Earning a Master's in Environmental Management Online

Should I Pursue a Master's in Environmental Management Online?

If you love nature, believe in environmental stewardship, and aim to contribute to the sustainable development and use of natural resources, you might make an ideal candidate for an online environmental management master's degree. Professionals in this field work in many subfields, including environmental assessment, conservation, and policy; alternatively, they can work at private companies whose commercial activities involve urban development or natural resource development.

Strong writing and media skills can help you secure employment in a communications-related capacity, as a growing number of businesses prioritize environmental awareness. Similarly, your expertise carries great value for companies looking to switch to greener and more sustainable business practices.

Earning your environmental management degree online delivers excellent flexibility and helps to control the costs of your education. Unlike traditional in-class programs, online learning also allows you to schedule your studies around other commitments in your life, such as work and family.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Environmental Management Graduates

Master's in Environmental Management Salary

Environmental management professionals enjoy the opportunity to earn excellent wages while making a positive impact on the environment. Entry-level positions tend to pay above-average salaries, and your earning potential rises as you gain experience and move into the middle and later phases of your career.

However, you should note the significant regional differences in average earnings for environmental management specialists. In general, states with well-developed, environment-related industries tend to offer the most lucrative career opportunities. The Northeast region offers particularly attractive job prospects, as three of the five top-paying states in this field belong to this part of the United States.

Top Paying States for Natural Sciences Managers

State Employment Annual Mean Wage
New Jersey N/A $184,040
Massachusetts 3,560 $172,800
Connecticut 750 $168,770
California 7,450 $153,330
North Carolina 2,670 $152,270
United States 56,210 $133,670

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pay by Experience Level for Environmental Managers

  • Entry-Level (0-5 Years):
    $54,000
  • Mid-Career (5-10 Years):
    $75,000
  • Experienced (10-20 Years):
    $94,000
  • Late-Career (20+ Years):
    $103,000

Source: PayScale

Master's in Environmental Management Careers

Graduates with master's degrees in environmental management from top schools possess the academic credentials to pursue a wide range of rewarding career opportunities. You can expand your range of options by combining environmental management learning with studies in synergistic fields, such as engineering, architecture, biological sciences, and education. Adopting this strategy gives you easier entry to many of the field's top-paying career paths while making you more attractive to a wider range of potential employers. The best environmental management degree programs prepare students for the five careers listed below.

Environmental Scientist or Specialist

Annual Median Salary: $69,400
Projected Growth Rate: 11%

These professionals aid companies, government organizations, and policymakers in environment-related capacities, including pollution remediation, waste reduction, and strategic advisement. They also work to protect human health by helping to maintain high environmental cleanliness standards. Master's candidates can specialize in concentrated areas, leading to differentiation and competitive advantages in the job market.

Natural Sciences Manager

Annual Median Salary: $118,970
Projected Growth Rate: 10%

An accredited online environmental management master's degree can accelerate your path to becoming a natural sciences manager. These experienced professionals supervise field work, quality control initiatives, and process testing campaigns. They also collaborate with other science specialists, including biologists and chemists in research and development capacities.

Environmental Engineer

Annual Median Salary: $86,800
Projected Growth Rate: 8%

Environmental engineers solve practical problems in field settings, working in areas ranging from public health and waste management to pollution control and environmental remediation. Combining an advanced online environmental management degree with an undergraduate engineering degree puts you in a strong position to secure an entry-level job in this field.

Architectural or Engineering Manager

Annual Median Salary: $137,720
Projected Growth Rate: 6%

These professionals combine architectural or engineering experience with environmental management principles in leadership roles with companies that build structures or manage processes that impact natural environments. Given the highly specialized nature of the work, candidates with advanced degrees tend to offer higher value and more versatility to employers.

Postsecondary Teacher

Annual Median Salary: $76,000
Projected Growth Rate: 15%

With an advanced degree in environmental management and significant professional experience, you can qualify to teach postsecondary students at a community college. You will need at least a master's degree, as the overwhelming majority of accredited educational institutions will not consider candidates with only undergraduate degrees for teaching positions.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Environmental Management Program?

Colleges and universities with environmental management degree programs show significant variations in their course offerings. Details will vary depending on the school you attend and the focus of your program of choice. However, most online environmental management master's degrees that meet accreditation standards cover a similar set of core topics, as explained in the sample curriculum below.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Environmental Management

  1. Environmental Management Economics: Especially valuable for students planning careers in the private sector, this course examines environmental management from an economic development perspective. Case studies typically focus on important current issues, such as carbon pricing strategies and green energy tax credit policies.
  2. Environmental Law and Policy: This course examines historical and contemporary approaches to environmental law and policy, introducing students to major regulatory initiatives and legislative acts that govern environmental conservation and protectionism. Students also delve into the relationships between government policy, its application in the private sector, and the responsibilities of various stakeholders.
  3. Land and Water Management: Students learn about the responsible development of terrestrial and marine resources, along with strategies for minimizing the environmental impact of on- and off-shore commercial activity. This course carries particular value for students interested in environmental assessment and policy-related career paths.
  4. Air Quality Management: Urban development and industrial activity can both have pronounced negative impacts on air quality. This course provides students with essential frameworks for understanding how these activities affect air quality, as well as what businesses and municipalities can do to reduce health risks and maintain higher ambient air quality levels.
  5. Waste Management: Controlling pollution and developing novel, ecologically responsible waste management strategies remain foundational concepts in the evolving field of environmental management. This course offers perspectives from private and public sectors, helping students build balanced understandings of issues related to managing waste in the modern world.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Environmental Management Prepares For

  • Certified Environmental and Safety Compliance Officer: Available through the National Registry of Environmental Professionals (NREP), the CESCO certification recognizes advanced proficiency with pollution control and waste disposal strategies. Beyond an online master's degree in environmental management, candidates require at least two years of full-time employment in a role related to pollution or waste management.
  • Registered Environmental Manager: Another NREP certification, the REM designation acknowledges expertise in project management capacities related to environmental safety and public health. This first-time certification holds strong appeal to emerging professionals, and candidates can apply after completing an undergraduate or graduate environmental management degree online. REM-certified professionals typically go on to work in hazardous materials management, environmental auditing, or property assessment roles.