Students majoring in sustainability learn about environmental management, analyzing environmental systems, and research methods, preparing for careers that help organizations and businesses build more environmentally friendly practices. This page covers potential career paths, salaries, different industries, and professional resources. The final section answers some frequently asked questions.
Why Pursue a Career in Sustainability?
Individuals passionate about the environment and creating a better future should consider a career in sustainability. Professionals must also possess heightened research, analytical, and communication skills. An associate, bachelor's, master's, or doctoral program can help students develop and hone these skills, while also introducing learners to the latest research related to sustainability.
Sustainability can lead to many career paths, such as sustainability specialist, environmental engineer, sustainability manager, and sustainability director. These and other job opportunities provide workers with the chance to positively impact the environment, people's quality of life, and future generations.
Sustainability Career Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the United States employs approximately 53,150 environmental engineers. These professionals earn a median salary of about $88,000 per year. The BLS projects that the number of environmental engineer positions will increase by 5% between 2018 and 2028, leading to the creation of about 3,000 new jobs.
The following table highlights typical salaries for a few common sustainability careers. This information also demonstrates how a worker's salary increases with experience.
Skills Gained with a Sustainability Degree
Because the sustainability field encompasses so many professional paths, students enjoy the freedom to pursue the coursework and hands-on training that best suits their career. However, all professionals in the field benefit from the overarching skills detailed below.
For example, research and analytical skills help students locate information, assess its validity, and evaluate its significance. With relevant information in hand, students apply problem-solving strategies to creatively tackle challenges. Communication skills allow professionals to clearly and persuasively get their points across, and interpersonal skills empower them to effectively collaborate with and lead teams.
- Analytical Skills
Students learn to locate, collect, analyze, and present information. Presentations may include written or oral reports and data visualization. As part of their training, students use statistical analysis and computer modeling programs. Proper application of these tools allows students to interpret information efficiently, saving time and improving accuracy.
- Communication Skills
Regardless of their particular industry, sustainability professionals must speak cogently and listen effectively. Strong communication skills help individuals learn from and cooperate with each other. This skill also prepares them to write persuasively and present their findings in front of different audiences. Students develop communication skills through rhetorical practice and group work.
- Interpersonal Skills
Though sustainability professionals -- like researchers and conservationists -- complete many daily tasks individually, they eventually convene with their teams to advance communal goals. By developing interpersonal skills, students learn to effectively share resources, resolve conflict, and depend on one another for support and positive critiques. Professionals seeking positions as project managers and program directors require advanced interpersonal skills.
- Problem-Solving Skills
Sustainability professionals confront urgent environmental, social, and health crises caused by human behavior and industry. Problem-solving skills include the ability to implement research-supported best practices and creatively tackle problems through unconventional means. As an interdisciplinary field, sustainability curricula train students about strategies that are useful in areas like business, policymaking, community engagement, and scientific research.
- Research Skills
To validate and analyze individual claims, project proposals, and policy changes, sustainability professionals must provide accurate, up-to-date information. Research involves sifting through sources like library stacks, archives, websites, and online databases to identify data, statistics, and facts. It also entails designing and conducting tests to discover new information. One must also possess strong critical thinking skills to evaluate information for relevance and validity.
Sustainability Career Paths
Careers in sustainability are available in a variety of industries and areas of specialization. The following options represent a few fields where a recent graduate or experienced sustainability expert can find work. Keep in mind that one employer may work in multiple industries simultaneously, giving sustainability professionals several ways to make a positive impact.
Companies that want to implement sustainability best practices hire expert consultants. These consultants perform different tasks -- such as interviewing employees, viewing work, and analyzing company documents -- to discover ways to make the company more environmentally friendly. They report results to company managers, recommend improvements, and train employees on new sustainability initiatives.
When the military reduces waste, it can reduce costs; this represents a significant advantage when planning for the future. Sustainability careers in the U.S. military require enlistment and military training. Afterward, professionals analyze their base, ship, or department's operations for ways to reduce pollution and lessen environmental impacts.
Insurance companies understand that issues such as climate change have a significant impact on their business model. As a result, they inform customers about heightened risks related to issues like flooding, hurricanes, and fire. An insurance broker with a background in sustainability can advise actuaries -- professionals who calculate different risks and set insurance rates accordingly.
With a bachelor's or master's degree in a sustainability-related topic, professionals can become a high school science teacher. This position allows them to inform young people about sustainability's importance and role in creating a better future for humans. This career may require additional training, such as a teacher-preparation program.
Local, state, and federal government agencies and departments hire sustainability experts. These careers usually involve performing original research, writing reports, and giving presentations to managers and elected officials. Professionals also work with the public to influence public policy; they may promote a new recycling program or advocate for environmental regulations.
To combat climate change, many companies in the global energy sector hire sustainability experts to research new energy methods, such as wind and solar. Their job duties may also include finding new best practices and advising management. These careers in sustainability could involve creating an advertising campaign detailing their company's commitment to environmental improvement.
How to Start Your Career in Sustainability
Attaining a career in sustainability begins with earning an associate, bachelor's, master's, and/or doctoral degree in sustainability or a related field. These degrees may offer learners the chance to specialize in one or more areas, enhancing a student's future career prospects. If a program provides numerous paths, students should consult with an academic or career advisor to find the option that best matches their goals.
Although an associate degree in sustainability prepares graduates for some jobs, positions with better wages require a bachelor's or master's degree. More advanced degrees may also qualify a professional for a managerial position. As a manager, they can influence their company's direction significantly.
Associate Degree in Sustainability
Earning an associate degree in sustainability provides students with a foundation in statistics, biology, chemistry, and geology. The curriculum also includes introductory classes in communication, environmental science, ecology, and environmental ethics. Laboratory and fieldwork are common requirements.
In lieu of a general sustainability degree, students may be able to pursue a specialized associate in subfields like arboriculture, sustainable horticulture, equine management, and landscape contracting. These programs prepare students for practical and trade-based jobs.
Students who earn a conventional sustainability degree can occupy administrative assistant and other supporting roles. Through on-the-job training and experience, they may be able to advance into general leadership positions without further schooling.
What Can You Do With an Associate in Sustainability?
- Conservation Worker
Also known as park rangers, wildlife troopers, and foresters, these workers oversee large natural areas. They implement conservation efforts with government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Some may also work with schools and tour groups to create education programs.
- Environmental Science and Protection Technician
This broad job title defines professionals who work in supporting roles within environmental and health organizations, including government agencies, hospitals, and community groups. Technicians can work as research assistants who help conduct tests and analyze results. They may also occupy administrative positions that are responsible for general communication and supply purchases.
Bachelor's Degree in Sustainability
A bachelor's in sustainability prepares graduates for many green jobs in fields like engineering, organizational consultancy, policy analysis, and research. A bachelor's builds a strong science-based foundation. Coursework at this level may discuss topics like water management, environmental economics, energy issues, and planning sustainable communities.
Undergraduate candidates also build skills through internships and practica. Four-year degree programs usually require capstone projects where students conduct their own research and present their findings. Students can often pursue advanced coursework in a specialization that aligns with particular career goals, like urban sustainability, soil research, or civil engineering.
What Can You Do With a Bachelor's in Sustainability?
- Environmental Consultant
Environmental consultants may work for government agencies, private companies, and nonprofit organizations. These professionals assess how an organization's products and processes affect the environment. They also evaluate work conditions by observing and talking to employees. Consultants need to effectively gather, analyze, and present data through reports and projects.
- Environmental Engineer
As part of one of the fastest-growing environmental sustainability jobs, these engineers tackle waste and pollution problems through technological means. They may also work with government organizations to ensure compliance with federal law. Environmental engineers must possess advanced technical and research skills, enabling them to conduct investigations and provide recommendations.
- Environmental Health and Safety Analyst
These analysts work primarily in production and manufacturing fields, observing a company's work practices. They determine if a company's methods align with environmental health and individual safety standards. EHS analysts also develop and help implement green initiatives. In addition to knowledge related to government regulations, these professionals need to possess strong administrative skills.
An ecologist's primary responsibilities focus on researching and surveying ecosystems. They determine behavior and diversity in populations, noting changes caused by human interference. Beyond these duties, ecologists can work as educators, environmental impact specialists, and consultants. Some professionals work with nonprofit organizations as lobbyists, assisting with the development and legalization of environmental regulations.
Geoscientists may find employment as researchers and theorists, or they can work in more practical positions. Workers in the former roles may collect and analyze data about groundwater, magnetic fields, soil composition, and other geological elements. Geoscientists in the latter roles may work with companies to identify natural resources, create extraction maps, and plan for possible risks.
Source: BLS and Payscale
Master's Degree in Sustainability
A master's program in sustainability features coursework in advanced and specialized topics, extensive research training, and independent projects that lead to new contributions to the field. Students can choose to specialize and pursue a master's in environmental studies, marine biology, or industrial engineering to prepare for work as researchers, designers, and consultants.
Students may also take on the popular green MBA to prepare for business sustainability jobs. Because graduate programs emphasize leadership and communication, many working professionals return to school so they can qualify for manager and director positions.
What Can You Do With a Master's in Sustainability?
- Sustainability Director
A sustainability director envisions ways to make their company more environmentally friendly and work with their team to actualize goals. Responsibilities may include building sustainable facilities, reducing production waste, and training employees about energy saving methods. In addition to keen leadership qualities, directors must possess financial skills to maintain budgets.
- Environmental Scientist
Employed by government bodies, consulting firms, and universities, these scientists conduct research on environmental issues, such as climate change, ocean pollution, and deforestation. Environmental scientists analyze data and report their findings using clear communication and data visualization skills. Their research assists the design, implementation, and assessment of conservation regulations.
- Zoologist or Wildlife Biologist
Because a biologist's main function lies in the analysis of living organisms, they can access a variety of sustainability careers. Biologists may work as laboratory scientists who conduct research to help a company reduce waste production and increase energy-saving efforts. They can also work as part of field teams, assisting with land surveys and analyzing soil and water compositions to help conservation efforts.
Source: BLS and Payscale
Doctoral Degree in Sustainability
Doctoral programs in sustainability require students to make new and positive contributions to their field. Candidates spend most of their time designing and conducting research, which results in a dissertation or project that students must present and defend to earn their degree.
Professionals can pursue a general Ph.D. in sustainability program, preparing for work as college professors and research scientists. Coursework may cover topics like human dimensions of sustainability and qualitative methods for environmental challenges.
Additionally, doctoral candidates can pursue degrees in sustainable development, enabling them to become directors in private companies and government organizations. These programs feature classes like resource economics, econometrics, and collective action for global environmentalism. A doctoral degree in business management with a focus on sustainability offers similar training.
Professionals who want to pursue high-level sustainability careers can also earn a doctorate in sustainable education. With coursework in global citizenship, community engagement, and project planning, this degree prepares candidates for careers as consultants, educators, and nonprofit managers.
What Can You Do With a Doctorate in Sustainability?
- Professor, Postsecondary
College professors teach students in lecture-based and seminar-based classes. They also help students with laboratory work, research projects, and theses/dissertations. Professors must possess mastery over their subject matter, and they may engage in original research and write publications. They can also occupy consultancy positions with government and private organizations.
- Department Chair (College/University)
In addition to duties related to their teaching positions, department chairs need to work with other educators at their university to develop, actualize, and evaluate curricular and administrative plans. Colleges often hire internal faculty members as chairs. Candidates need to demonstrate exceptional academic, analytical, and managerial skills.
- Research Scientist
These professionals gather and assess information. They publish their findings in detailed reports that are subject to peer review. While research scientists tend to work in academic settings, they may also seek employment in applied fields that require design and development skills. For example, a fossil fuel company may hire research scientists to develop more efficient and less environmentally harmful means of extracting raw materials.
Source: BLS and PayScale
How to Advance Your Career in Sustainability
After a professional attains their first job with a sustainability degree, they can improve their career and salary potential in different ways. One option includes earning an industry certification. Several organizations offer rigorous certification programs. A similar option involves enrolling in continuing education programs or coursework. These programs are commonly hosted by universities, and learners may be able to access coursework asynchronously.
Workers can also advance their career in sustainability by engaging in networking and joining professional organizations. The latter may offer multiple benefits, such as private job boards, free publications, and exclusive networking events.
Certifications and/or Licensure
Sustainability careers do not require a state-issued license for an entry-level job or advancement. However, professionals can improve their career and salary prospects by earning an industry certification. For example, the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) awards a certification to workers who pass a 75-question exam. The exam covers sustainability topics, tools, and systems thinking. ISSP requires that certification-holders renew their certificate every two years.
The Association of Energy Engineers offers a similar certification: the certified sustainable development professional credential. Candidates must possess a mix of formal education and professional experience. Other certification steps include attending a seminar and passing an exam.
Major colleges and universities offer sustainability certificates to busy professionals who want to improve their knowledge and skills. Certificate options include environmental management, urban planning and preservation, and sustainability. Schools often charge a per-course tuition rate comparable to what degree-seeking learners pay. Additionally, many programs allow students to learn entirely online.
Although earning one or more certificates can help sustainability experts achieve career advancement, some employers may require a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree for specific management-level positions. Fortunately, many online programs use an asynchronous delivery format -- a boon for professionals working full time and/or raising a family.
In addition to earning a certificate, certification, or advanced degree, workers can take additional steps to find the best careers for a sustainability major. For example, building a positive professional relationship with academic and work peers can help professionals discover new job opportunities, learn the latest sustainability best practices, and curate invaluable resources.
To network effectively, workers can join one or more professional associations, such as ISSP or NetImpact. These organizations provide many benefits, such as annual conferences, career centers, and professional development courses. Members can also take on a leadership role in a local chapter.
How to Switch Your Career to Sustainability
Sustainability professionals come from many academic backgrounds, such as environmental law, horticulture, and renewable energy. Bachelor's and master's degrees in these fields can prepare individuals for a career in sustainability.
If someone does not possess a related degree, they can still pursue a sustainability career by earning a master's degree in sustainability or a similar subject, and many accredited online master's programs do not require a bachelor's in sustainability or another scientific field. An online master's program takes approximately two years to complete, depending on graduation requirements and a student's enrollment status.
Where Can You Work as a Sustainability Professional?
Sustainability professionals work in diverse industries with many employment opportunities. Marketers can work for agencies, companies, or themselves. They can earn six-figure salaries or take on part-time roles. Salaries and opportunities are typically greater in well-populated urban areas with higher concentrations of cutting-edge industries than in rural settings.
Sustainability careers are found in many industries. Undergraduate and graduate students preparing for a career in sustainability should explore their options and reach out to their school's career center representatives for expert advice. The following table describes a few of the industries that hire the most environmental engineers.
- Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services
This industry employs sustainability experts to perform environmental impact surveys and design buildings that consume fewer resources.
Annual Mean Salary: $96,580
- Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services
Companies and government agencies hire sustainability consultants to identify and eliminate waste, as well as create new sustainability initiatives.
Annual Mean Salary: $93,930
- State Government, Excluding Schools and Hospitals
State governments create laws and institute public policies. These sustainability careers may involve advising elected officials.
Annual Mean Salary: $84,210
- Local Government, Excluding Schools and Hospitals
This industry refers to county and city governments whose decisions impact local residents and businesses.
Annual Mean Salary: $87,980
- Federal Executive Branch
The president of the United States oversees federal executive branch agencies, many of which employ sustainability professionals to reduce waste and meet the administration's environmental goals.
Annual Mean Salary: $103,280
As of 2019, the states with the most environmental engineers included California, Texas, and New York. Texas and New York both have more than 3,000 positions, while California employs more than 8,000 of these workers.
Environmental engineers in Texas make the most money, earning an annual mean wage of $108,530. Other states where typical salaries exceed $100,000 include California, Maryland, and Minnesota.
Interview with a Professional in Sustainability
Josh Prigge is a sustainability consultant, college professor, published author, and public speaker. Prigge is the founder and CEO of Sustridge -- a Las Vegas-based sustainability consulting firm dedicated to helping organizations of all sizes become sustainability leaders. Josh also produces and hosts the popular podcast Sustainable Nation, interviewing global leaders in sustainability every week.
- Why did you choose to pursue a green career? What are some of the most rewarding and challenging aspects of working in sustainability?
My undergraduate studies were in physical education, and my goal was to become a teacher and coach. I was a substitute teacher and coached basketball and soccer in Minnesota. I became passionate about the environment, sustainability, and climate change and decided I would dedicate my career to sustainability.
I realized I would need further education in this area, so I looked for graduate programs in sustainability. This was in 2008, when there were not nearly as many programs as there are today. I landed on the master of arts in global leadership and sustainable development program at Hawai'i Pacific University (HPU). I've had a career focused on sustainability ever since.
- What are some of the most valuable skills you gained from your degree?
The MA in global leadership and sustainable development program at HPU taught me a lot of great information about how to move sustainability through an organization. One of the most valuable skills I learned was implementing organizational change through sustainability, which includes relationship-building, breaking down silos in organizations, embedding sustainability into organizations' culture, baselining and benchmarking sustainability metrics, engaging employees around sustainability, and setting goals for the organization.
Because sustainability requires all departments of an organization to use both bottom-up and top-down approaches, learning the skills and tactics for sustainability change are crucial. The program at HPU also had a big focus on systems thinking skills, which is extremely valuable in the sustainability profession.
- What was the job search like after you graduated? How did you end up in your current position?
I worked really hard to work myself into a great career in sustainability after graduating. Before completing my degree, I had a full-time job in the university's administration office. I had nice pay and great benefits. At the same time, the university was getting ready to create their first sustainability coordinator position.
This position was only 15 hours per week and pretty low pay. I applied for this position and was fortunate enough to get a job offer. I gave up my full-time, well-paying job with benefits to take a part-time, low-paying job with no benefits because I knew I needed experience to start my career in sustainability. I was very glad I made that decision; six months later, the position became a full-time staff job.
I worked there for about four years, then was offered a job as director of sustainability at Fetzer, a wine company, which allowed me to get another four years of great experience. This all led to me starting my own sustainability consulting firm in 2017: Sustridge.
- How do you keep up to date with new research and developments relevant to your work?
I stay connected with other sustainability professionals via LinkedIn and attend several sustainability conferences and events each year. I produce and host a podcast called Sustainable Nation, where I interview global leaders in sustainability every week. I learn a great deal just by chatting with these amazing people every week. I also follow sustainability news sources like Sustainable Brands, Environmental Leader, Green Biz, and Triple Pundit.
- How do you see the sustainability field evolving in the future?
I see organizations hiring more sustainability professionals. Some organizations will hire their first sustainability employee to develop their sustainability program. Other organizations will hire more sustainability staff to expand their programs.
The research continues to show that sustainability drives business value: consumers demand sustainable products from sustainable companies. Investors ask the companies they invest in what they are doing to be sustainable. We also have large retailers like Walmart setting ambitious supply chain sustainability goals, effectively demanding that companies that sell in Walmart stores establish sustainability commitments and reduce their impact.
The demand for sustainability is coming from so many different groups, which leads me to believe this profession will only continue to grow. In addition to the corporate world, we are seeing more demand for sustainability in communities and on college campuses, so positions in higher education and government also provide great opportunities for sustainability professionals.
Resources for Sustainability Majors
Sustainability students at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels can access numerous resources while looking for top careers in sustainability. These resources include professional organizations, continuing education courses, and industry publications. Continue reading to learn more about the best options in each category. Also, use the embedded links to discover additional information about these resources.
- Professional Organizations
International Society of Sustainability Professionals: Founded in 2006, ISSP supports professionals by hosting networking events, promoting professional development opportunities, and providing best practices and tools. The society provides individual and organizational memberships, which come with perks like discounts on books, training seminars, and conference fees. Sustainability students can access internship and volunteer opportunities. ISSP operates two professional certification programs: sustainability associate and certified sustainability professional.
Sustainability Management Association: SMA empowers sustainability management professionals through advocacy and training programs. Members can access networking opportunities, comprehensive training webinars, and job postings. SMA offers professional certifications at three levels: student associate and certified associate -- which do not require work experience -- and certified professional, which necessitates at least two years in the field.
Association of Christian Sustainability Professionals: Established in 2011, ACSP promotes Christian stewardship and environmentalism. The association focuses on higher education, empowering students and professionals through networking events, training opportunities, and strategic collaborations. In partnership with the Center for Environmental Leadership, ACSP operates the Creation Care Covenant -- a project that enables Christian leaders to advocate for environmental causes.
National Association of Environmental Professionals: NAEP is a multidisciplinary professional organization that supports members through ethical research, state-of-the-art environmental planning, and networking initiatives. Members benefit from research awards, academic scholarships, and an extensive career development center. NAEP also operates an online library of research publications and statistical analysis reports. Students can take advantage of the organization's structured professional certification program.
American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists: With a history that dates back to 1973, AAEES promotes leadership excellence through board certification and professional development programs. Professionals can earn certificates in areas like air pollution control, radiation protection, environmental toxicology, and sustainability science. Students benefit from awards, scholarships, and career guidance. They can also engage with AAEES student chapters and Tau Chi Alpha -- the organization's honor society.
Society for Conservation Biology: Boasting over 4,000 members, SCB advances a globalized approach to the scientific study and conservation of biological diversity. Members engage with policy initiatives worldwide and can access support from regional, local, and topical SCB groups. The society promotes networking and academic collaboration through monthly meetings and an annual international conference. Students and working professionals benefit from awards, scholarships, fellowships, career assistance, and educational resources.
Society of Women Environmental Professionals: Based in Philadelphia, SWEP supports members through monthly networking and professional development events. Sustainability professionals also benefit from field-specific mentorship programs and job postings. Additionally, SWEP provides financial assistance, including research grants, leadership awards, and graduate scholarships. Students can gain professional experience by taking advantage of the organization's educational and public service opportunities.
Young Professionals for Agricultural Development: YPARD empowers its 15,000 global members by providing strategic policy advocacy, research collaboration opportunities, and educational outreach programs. Sustainability majors can gain hands-on training through the YPARD mentorship programs, which provides training and logistical support to aspiring researchers, farmers, industrialists, and entrepreneurs. Members also benefit from an e-library, job postings, research grants, and academic scholarships.
- Open Courseware
Environmental Protection and Sustainability - IsraelX: This class features coursework related to conserving biodiversity, solving pollution challenges, and promoting sustainable human development. Each of the course's eight weeks follows a different theme, such as water quality and urban sustainability. Instructors possess terminal degrees, and students can work at their own pace.
Sustainability Science - A Key Concept for Future Design - The University of Tokyo: Over six weeks, learners analyze how Japan has built sustainable cities and become a world leader in the sustainability field. Topics include historical lessons, urban-rural land use, and the latest developments in sustainability science. Students spend 2-3 hours each week completing coursework, and they can receive a verified certificate if they pay a modest fee.
Ecodesign for Cities and Suburbs - The University of British Columbia: This six-week course includes topics like urban design, solving urban challenges, and analyzing modern sustainable cities. Each week focuses on a different topic, such as climate change adaptation and how to make cities more livable. Students commit 4-5 hours to this course each week.
Energy for Sustainable Development: The International Energy Initiative publishes this in-depth academic journal. Recent article topics include the latest research into the developing world's energy requirements, the benefits of decentralized rural electrification, and energy poverty policies. This journal may also appeal to managers, consultants, and elected officials interested in international sustainability topics.
green@work: A resource for business leaders, green@work promotes corporate sustainability by offering articles on green strategies, best practices, and corporate responsibility. The magazine and accompanying website offer insights into ecological design and tips for companies interested in increasing sustainability. Subscribers receive access to all digital back issues.
International Journal of Green Energy: The International Journal of Green Energy features research in sustainable energy diversity, the consequences of energy use, and sustainable energy's practical applications. The publication's overall aim involves promoting clean energy sources to policymakers and influential people in the energy sector. Subscribers can access back issues from the last 15 years.
Mother Earth News: Mother Earth News helps people working in all fields adopt and promote a more environmentally friendly way of life. Article topics include renewable energy, green homes, and organic gardening. The magazine also highlights green jobs and recommended books. Subscribers can learn more by accessing the publication's numerous videos and podcasts.
Sublime: Professionals working in any sustainability career can benefit from reading Sublime. This magazine helps readers live a more sustainable lifestyle by offering articles on how to shop smart, adopt an eco-friendly diet, and promote a more sustainable economy. Visitors to Sublime's website can review articles from back issues at no charge.
Sustainable Cities and Society: An academic journal aimed at policymakers, Sustainable Cities and Society publishes articles promoting the construction of cities resilient to climate change. The journal's most popular articles cover topics that include architecture trends, the rise of electric vehicles, and the relationship between smart and sustainable cities. Visitors to the journal's website can read some articles for free.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I get a job in sustainability?
Attaining a career in sustainability begins with earning a college degree in sustainability or a similar topic. The best positions require a bachelor's or master's degree. If you want to teach at the college level, you may need a doctorate. Visit your college's career center to learn more about potential careers and job-hunting best practices.
- What does a career in sustainability look like?
The daily duties of a sustainability career vary widely depending on an individual's specific role. Some sustainability professionals oversee the installation of solar panels and wind turbines. Others write detailed reports on sustainability for elected officials.
- Is a sustainability degree worth it?
A postsecondary degree provides three essential advantages when preparing for a sustainability career. It imparts vital and transferable skills that all professionals need, conveys the latest sustainability knowledge and best practices, and qualifies workers for high-paying jobs.
- Which environmental degree is best?
This depends largely on an individual's intended career path. Different sustainability careers benefit from different skill sets. A degree-seeker should speak with an advisor to discuss their career goals and develop an academic and career roadmap.
- Are sustainability specialists in demand?
The BLS projects that many common sustainability careers will see increased demand in the coming years. For example, environmental engineers (5% growth), zoologists and wildlife biologists (5% growth), environmental scientists and specialists (8% growth), and environmental science and protection technicians (9% growth) are all projected to experience average to above-average growth from 2018-2028.