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Those who want to help create a more sustainable and better world can take the first step toward their goals by earning an online environmental science degree. Graduates with a bachelor's in environmental science online degree can find jobs in engineering services; government; and management, scientific, and technical consulting services. This versatile degree also allows graduates to work as environmental scientists, a career that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects will grow 11% by 2026. This guide explains what you can do with an online environmental science degree and the skills you gain in a program.
What is Environmental Science?
An environmental science degree opens doors to entry-level careers and serves and as a springboard to an advanced degree. The need for environmental scientists is projected to grow faster than demand for other jobs as worldwide concern about environmental issues pressures scientists to find solutions.
Students receive a well-rounded education while studying for an environmental science degree. They begin learning about the fundamentals of environmental law, urban forestry, climatology, ecology, natural resources, and watershed management. Many colleges allow students to develop specialized skills; students have the option to take concentrations or minors in subjects like environmental technology, aquatic biology, environmental agriculture, or sustainability. A concentration or minor requires students to take more credits, but it allows them to enhance their degrees and get noticed by hiring managers. Some programs emphasize career tracks to prepare students to work as restoration ecologists, hydrologists, and natural science managers.
Other programs allow students to gain job experience through supervised capstone projects and internships. Graduates may even turn their internships into full-time jobs as environmental consultants, wildlife biologists, and environmental analysts. Online environmental science degrees allow students to continue to work full time. An environmental science degree provides students with a broad education, preparing them for different settings and jobs. Graduates find work in government, consulting, and engineering.
What Can I Do with an Online Environmental Science Bachelor's Degree?
To get the most out of an online environmental science degree, students take specialized tracks where they hone their skills and knowledge. Generally, all accredited programs provide a foundation in environmental science, and then students take electives that correlate to their career interests.
Skills and Knowledge Gained
The average student who studies environmental science has a passion to protect the earth. Environmental scientists want to find solutions to solve environmental problems. In an environmental science degree program, students gain the education and skills needed to tackle global problems such as climate change, overpopulation, and pollution. The curriculum helps students examine the social, economic, and political dynamics associated with environmental management. Students learn how science and public policy intersect. They also develop the knowledge to assess the historical and social implications of environmental policies.
Not every online environmental science degree provides the same learning outcomes. Each college designs its online environmental science degree differently. However, natural and physical sciences remain the foundation of most online environmental science degrees.
These programs start with biology, chemistry, physics, ecology, and math. Then as the program progresses, students can specialize. General education courses teach students to strengthen their communication, analytical, and critical thinking skills. Colleges provide students with the option to earn a concentration in subjects such as sustainability, geospatial technologies, or natural resources and conservation. If students have specific areas they would like to study, they should look for a program that matches these interests.
Careers and Salary Potential
Graduates with an online environmental science degree qualify for positions in different fields. They find work in labs and offices, mostly in the state government. However, many fields hire graduates who hold an online environmental science degree. Below, you can explore some of these jobs and industries.
- Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services: Environmental scientists often conduct studies and provide feedback to companies to assess potential environmental risks. They may work on proposed construction sites or with manufacturing companies to advise management on environmentally harmful substances.
- Government: Environmental scientists, and other environmental management professionals, can be found working in local, federal, and state government agencies. They work to protect the soil, air, and water by enforcing governmental regulations.
- Engineering Services: Environmental engineers often work for companies to analyze and conduct research for specific projects. They help keep companies in compliance with environmental regulation and determine potential risks.
Environmental Scientists and Specialists
Annual Median Salary: $69,400
Environmental scientists and specialists work in offices, labs, and the field, taking samples and doing research to protect the environment. With their findings, environmental scientists prepare reports and work to resolve environmental issues.
Environmental Science and Protection Technicians
Annual Median Salary: $45,490
Environmental science and protection technicians monitor the environment to fix pollution and contamination. They conduct investigations of businesses to ensure they follow environmental laws and do not pose a public health risk.
Annual Median Salary: $51,034
Environmental analysts study specific areas of the environment such as soil, rocks, airpar, or water. They work as liaisons between the government and private sectors to minimize negative impacts on the environment.
Annual Median Salary: $53,467
Environmental consultants work in the government and the corporate world. They conduct research in locations where employees work with hazardous materials. These professionals educate companies about how to safely handle dangerous materials to protect public health.
Environmental Health and Safety Coordinator
Annual Median Salary: $56,312
Environmental health and safety coordinators create and plan safety programs within companies in compliance with federal and state laws. They often work alongside manufacturing, management, and engineering departments.
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