Jobs with a Degree in Environmental Science
Environmental science is a broad field that spans biology, geology, botany, chemistry, physics and more, opening up a range of career possibilities. Jobs in environmental science are flourishing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment of environmental scientists and specialists will grow 11% from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. A growing population and an increasingly environmentally conscious public have partly driven this growth. The highest median earners were employed by the federal government, followed by engineering services companies, consulting companies, and local and state government.
Environmental science majors are motivated to unravel the complex influences on environmental phenomena. Environmental science is a good major for students interested in studying humanity’s impact on its surroundings; addressing global hazards like pollution and global warming; protecting Earth’s natural resources and species; monitoring levels in our air, earth and water; and more.
WHAT DOES AN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENTIST DO?
Environmental science is an exciting, diverse field with undeniable importance in the contemporary world. From the laboratory to the field, environmental scientists use their skills and knowledge in a variety of applications. They must often translate data and technical information into insights that are easily understood by professionals outside the field. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in environmental science can expect strong demand for their expertise.
Careers in environmental science generally fall into three categories:
- Public Sector: Federal, state and local governments employ a large number of environmental scientists to develop, enforce and comply with environmental regulations. Related government agencies include the Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Private Sector: Private companies also need the expertise of environmental scientists to ensure compliance with government standards. Environmental consultants in industry are hired to improve sustainability practices, assess real estate ventures, research regulations and take advantage of government incentives.
- Nonprofit Sector: A large number of nonprofit and non-governmental organizations are dedicated to protecting the environment. From the oceans to the ozone, wildlife and responsible development, their advocacy work is supported by the research, skills and training of environmental scientists. Related nonprofit organizations include the Sierra Club, the Earth Policy Institute, the Pew Institute for Ocean Science.
Within these three categories, there are a variety of roles that fit the aptitudes and experiences of employees. The following are just a few examples.
- HAZMAT responders address hazardous materials when they pose a threat to health or the environment, such as with oil spills and toxic chemical releases.
- Ecologists study the relationships between species and promote the health of ecosystems.
- Sustainability consultants help businesses improve their sustainability practices and efficiency.
- Agricultural scientists conduct research to improve the quality of food, livestock and farming.
- Nature educators work with schools, nature reserves and nonprofits to grow awareness of environmental topics.
- Resource managers monitor, test and measure natural resources to promote healthy environments.
- Environmental advocates push for laws and policies that protect the environment.
- Conservation officers patrol forests, parks and public spaces to enforce environmental law.
While a bachelor’s degree opens the door to many environmental science jobs, some students go on to graduate programs to specialize in the field. Graduate programs are generally research focused and useful for careers in academia and research. Drexel offers master's, doctorate and accelerated degree programs for students interested in graduate study.
Learn More About the Master’s and PhD in Environmental Science
BEGIN YOUR JOURNEY TOWARD A CAREER IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
Graduates of Drexel’s BS in Environmental Science have gone on to careers at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, DuPont, the Nature Conservancy, TTF Watershed Partnership and more. The Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science has a strong network of alumni who are willing to offer advice on co-op and job placements to current students. Visit the department’s student stories page to learn more about current students and recent alumni.
Learn More About the Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science
APPLY FOR A DEGREE IN ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
Apply for a degree in environmental science or visit campus to get firsthand information about a Drexel education. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.