who are working in area of interest.
  • Research agencies/organizations of interest before applying for a position.
  • Learn local, state and federal government job application procedures.
  • Obtain graduate degree for job security/advancement.

Last modified: Oct 20, 2011

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