Green collar careers – giving wings to your desire of doing something for the environment

With a plethora of burning environmental issues plaguing the world, and multiple nations across various continents investing heavily in ‘green initiatives’ such as recycling, replacing with eco-friendly materials and resorting to renewable natural sources of energy, green collar careers seem to present an extremely promising picture.

If you are seriously interested in jumping onto the green bandwagon for leaving a long-term, positive impact on your environment, then you got to equip yourself with the appropriate educational degrees in order to fit the bill.

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As per the ‘Bureau of Labor Statistics’ reports, above average growth rate has been projected in the field of jobs pertaining to the environmental sciences and its allied subjects over the next decade.

What is environmental science all about?

Environmental science’ focuses on the intricate relationship between human beings and the environment. It is an interdisciplinary domain involving a thorough study of the biological, physical and chemical processes on earth, along with socio-cultural processes and the interrelation between different ecosystems. Apart from providing you with the essential subject-specific skills, a degree in environmental science is also associated with the development of a broader set of skills which includes:

  • Sound planning and project management skills
  • Deeper understanding and enhanced sensitivity towards environmental issues at the local as well as global level
  • Easily adapting to work environments of various sorts
  • Better research and fieldwork skills, and ability to record findings with clarity and persuasion
  • Better problem-solving and numerical skills owing to measurements and statistical applications

A sneak peek into the diverse employment opportunities

Students of environmental science have the option of working right after completing their graduation. You can join as a conservation scientist, fisheries/wildlife/soil scientist, ecologist, game warden, park ranger, environmental consultant/manager, or an officer of environmental education, recycling or waste management.  With conservation and sustainability being the prime goals in the recent times, the demand for trained personnel has increased manifold. They aid in the successful implementation of corporate regulations, federal policies and promote awareness amongst members of the community.

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Apart from environmental agencies, fresh graduates are recruited by local and state authorities, charitable trusts, and large-scale as well as small-scale business organizations for administering policies and managing resources. However, a number of graduates might consider pursuing a post-graduation degree that would help in developing research skills, and enhancing employability for better prospects.

Studying abroad for international exposure and fabulous prospects

There is an increasing affinity amongst students to go abroad for further studies due to the multitude of advantages associated with it. At the time of recruitment, a degree from a foreign university is known to give one’s resume an extra edge. Studying abroad helps in developing a global perspective on issues related to the environment and provides fantastic exposure. On account of greater competitiveness and flexibility, you get the opportunity to work for international organizations.

Here is a list of some of the leading schools in the U.S. offering programs in environmental science:

  • The University of Illinois boasts of extensive research in this field, and offers excellent support to students through a number of active clubs which are dedicated to specific areas of interest, such as – horticulture, wildlife and fish.
  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers a degree in environmental engineering for teaching students about the application of scientific and technological solutions for addressing the unique environmental requirements.
  • The school of forestry & environmental sciences at the Yale University in Connecticut features a building which harnesses the power of solar energy, geothermal heating and rainwater harvesting. Students get to access the latest technology in the labs for fortifying their course studies.
  • The school of life sciences at California’s Stanford University enlightens students regarding the damaging consequences of peoples’ irresponsible actions on nature. A lot of emphasis is placed on research and field study, in addition to classroom learning.

What are the basic requirements of such courses?

An undergraduate program in environmental science lasts for 3-4years, while the duration of a postgraduate program is 1-2years. Fieldwork happens to be an integral aspect of environmental science programs. It involves visiting different regions across the world for experiencing various kinds of ecological conditions and habitats.

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Essential qualifications:

For bachelor’s degree:

A diploma in secondary education with good grades in any of these related subjects – biology, geology, geography, chemistry, physics or mathematics.

For master’s degree:

Relevant bachelor’s degree in environmental science or any of the above mentioned subjects.

You might also be required to appear for written tests and viva voce.

After completing the core modules, students can select from a wide range of environmental science topics for specialization (during the later stages of the course), such as – aquatic/marine biology, soil ecology, earth systems, climate change, water resource management and pollution prevention.

If you wish to become an attorney in future, then a degree in ‘Green Law’ would be an ideal option for you.

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