Considering an Environmental Career? Check Out These 9 In-Demand Green Jobs
Environmental careers are projected to see massive growth in the next 10 years. Discover nine in-demand green jobs and top green employers.
Published on August 12, 2021 · Updated on August 17, 2022
- Environmental careers are in high demand, with above-average growth projected for the next 10 years.
- The alternative energy sector is seeing some of the strongest growth of any field.
- Environmental careers offer fulfillment, job stability, and high social impact.
These days, more and more young people are considering careers that will have a positive environmental impact. This comes at a time when various environmental jobs are projected to experience above-average growth over the next 10 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Environmental careers focused on conservation, alternative energy, and using engineering to solve environmental problems are becoming increasingly desirable.
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Ready to start your journey?
With so many exciting opportunities, many college students are wondering how they can contribute to a global green economy. Some of the fields below feature career paths that offer a high social and environmental impact.
9 In-Demand Environmental Jobs to Explore Today
Students from diverse backgrounds and education levels can access today's in-demand environmental careers.
While environmental science and environmental engineering careers generally require a bachelor's degree in a related field, many jobs in the alternative energy sector require only an associate degree.
Environmental advocacy is another area in which people with a background in policy, communication, or journalism can flourish.
Alternative Energy Jobs
Also known as renewable or green energy, alternative energy is one of the central pillars of a green economy. Hydroelectric, solar, and wind energy are rapidly expanding, and green jobs in this field are growing about six times faster than the average job in the United States.
1. Solar Photovoltaic Installers
These professionals assemble, install, and maintain solar panel systems. Solar photovoltaic installers typically receive on-the-job training in PV installation and other tasks.
- Minimum Education Required: High school diploma
- Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $46,470
- Projected Growth Rate (2020-30): 52%
Wind turbine technicians install, maintain, and repair wind turbines.
- Minimum Education Required: Associate degree or certificate in wind energy technology
- Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $56,230
- Projected Growth Rate (2020-30): 68%
Environmental Science Jobs
Environmental science is the study of the environment and solutions to environmental problems. Students interested in fighting climate change, protecting ecosystems, monitoring pollution, and studying wildlife might find their niche within the environmental sciences.
3. Environmental Scientists and Specialists
Environmental scientists use scientific knowledge and resources to protect natural ecosystems and human health.
- Minimum Education Required: Bachelor's degree in environmental science
- Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $73,230
- Projected Growth Rate (2020-30): 8%
4. Environmental Science and Protection Technicians
These technicians monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution and contamination that affect public health.
- Minimum Education Required: Associate degree in environmental science, environmental health, or public health
- Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $46,850
- Projected Growth Rate (2020-30): 11%
5. Environmental Engineering Technicians
These professionals work with environmental engineers to assemble, test, operate, and modify equipment.
- Minimum Education Required: Associate degree in environmental engineering technology
- Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $51,630
- Projected Growth Rate (2020-30): 8%
6. Environmental Engineers
Environmental engineers use engineering principles, soil science, biology, and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems.
- Minimum Education Required: Bachelor's degree in environmental, civil, chemical, or general engineering
- Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $92,120
- Projected Growth Rate (2020-30): 4%
7. Conservation Scientists and Foresters
These professionals manage the land quality of forests, parks, and other natural habitats.
- Minimum Education Required: Bachelor's degree in forestry, agricultural science, or environmental science
- Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $64,010
- Projected Growth Rate (2020-30): 7%
Sustainable Agriculture Jobs
A field within biology, agricultural science focuses on soil cultivation, harvesting, and plant and animal product processing. Students interested in optimizing food production, reducing agricultural pollution, and improving crop sustainability may want to consider the environmental jobs below.
8. Agricultural and Food Scientists
These scientists work to improve the efficiency and safety of agricultural processes and products.
9. Agricultural Engineers
Agricultural engineers attempt to solve problems related to the use of structures and facilities, pollution and environmental issues, and the storage and processing of agricultural products.
- Minimum Education Required: Bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering or biological engineering
- Median Annual Salary (May 2020): $84,410
- Projected Growth Rate (2020-30): 5%
What Are Some of the Major Environmental Employers?
A variety of green careers are available in the private, nonprofit, and public sectors.
Environmental jobs in the private sector often focus on creating solutions for clients related to infrastructure and energy projects. In comparison, professionals in government positions generally develop and enforce environmental regulations or monitor the health of ecosystems.
Nonprofits offer opportunities for people interested in conservation efforts and advocating for eco-friendly legislative change.
We've compiled a list of some of the largest employers for green jobs across sectors.
- Environmental Protection Agency: The EPA's mission is to protect human health and the environment by providing Americans with clean air, water, and land. The agency employs a variety of professionals, such as toxicologists, environmental engineers, geologists, and lawyers.
- National Park Service: The NPS oversees, maintains, and protects the U.S. National Park System by employing geologists, biologists, and ecologists.
- U.S. Forest Service: Part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this agency works to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of grasslands and forests. Foresters, firefighters, and ecologists can find work in the U.S. Forest Service.
- U.S. Geological Survey: The USGS studies climate change and the natural hazards that threaten our environment and natural resources. Geologists, hydrologists, and ecologists can find environmental career opportunities here.
- Local and State Governments: In addition to the federal agencies listed above, the U.S. has many environmentally focused departments and agencies at the state and local levels. Most states maintain departments of ecology, agriculture, fish and wildlife, and natural resources that hire scientists, lawyers, and communication specialists.
- Tetra Tech: This consulting and engineering services firm provides clients with solutions for water, energy, and infrastructure challenges.
- Jacobs: With more than 50,000 employees, Jacobs uses big data analytics to tackle issues like climate change, water scarcity, and urbanization.
- Environmental Resources Management: ERM provides consulting and sustainability related services to help clients manage their environment, safety, and social impact.
- World Wildlife Fund: Also known as the World Wide Fund for Nature, WWF is the world's largest conservation organization. The group works to reduce human impact on the environment and preserve natural habitats.
- Sierra Club: One of the oldest, still-active environmental organizations in the United States, the Sierra Club uses its 3.5 million members to promote sustainable energy and mitigate climate change.
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