Almost every company aims toward creating a more sustainable business operation, so there is a need for many sustainability jobs. These careers are versatile, spanning across several disciplines, but all have the same goal: to save the planet by increasing efficiency. Not all career paths will pay the same and may require additional certificates and degrees, but they all require a great responsibility to act as environmental connoisseurs and consultants to businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits.
Sustainability scientists often have a degree in a specific field of science like chemistry or biology with a focus on environmental protection and research. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, many of these scientists move into higher management positions or become primary consultants for a team of a sustainability staff members. Jobs can range from analyzing the use of natural resources to studying the effects of business practices like pollution to ensure that habitats are conserved.
See our ranking of 20 Affordable Colleges Offering Degrees Online for Sustainability Jobs .
Engineers often are more involved in the design and implementation of projects rather than primarily research. They use a hands-on approach to construct green structures, provide natural alternatives to hazardous chemicals, and solve problems that limit pollution or waste. Certain specialization is needed depending on the career path chosen. A professional engineer (PE) license, as well as fieldwork in sustainability, would also be necessary to apply your degree to this career path.
Business Manager or Consultant Options
Many companies hire sustainability managers to ensure that their business complies with environmental laws and standards. They also hope to increase productivity and gain profits by going green. Managers require communication skills as they must present data and coordinate plans with various departments for the daily operations of a business. Many sustainability business-related positions are coupled with degrees like a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) or even law as new requirements and safety regulations get passed.
Humanities and Social Science Possibilities
Although not as high paying as the other categories, working in a field that uses your sustainability degree in a creative, philanthropic, or academic setting can be majorly rewarding. There is a need for sustainability activists and writers to convey the message of environmental impacts. Many nonprofits focus on sustainability initiatives that require knowledge used for grant writing, marketing, and outreach. Other outlets would be teaching what you have learned in school or in the field to inspiring sustainability students. Passing on knowledge is just as important as applying it in a practical field, but both require you to stay up-to-date on the latest news and trends.
The interdisciplinary nature of a sustainability degree provides you with many career choices. Certificates and experiences like internships can also be combined with primary degrees in science, social science, or business, making it a specialized skill you can add to your resume. So, think about adding sustainability to your curriculum or job experience to advance your career options. Most companies have begun analyzing the environmental impact of their business, so the demand for sustainability jobs will only increase.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics