What type of education and experience do I need for a career in environmental science and conservation?
Education, training, and experience.
You can start applying for internships and summer jobs as soon as you start college but most career-track jobs will be looking for a completed bachelor’s degree. In most cases the name of your major is secondary to the courses you completed. Employers are going to be looking for specific courses and specific credits in different topics. The requirements of our majors incorporate the courses most commonly looked for by employers.
Don’t underestimate the importance of the general education courses you are required to complete. No matter what your job, you will need to have solid writing and public speaking skills and be able to think critically and creatively. These abilities are at the core of a liberal arts education such as Environmental Studies and are valued by employers.
In addition to your required college courses, look for other training opportunities that will strengthen your qualifications. These can include elective courses here at UNO, or short courses, seminars, and webinars offered by professional organizations. Depending on your career goals, extra training in basic skills such as first aid or more technical training with popular software packages can help you meet the requirements employers are looking for.
Employers in the environmental sciences and related fields place a heavy emphasis on gaining relevant experience. Don’t underestimate the importance of time and resources devoted to gaining this experience for your future career. The fact that all Environmental Studies majors are required to complete an internship (ENVN 4800) is a reflection of the importance we place on gaining real-world experience as part of your education. However, you are encouraged to view the internship as just one part of the experience you accumulate during your college career.
For more information on how to get relevant experience visit the jobs and internships page.
A former Nature Conservancy Hubbard Fellow wrote a nice posting for the Prairie Ecologist blog outlining the lessons she learned by evaluating applications from other students and recent graduates looking for jobs.
Eric Walters, a professor at Old Dominion University provides his advice for students pursing careers in ecology.
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