All About Green Careers for Students

10 Jun 2020

The labour market is becoming more diverse with every decade, mainly because of the newly-emerging trends and global issues that create demand for particular types of activity. This is a natural process that has been and continues to occur throughout human history. The same applies to the 21st century and the fact that scientists around the world recognize a need to preserve and sustain our planet.

That is why green jobs appeared and became highly trendy and important. Even more, a green career is an excellent choice for any student; according to the statistics, the European environmental economy and its value added grew considerably faster than the economy in general! The chart itself shows that the tendency is only going to continue and the importance of the environmental sector is going to rise exponentially, meaning that more and more ecological careers will emerge and this means demand for specialists!

Why Green Careers Are Important

The importance of the environmental sector and careers associated with it cannot be underestimated. The industrial revolution led to the adoption of highly efficient methods of production; however, they are constantly putting the environment under pressure. The list of negative effects includes but is not limited to:

  • Air emissions;
  • Wastewater;
  • Land pollution;
  • Marine and coastal pollution;
  • Noise;
  • Radiation.

Environmental careers are about reducing, negating, or even reversing the negative impact of human activity on our planet, thus preserving it for future generations. The demand for these careers is soaring as approximately 10.3% of U.S. jobs were “green” only a few years ago, and a list of careers is very impressive. Merely these numbers are a quite clear indicator of the fact that the world needs green specialists because these people have the potential to sustain human civilization for longer.

Degrees that Lead to Green Careers

When it comes to choosing a degree, the list is surprisingly broad! After all, lots of universities are offering an opportunity to acquire a degree that is specifically tailored to be green.

Engineering and associated disciplines

  • Sustainable Energy Technology at Canton State University - this program offers a bachelor’s degree in sustainable energy systems engineering and technology. It is as it sounds - a degree focusing on creating technological solutions to the sustainable use of energy and its various applications;
  • Electrical Engineering at Colorado State University - an opportunity to focus on the area of interest that is connected to electricity. Electrical engineering is an obvious choice for anyone wanting to get into the green sector. Self-driving cars, ways to optimize energy consumption and storage - that sort of stuff. This degree offers quite a broad scope of potential careers;
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering at Wayne State University - this degree is about designing and constructing infrastructure; however, it is also a direct route to a green career as environmental engineering also focuses on designing infrastructure that is sustainable and cost-effective. Think of wastewater treatment, waste management, and so on;
  • Urban and Environmental Planning at Arizona State University - a great program for those seeking employment in the green sector. You will be able to get into the field of ecological careers through work with so-called green architecture - an approach to building that focuses on minimizing the negative effects of construction on the environment.

Other, less obvious choices

  • Fashion Design at Parsons - You might be actually quite surprised by this degree. Fashion design can also lead to green jobs. For example, this fashion design program gives an opportunity to choose and focus on things such as a sustainable approach to the process of clothing creation and development of technologies that can be used in the fashion industry with the environmental context in mind;
  • Sustainable Business Enterprise Degree at Unity College - this program allows students to become proficient in peculiarities of business, practices, and how business decisions can affect our environment, both in terms of society and nature. Students can go into the field of sustainable agriculture, tourism, and international development;
  • Environmental Journalism at Point Park University - a program that would allow students to acquire knowledge to inform the world about the news with the environment in mind. This opens lots of opportunities - investigative environmental journalism, creation of documentaries, and social influencing;
  • Sustainable Management Program at the University of Wisconsin - a great program for people who consider administrative positions. This degree in environmental management is aimed at providing students with knowledge that can be used to bring positive change on the political level! That is quite impressive, as the change has to happen on every level to make an impact.

Green Education Scholarships

There are numerous scholarships that are awarded to students with financial aid. However, some are especially interesting to those who want to get involved with environmentalism, green practices, and sustainability.

  • Annie’s Sustainable Agriculture Scholarships - Annie’s Homegrown is a company based in Berkeley, California, and it offers scholarships for students. So, if you’re interested in studying regenerative or organic agriculture, you might want to consider applying for it;
  • The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education - a set of awards that are granted to the students of honour from the institutions that are members of this Association. Students are awarded for encouraging and promoting sustainability in their campuses, colleges, and so on;
  • Brower Youth Awards - another green education scholarship of interest. Basically, the initiative recognizes six students who have proved themselves to be leaders in terms of sustainability and environmental movement;
  • The Blades of Green - a scholarship program for students who are pursuing education in environmental studies or anything connected to green practices, ecology, and sustainability. A winner is awarded $1,000;
  • Windstar Environmental Studies Scholarship - another annual scholarship award. Two undergraduate students have a chance of winning $500, and one graduate student can be awarded $1,000. As with previous entries, this scholarship is reserved for students who pursue green careers in their education;
  • Social and Water Conservation Society Donald A. Williams Soil Conservation Scholarship - a scholarship that awards leaders in sustainability and conservation-related industry with $1,000 award;
  • This scholarship is a bit more specific as it supports students who are following the academic path in Environmental Health or Environmental Health Sciences. The award is quite pleasant as the winner gets $1,000;
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison offers scholarships to a number of students and their research advisors. These scholarships are reserved for those students who create meaningful contributions to creating environmental projects;
  • Eckenfelder Scholarship offers an impressive $5,000 to students interested in pursuing ecological jobs; however, the award is reserved for students who study any sort of engineering or environmental sciences;
  • Sustainability Champions Scholarship is for those outstanding students with great academic performance who are pursuing career choices in the fields connected to sustainability.

Green Internships for Students

Now, let’s talk about internships. When it comes to the green sector and green jobs, there are quite a lot of options available for students. As mentioned before, sustainability and environmentalism are becoming more and more important, so here we have it - great demand.

  1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers an entry-level program to students interested in participating in a one-year internship program that is followed by potential employment;
  2. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - yet another government-sponsored opportunity is to join this agency to focus on research and management. You can also find scholarships and different sorts of meetings there.
  3. The United States Department of Energy - again, this governmental organization is about meeting the energy needs of people while ensuring sustainable development. They have numerous internship opportunities available;
  4. The Environmental Defense Fund is all about preserving nature through effective economic and scientific decisions. The organization is offering internship opportunities that might be of interest to those studying business and administration;
  5. Greenpeace is an obvious destination for students who want an internship experience in one of the most well-known global initiatives. Greenpeace is also partnering with AIESEC thus the scope of the program is basically global;
  6. World Wildlife Fund - another globally known organization easily recognized for its panda logo, and it offers quite an impressive list of volunteer internship programs around the globe, which some students might find fantastic;
  7. Tesla Motors - the creation of an eccentric entrepreneur Elon Musk. This company is an image of the sustainable vision for our society, and it actually offers year-round internships, which is worth checking out;
  8. Advanced Energy Industries - one of those companies that are recognized as leaders in green technologies, particularly when it comes to solar panels and similar things. Students may also find internship opportunities there;
  9. Eos Energy Storage - yet another option for those seeking future green jobs is to get an internship in this company, which is specializing in creating cost-effective energy storage solutions, which is a great choice for engineers;
  10. Student Conservation Association - a non-profit organization, and it offers a range of internship programs to those willing to develop their leadership qualities in the green sector. Sounds like a worthy cause.

Top 20 Green Jobs

This final list of things will further ensure you in the great potential of picking a green career. I just decided to list some of the jobs that are considered to be those falling into the category of environmental careers. Let’s begin.

Environmental science

  • Conservation professionals are the ones responsible for maintaining and improving the quality of landscape such as forests, parks, and so on (median salary is $60,000-65,000);
  • Zoology is what it sounds like - these scientists are studying the relationship between human and nature (median salary is $60,000-65,000);
  • Environmental protection specialists are professionals who are responsible for monitoring the environment and dealing with different types of pollution (median salary is $45,000);
  • Foresters are responsible for conservation and preservation of local ecosystems (median salary is $60,000);

Alternative energy

  • Solar photovoltaic professionals are the ones responsible for installing and maintaining systems consisting of solar panels (median salary is $40,000-45,000);
  • Mechanical engineers are very useful when it comes to working with hydraulic systems (median salary is $55,000-60,000);
  • Civil and environmental engineers are professionals who are responsible for creating and operating infrastructural objects (median salary is $85,000-90,000);
  • Wind turbine engineers are responsible for installing and maintaining wind turbines (median salary is $50,000-55,000);
  • Filtration systems professionals are those people who are responsible for operating different filtering facilities that are cleansing water (median salary is $60,000-65,000);
  • Recycling facility engineers are professionals who are responsible for different operations within recycling facilities (median salary is $60,000-65,000).

Agriculture

  • Agricultural scientists are the professionals responsible for the development of techniques that can reduce the impact of agricultural activities on the environment (median salary is $65,000-70,000);
  • Actual agriculturists who follow green practices are able to make a real difference (median salary is $60,000-65,000);
  • Agricultural engineers are people who tamper problems such as pollution caused by farming (the median salary is $65,000-70,000).

Architecture

  • Green architects are professionals who employ their knowledge in creating buildings that are sustainable, eco-friendly, and long-lasting (median salary is $70,000-75,000);
  • Green architecture engineering specialists are responsible for the development of green technologies to be used during construction works (the median salary is $70,000-75,000).

Other unorthodox green jobs

  • Green fashion designers are professionals of their field who are developing techniques that can be used in creating eco-friendly or zero-waste apparel (median salary is $50,000-55,000);
  • Movie directors who are specialized in informing the society about the current affairs regarding nature (median salary is $65,000-68,000);
  • Investigative journalism aimed at environmentalism is one of the most effective ways of making an impact (median salary is $45,000-50,000);
  • A business consultant can specialize in providing companies with sustainable business development strategies (median salary is $70,000-75,000);
  • Charity fund representatives can work in local scope to deal with ecological issues (median salary is $50,000-55,000).

As it is possible to see, ecological careers are very diverse, and their number is constantly increasing. Green jobs have been on the rise for the last decade, and this trend is guaranteed to persist in the future, which makes such choices a great long-term solution for anyone interested. There are lots of degrees that could lead to environmental careers; some of them you might find quite surprising. Even more, green education is on the rise, and any student can find some sort of scholarship or internship to launch one’s green career. All-in-all, ecological careers are for people who understand their responsibility to the planet and society, both current and future generations to come.