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Making the environment a career choice
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By Joshua Pilkington

Environmental sciences offer opportunities, salaries to perspective applicants

Though on the federal level the face of environmental sciences has tilted away from innovation and more towards the archaic mindset of “drill baby drill,” Colorado continues to advocate for environmental innovation and environmental sciences.

“Dollar for dollar environmental sciences is and will continue to be one of the fastest growing sectors of job creation and wealth in the country,” Anwar Said of said. “Though some policy makers choose to remain in the past – regardless of the partisan or economic motivations – they will eventually get left behind as the rest of the world moves towards cleaner and cheaper sources of energy.”

Environmental sciences both as a field of study and as a professional career serve as an umbrella to a variety of fields that have to deal with learning about and saving the environment, while also taking part in one of the fastest growing economic industries in the world. Over 30 careers make up the environmental sciences field among them are well-paying careers Agricultural Engineer, Ecologist, Marine Biologist, Seismologist and Zoologist.

According to the best positions available in the field currently – based on demand, salary, education requirements and job requirements – are environmental scientist, engineer, lawyer, biologist and geologist.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average an environmental scientist and the average environmental engineer will make $63,570 annually and $80,890, respectively. The education requirements for both positions begin with a bachelor’s degree in the specific or a related field and, as with many careers in sciences, experience is valued at a premium.

“The benefit of the environmental sciences field is companies are constantly hiring and because the pool is not as diluted as with other professions, they know that a degree-holding applicant is a strong candidate,” Said stated. “In fact the employment rate of environmental scientists is thriving, with a projected growth rate to rise $30,000 annually by 2022.”

Environmental lawyers are also considered at a premium as more and more litigation comes forward regarding drill sites, fracking and air quality. Colorado alone has seen two recent cases in Broomfield and Boulder County where Broomfield residents are concerned about possible drill sites and Boulder County continues to fight against Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, who has threatened to sue the county for its “moratorium” on oil and gas permits.

Said added that those local headlines as well as the national ones generated by the Trump administration, have ironically aided the growth of the environmental sciences industry.

“The increase in threats to our environment as more resources are consumed and more spaced are commercialized necessitate the recruitment of individuals who possess a strong knowledge of the sciences and the eco system,” he said. “They need individual who can use that to come up with innovative and sustainable solutions.”

Part of that process begins in the classroom where most of the country’s universities have established in-depth, innovative and investigative programs in the environmental sciences to help create the next wave of environmentally conscience professionals.

In 2016 released a study on the top 50 universities for environmental sciences. The study was based on the schools’ location, faculty, its programs’ commitment to the environment, program breadth, level of degrees offered and published research.

Sixth on that list was Colorado College. Based in Colorado Springs, the private, four-year university has developed an environmental program that focuses on students’ understanding and synthesizing their connection to the world and its environment.

The school offers focal studies in Environmental Science (such as environmental consulting, hydrology, conservation management and atmospheric science) and environmental policy (such as environmental law, sustainable development and environmental economics) as well as disciplinary tracks in environmental chemistry and environmental physics.

Reprint from 4/19/17





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