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Environmental Studies Professional: Career & Education Info

Degrees in environmental studies typically cover ecology, sustainability, environmental law and related topics. Find out about the curricula of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for environmental studies graduates.

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A career in environmental studies typically requires a bachelor's degree in a relevant field. Although fish and game wardens may begin their career at the state level with a high school diploma, a bachelor's degree is required for those who work for the federal government. Environmental policy analysts and journalists must have a bachelor's degree.

Essential Information

Students interested in an environmental studies career are often concerned with the way companies and individuals utilize natural resources and interact with the environment. Many careers exist that offer candidates the opportunity to promote environmental sustainability directly and indirectly. Read this article for a general overview of various environmental careers.

Career Fish and Game Warden Environmental Policy Analyst Journalist
Education Requirements High school diploma to work for state departments; bachelor's degree for federal workers Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 2% -2% for political scientists -8% for reporters and correspondents
Average Salary (2015)* $54,970 $103,210 for political scientists $46,560 for reporters and correspondents

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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  • Environmental Sciences
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Career Options

The area of environmental studies may include careers in environmental protection, policy regulation or environmental reporting. Although some time may be spent traveling to environmental sites, most individuals in these careers spend their time in an office setting.

Fish and Game Warden

Fish and game wardens patrol environmental areas and enforce laws. These professionals are trained to disperse information on hunting licenses and arrest individuals who violate environmental conservation or protection laws. They may use equipment like patrol boats and off-road vehicles. Fish and game wardens may find employment with state and federal agencies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that as of May 2015, fish and game wardens' average annual salary was $54,970 (www.bls.gov).

Environmental Policy Analyst

Environmental policy analysts typically work for government agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency or private companies that are interested in protecting the environment. These professionals may be given an assignment to research or review the effects of policy decisions on the environment. Environmental policy analysts may also analyze areas in which no official policies exist to determine the best course of action. While earnings information specific to environmental policy analysts is hard to come by, salary data from two related careers could offer some insight on potential earnings. BLS data from May 2015 showed that political scientists' mean annual salary was $103,210. Environmental scientists earned a mean annual salary of $73,930.

Environmental Journalist

Environmental journalists report news on local, domestic and international stories involving treatment of the environment. Reports may cover events or industries, such as oil spills or recycling. Reporters may also report a news event, like the development of a new hybrid car. The BLS reported an average annual wage of $46,560 for reporters and correspondents of all types, as of May 2015.

Education Information for Environmental Studies Professionals

Bachelor's degree programs in environmental studies explore topics in the environment ranging from ecology to sustainability. Coursework delves into the human-environment interaction, as well as topics in environmental law and economics. For example, students may take specialized courses that cover policy making or cost analysis.

Graduate Studies

College graduates may consider enrolling in a graduate certificate or master's degree program in order to gain advanced knowledge in a particular field like sustainability or environmental economics. For example, advancement as an environmental analyst may require a master's degree in environmental science or a journalist may gain specialized skills in English and broadcasting though a graduate certificate or master's degree in journalism. Depending on the course of study, these programs may last from 1-2 years. Students typically have a choice of a variety of electives to create a program that meets their needs.

Environmental studies professionals typically work in areas where they can ensure that environmental laws are being followed and that natural habitats and wildlife are being preserved. Fish and game wardens, environmental policy analysts and environmental journalists are some of the professionals who work in this field. A bachelor's degree is usually required for these careers, and it's also possible to continue graduate studies in environmental studies.

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