Online Environmental Science Associate Degrees: Program Info

Learn about online associate programs with environmental science courses. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

Essential Information

Associate degree programs in environmental science are available online. Two-year environmental science programs are available in fully online and hybrid formats that combine on-campus and online courses. Other majors offering environmental science courses are environmental studies and environmental management. In addition to online coursework, students are also typically required to complete an in-person internship or field experience. Coursework examines management principles, safer work environments, environmental policies and hazardous materials. Online students will need Microsoft Office (or another word processing program), Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash.

Two potential careers with this degree are environmental science technician and hazardous waste removal worker. Most environmental science and protection technicians need an associate degree or the equivalent in postsecondary training, although some entry-level positions are available to those who have a high school diploma. Hazardous material removal workers typically do not need postsecondary education, but an associate degree program can provide training in radiation protection.

Associate Degree in Environmental Science

Through this online degree program, students learn ways to help organizations implement policies and programs that protect the environment. Students may gain management skills and learn to create, implement and enforce guidelines designed to create a healthier and safer work environment. The program is intensive to the sciences and students must have at least a high school diploma in order to be eligible for enrollment. Only a few online programs exist in environmental science at the associate level, but related online programs include environmental studies and environmental management.

Program Information and Requirements

The online associate degree program in environmental science typically takes about two years to complete. Students can complete the courses entirely online, though some programs may require completion of an internship or training program in person. Web-based applications, such as Blackboard and Angel, provide students the opportunity to watch pre-recorded video lectures, interact with other students and complete assignments online.

In addition to a working computer and reliable Internet access, students must also have a word processing program, such as Microsoft Office. Additional programs, including Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash, may be necessary to effectively use Blackboard or Angel.

Common Environmental Science Courses

Students take many general education courses in addition to environmental science courses. Program types vary, some allowing students to complete them completely on their own time, while others include regularly-scheduled due dates.

History of American Environmentalism

Students study American environmental history, from when the colonists first arrived until modern times. They study the way various traditions, technologies and attitudes have shaped the way Americans view their responsibility to the environment today.

Environmental Disasters

Students examine hazards by focusing on the natural events that cause them and studying common human reactions.

Environmental Politics

Students examine environmental issues from a global and national perspective. They study the policies in place and evaluate ways to make them more effective.

Hazardous Materials

This course discusses ways to properly handle materials that are hazardous to the environment. Students learn ways to store the materials and precautions for getting rid of waste.

Ergonomics Principles

Students learn the correct way to reduce workplace stress in relation to the handling of large, heavy or unsafe materials. They learn to identify related risk factors in order to protect workers.

Career Information

Upon completion of an online associate degree program in environmental science, students can find careers as science technicians, which, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( requires at least an associate degree. Students can also find careers as hazardous material removal workers; this may require additional hazardous materials training. In 2015, according to the BLS, hazardous materials removal workers made a median hourly wage of $19.08 and science technicians in environmental science and protection made a median of $20.69 per hour.

Continuing Education Information

Online bachelor's degree programs in environmental sciences are available; however, students who wish to become environmental scientists must complete at least a master's degree in the field, which can also be achieved online. Doctoral programs in environmental science are also available, although not online.

An online associate degree program in environmental science teaches students about environmental politics, hazardous materials and more. Graduates may pursue further education in the field, or find work as science technicians or hazardous material removal workers.

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