Certificate and graduate certificate programs are available in the field of environmental sustainability. Certificate programs alone rarely provide the educational requirements necessary to obtain a position in environmental management, land management, resource management or a similar field. Instead, these programs are often coupled with existing undergraduate degree programs in business or environmental science.
Some college-level courses may be required for admission into the certificate programs and a bachelor's degree is necessary for the graduate certificate programs.
Environmental Management and Sustainability Undergraduate Certificate
Several colleges and universities offer undergraduate-level environmental management and sustainability certificate programs. Those who complete a certificate program are able to apply their skills to their current positions and leverage their knowledge to move forward in their careers.
The courses in a similar program are designed to expose students to the science, law and concepts of environmental sustainability. Upon completion of the program, students further understand the role of environmental regulation agencies, perform project planning and assess issues of compliance and better understand the science behind sustainability. Course topics include the following:
- Global sustainability
- Sustainable design
- Environmental law
- Environmental ethics
- Renewable and sustainable energy
- Political ecology
Environmental Management and Sustainability Graduate Certificate
Graduate-level certificate programs might prepare specialists, mid-career professionals or those entering the field to take on additional responsibility or helps them understand deeper environmental issues.
As at the undergraduate certificate level, courses are offered through a variety of departments. Following are some examples:
- American environmental history
- Economic theory and practice of sustainability
- Global environmental problems
- Natural resource economics
- Sustainable development and urban ecology
- Water resource management
Popular Career Options
Courses in an undergraduate environmental management and sustainability certificate program may be offered through a wide variety of colleges and schools within the university, making the certificate program relevant to a wide variety of possible careers, depending on which electives a student chooses.
Having earned an undergraduate degree in a related field and a graduate-level certificate in environmental management and sustainability, one might pursue a variety of public- and private-sector careers in natural resource management, urban and regional planning, environmental law and other fields. Environmental scientist, environmental engineer and corporate manager are three possible careers.
Depending on the school at which the program is offered, credits earned in an undergraduate environmental management and sustainability certificate program may or may not be applicable to an undergraduate degree, minor or certificate program in a related field. An undergraduate certificate in environmental management and sustainability by itself may not be enough to meet the minimum educational requirements for some careers in this field. For example, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that, to work as an environmental specialist, you'd typically be required to hold at least a bachelor's degree in environmental science or a related subject.
Graduates of undergraduate degree programs can also pursue a master's degree, which may increase the chances for advancement, or a Ph.D., which opens high-level research and college-level teaching opportunities. It may be possible to earn a graduate-level certificate in this field while completing a master's or doctoral degree program.
Certificate programs, which are coupled with undergraduate degree programs, as well as graduate certificate programs, are common choices for individuals interested in environmental sustainability careers.