It used to be that a child aspired to be a lawyer, a doctor, or if they were ambitious, an astronaut. All respectable careers that also pay well. Now, however, if you were to ask a child on the street what they wanted to be when they grow up, it isn’t too far-fetched to hear a response such as marine biologist or even a park ranger. It may seem like a childish hope, but in reality untraditional, and environmentally friendly jobs, or “green jobs,” are becoming much more popular. Also, the top green degrees allow students to pursue this.
Keeping the environment safe and clean has become a growing concern lately, and in response schools, homes, and businesses have all started to implement green practices. This practice extends into the job world too as “green collar” jobs are in high demand, and are gaining more and more respect. It may be hard for some to believe, as many still want to think that green jobs are low paying life alternatives, instead of steady careers that can provide for a family. However, schools are even recognizing this new trend, and have begun to offer degrees and classes to help prepare students interested in going into jobs that work in the environment sectors of the economy.
You might find yourself wondering, why is there such a demand for environmentally conscious degrees and jobs? Well, let’s take a look at the facts.
Protecting the wildlife across America is becoming a growing concern. Born Free USA has announced that over 2.5 million animals are killed each year by the government. However, instead of relocating the animals or not destroying their habitats, they are being killed, and as a result, are becoming endangered. Many careers deal with these issues, trying to find alternative processes.
Energy accounts for not just electricity, but also oil, natural gases, and coal. In the United States, oil is the most significant portion of energy consumption, followed by power. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2014 the U.S. was able to produce 89% of the entire nation’s energy needs. The needs make careers dealing with energy conservation and innovation vital to the country’s sustainability.
We’ve heard it for ages, “global warming” but what does that mean for the United States? Not only does it say that the temperature of the earth is increasing, but that it is leading to disasters across the globe. Conserve Energy Future explains how hurricanes, flash floods, overheating, and rapid diseases are all increasing as a result of these rising temperatures. Finding solutions to the climate change is a pressing matter, making those jobs in the field urgent and essential.
Arguably our most important resource, water is everywhere and a basic necessity for life. While nearly 97% of the Earth is water, only 1% of that water is considered safe to consume. Do Something explains that no matter what the source is, there is never new water introduced to the environment, which is why it is vital to keep drinking water uncontaminated and available. Green jobs in water conservation are continually searching for new ways to keep water clean and get safe drinking water to other countries.
Farming is a pretty big industry in the United States, whether it be picking oranges, producing wheat, or raising cattle. North Carolina State University has published that there are twenty-two million Americans who are involved with the nation’s food. Most farms are run by small families or individuals, making it essential for research to be still done as corporations aren’t typically involved. Scientists are regularly needed to think of safer, more productive ways of farming.
Top Green Degrees
Sustainable Environmental Design:
Focus on designing and constructing cities that can expand with the population and stand resilient to time and weather. These designers work to come up with resource-efficient buildings and such to ultimately create a sustainable city. Students learn about the challenges that urban districts face and then brainstorm possible solutions.
University of California at Berkeley
Morgan State University
Environmental engineers use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems. They are involved in efforts to improve recycling, waste disposal, public health, and water and air pollution control.
University of Colorado
Environmental Health Sciences:
Environmental health scientists study the natural and human-made resources that contribute to the health of the planet. Some work in the field to collect samples to analyze while others work on policy, legislation, and other government-related areas of environmental protection.
John Hopkins University
University of Washington
The University of California at Los Angeles
Environmental law students study energy law and policy, conservation of natural resources, sustainable development, global warming and other environmental issues.
Lewis & Clark College
New York University
Environmental Science and Sustainability:
Students in environmental science and sustainability work to solve real-world environmental problems, manage social-ecological systems, and learn how to affect decisions involving environmental policy, management, and biodiversity.
Colorado State University
Similar to agriculture, studies of gardening includes the art, science, technology, and business of growing plants. Students learn about the cultivation of medicinal plants, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, sprouts, mushrooms, algae, flowers, seaweeds, grass, ornamental trees, and shrubs.
Washington State University
North Carolina State University
Marine scientists study general oceanography, marine biology, aquatic ecology and evolution, marine methods and analysis, statistical applications in marine science, geological oceanography, chemical oceanography, physical oceanography, biological oceanography, and marine biology.
Hawaii Pacific University
Florida Institute of Technology
A renewable energy degree focuses on the production, transmission, and storage of sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar power, geothermal, hydropower, and biomass
Pennsylvania State University
In sustainable agriculture, students learn earth-friendly agriculture techniques like crop rotation. They also learn ways to increase soil fertility, prevent erosion, limit disease, interrupt pest growth, and yield a more abundant harvest.
Stockbridge School of Agriculture
Students in wildlife ecology learn the scientific and analytical skills needed to make responsible choices regarding the welfare and management of wildlife. Courses cover wildlife, wilderness habitats, and research foundation tools such as biology and statistical mathematics.
Michigan Technological University
University of Maine
Washington State University
Geology students develop skills in observing and recording geologic features and processes, competency in interpreting earth science data, and locating and interpreting scientific literature. For Geology majors, they can go on to work as a sedimentologist, a geophysicist, and many other essential careers that help our environment.
University of North Dakota
The University of Florida
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Green Career Average Salaries
|Environmental law $113,530
Sustainability director $102,365
Petroleum engineer $99,611
Chemical engineer $96,940
Mining engineer $90,160
Vineyard manager $88,279
Civil engineer $87,130
Marine Biologist $77,630
Horticulture therapist $76,940
Solar power project developer $76,969
Organic farmer $73,210
Industrial ecologist $72,050
Industrial hygienist $70,057
Fish and game warden $69,410
Sustainable landscape designer $68,570
Environment epidemiologist $67,420
Food scientist $67,041
Green architect $66,022
|Sustainable food systems manager $66,000
Soil scientist $64,680
Environment project manager $64,612
Ocean engineer $64,000
Natural resource managers $63,330
Wildlife biologist $63,230
Senior Hydrogeologist $62,810
Environment engineer $62,679
Wildlife veterinarian $61,200
Environment health & safety $59,609
Plant specialist $56,000
Urban architect $54,480
Industrial design $53,011
Environment chemist $49,880
Environment engineering technician $48,170
Fisheries management specialist $42,000
Park ranger $35,229
Landscape artist $24,670