What can I do with a degree in Environmental Studies?
I think I would like a career related to the environment but I don’t know what jobs are out there. Where can I find more information?
I am interested in the environment and sustainability but I don’t think I want my primary focus to be on the environmental sciences. What are my options?
I know what kind of job I want once I graduate. Will a degree in Environmental Studies prepare me for that job?
What is the outlook for the career I am interested in?
I am ready to start my search. How do I find an internship or job?
Careers related to environmental studies are incredibly diverse and it can be a challenge to focus in on one or a few areas. Once enrolled in the Environmental Studies Program you will get a better idea of what careers are available. Our seminar class for beginning students, ENVN 2010 Environmental Problems and Solutions, is designed to begin introducing you to the people at UNO and in the surrounding community who work in this field. A required internship helps students to further explore career options that are open to them.
There are several good resources to help you start exploring possible careers within environmental studies. EnvironmentalScience.org has a good career page providing the big picture about careers in fields related to environmental studies.
A degree in Environmental Studies from UNO can also help prepare you for careers in the emerging field of Sustainability. Sustainabilitydegrees.com offers a good overview of careers in this field.
The American Institute of Biological Sciences has a good overview of careers for students interested in Environmental Studies with a concentration in Life Sciences.
The My Next Move site provides lists of careers related to the sciences in general and includes jobs that might be of interest to majors in Environmental Studies. For some fields, careers are divided between entry level jobs (technicians) and jobs requiring additional training and experience (specialists). Careers in the environmental field include:
|Environmental Science & Protection Technician|
|Environmental Scientists & Specialists|
|Environmental Engineering Technicians|
You can also use a degree in Environmental Studies from UNO to help prepare you for careers in related fields including:
We are hearing more about “Green Careers” that integrate sustainability with other more traditional careers. Here at UNO we offer minors in Sustainability and in Environmental Studies that can be paired with other majors. The Guide to Green Careers provides a good overview of the growing area of interest.
The My Next Move site is a good place to start exploring jobs that are changing to incorporate more aspects of environmental sustainability. For example, as more businesses start to look for ways to become more environmentally sustainable, the demand for people trained in both business and environmental fields (Sustainability Specialists) is expected to grow.
A good starting point for deciding if Environmental Studies is an appropriate major for the career you are interested in is to compare the training you will receive as a UNO Environmental Studies Major with the education requirements for entry level jobs in your field of interest. In most cases the courses you take matter more than the name of you major. A good resource for determining what courses you need for a given job are the “Qualification Standards” published by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. While these standards apply specifically to jobs with the Federal Government, requirements for other employers will usually be similar to what are listed here.
Jobs in the environmental field cover a broad range of activities so you may need additional courses or experience to qualify for the job you want. Start the process early and develop a plan for meeting the qualifications of the career you want.
Examples of some jobs you might be interested in include:
Notice that most of these careers list examples of multiple majors but the emphasis is on the range of courses and credits required. Some of these careers would require additional coursework beyond what is required for the Environmental Studies major.
Because environmental studies covers such a broad range of careers there is no single answer to that question. The employment market will vary depending on where you are interested in living and on the specifics of each job. Some careers are very competitive and may require relocating, extensive experience, or graduate degree.
One place to start are the occupation profiles at the Americanjobcenter website, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. These profiles provide information about salaries and the number of job openings, both for the country as a whole and for individual states.
|Environmental Science and Protection Technicians (entry-level jobs)|
|Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists|
These profiles can give you a valuable overview of the current and expected job market for these general fields. To get a more precise picture of the job market for various jobs you should spend some time browsing the job listings described on our “Finding Internships and Jobs” pages. Spending time on sites such as usajobs.gov can give you a better picture of what jobs are available, where they are located, and what qualifications employers will be looking for.