Entry-Level Sustainability Jobs & Salary

Entry-level sustainability workers protect the environment and do not need a bachelor's degree. In this article, we examine several careers while highlighting job responsibilities, salary, and estimated employment growth.

Career Options for Entry-Level Sustainability Jobs

Sustainability refers to using resources in a way that ensures they will be available for generations to come. Sustainability workers strive to protect resources and control how they're used or find other resources that can be used for the same purpose without harming the environment. Entry-level positions in sustainability require on-the-job training or a postsecondary certificate or bachelor's degree. Entry-level sustainability careers can be found in areas such as science, engineering, construction, installation, forestry, production and healthcare.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Outlook (2016-2026)*
Environmental Science and Protection Technicians $44,190 12%
Environmental Engineering Technicians $49,170 13%
Occupational Health and Safety Technicians $48,820 10%
Solar Photovoltaic Installers $39,240 105%
Wind Turbine Technicians $52,260 96%
Forest and Conservation Workers $26,940 -1% (decline)
Recycling and Reclamation Workers $28,770 (production workers, all other) 5% (production workers, all other)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Entry-Level Sustainability Jobs

Environmental Science and Protection Technicians

Earning an associate's degree in environmental health is the standard educational requirement for environmental science and protection technicians, although it's sometimes possible to enter this career field with a high school diploma. They investigate when the environment is polluted to determine the source of the pollution and help ensure that businesses and individuals follow environmental regulations. Their objective is to prevent the environment from being damaged so they fulfill the requirements to be considered a sustainability profession.

Environmental Engineering Technicians

Environmental engineering technicians use special equipment to test the health of water, air and soil and then take steps to remove pollution from the environment. They also work to prevent damage to the environment whenever possible, which makes this engineering occupation qualify as a sustainability career. These professionals are usually required to have an associate's degree in their field to prepare for their career. It qualifies as an entry-level job because with experience they can advance to supervisory roles and with additional training they can become environmental engineers.

Occupational Health and Safety Technicians

Occupational health and safety technicians are healthcare professionals involved with examining worksites to ensure that they follow regulations and are safe for employees. They are also concerned with environmental safety and may address existing or potential hazards that can damage the environment. Since part of their work involves protecting the environment and environmental resources they can be considered sustainability professionals. They can pursue this occupation with a high school diploma and on-the-job training or earn a postsecondary certificate or associate's degree.

Solar Photovoltaic Installers

Solar photovoltaic installers qualify as entry-level sustainability professionals because they can learn their career through on-the-job training and their job is to install solar panels that use sunlight to produce electricity. They help reduce demand for non-renewable power sources and prevent potential environmental damage from actions such as building hydroelectric dams. Solar photovoltaic installers place the solar panels, ensure they're attached properly and perform repairs on existing panels when necessary.

Wind Turbine Technicians

Wind turbine technicians install wind turbines and perform maintenance on wind turbines to ensure they continue to work properly. They can prepare for their career by earning a postsecondary certificate or associate's degree. Their objective is to ensure that the wind turbines they work on effectively use the wind to produce electricity. Since their work involves using a renewable energy source and reduces the demand for non-renewable resources they help preserve the environment and prevent environmental damage from nuclear power facilities and other methods of producing electricity.

Forest and Conservation Workers

Forest and conservation workers are forestry professionals that work to keep forests healthy. They are only required to have a high school diploma and their work involves planting new trees and caring for older trees so that forests are maintained, so this is an ideal entry-level sustainability occupation for individuals who like to work with nature. Some forest and conservation workers may also respond to forest fires and take steps to prevent the fire from spreading.

Recycling and Reclamation Workers

Recycling and reclamation workers are only required to have a high school diploma and can learn the skills they need once employed. They are responsible for grouping different recyclable materials together so that they can be used to make recycled goods. Since there are minimal educational requirements and the objective of this profession is to ensure materials are reused to help reduce the demand for resources such as metals this qualifies as an entry-level job involving sustainability.


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