Careers in the Field of Sustainability: The Available Degree Programs

BuzzOnEarth is an online publication on environmental sustainability and human wellness, focused on creating positive impact. BoE aims to bridge the knowledge gap and act as a catalyst in accelerating sustainable development.

Introduction

We are all familiar with the term sustainability. The concept of sustainability has been emphasized for an extended period. With the united nations’ sustainability goals achieved by 2030, individuals and governments must teach ways to achieve sustainability. These sustainability goals can be achieved only if the individuals know how important sustainability is for preserving the environment. For bringing innovations while preserving the environment, businesses, firms, and companies must know what ways to adopt to promote sustainability. For this, sustainability professionals would be required who are experts in the field of sustainability. Yes, you heard it right. There are degree courses in sustainability that cover the subjects involved in a typical business degree program and emphasizes ecology, natural resources management, systems thinking, and environmental science and policy. 

Why opt for a career in sustainability?

Individuals interested in preserving their environment and want to make a difference to the planet should choose sustainability as their careers. Students can choose from a bachelor, master, doctorate, or associate degree that can help them develop new and more environmentally friendly technologies, conserve resources, bring awareness about environmental and social issues and improve overall efficiency. Individuals choosing sustainability as their career can become environmental engineers, sustainability specialists, and managers. These career opportunities will help individuals positively impact the environment, quality of life, and coming generations.

Skills that can be gained from pursuing a sustainability career

Students can attain skills like research and analytics, problem-solving, decision-making, and communication skills through a sustainability degree. These skills help locate information, solve problems, and tackle challenges. It also helps in collaborating with team members. 

Degree programs that are available in the field of sustainability

A career in sustainability can be made by earning a bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, and an associate degree in sustainability. These degrees help the students to specialize in one or more fields. An associate degree is a primary degree for graduates. For better positions and roles, a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree should be preferred. An advanced doctorate can also be attained for taking a managerial position. Let’s discuss the available degree programs.

  1. Associate degree in sustainability– An associate degree in sustainability is the foundation for students in biology, statistics, chemistry, and physics. The curriculum includes classes in communication, sociology, environmental science, and environmental ethics. The students may pursue an associate course in subfields like sustainable horticulture, arboriculture, and landscape contracting. Students who pursue an associate degree can take up administrative assistants and other supporting roles. Individuals can take up a conservation worker’s role in implementing conservation efforts with government agencies and nonprofit organizations. They can also opt for a career in environmental science and protection technicians. Technicians can work as research assistants that help in conducting tests and analyze results. 
  2. Bachelor’s degree in sustainability– a bachelor’s degree in sustainability helps the graduates attain knowledge in engineering, policy analysis, organizational consultancy, and research. The curriculum includes topics related to water management, energy issues, environmental economics, and sustainable communities. The students can build skills through internships and practice. This four-year degree program requires students to do their research and present their findings. Students can also go for an advanced curriculum like urban sustainability, civil engineering, or soil research. Students pursuing a bachelor’s degree in sustainability can work in positions like environmental engineers, environmental consultants, ecologists, geoscientists, and environmental health and safety analysts.  
  3. Masters degree in sustainability– a master’s degree program is an advanced degree in sustainability. Students can learn topics like environmental studies, marine biology, and industrial engineering that prepare them for work as researchers, consultants, and designers. A course in green MBA can also be done to prepare students for business sustainability jobs. These programs emphasize leadership and communication. With a master’s degree, positions as sustainability directors, environmental scientists and zoologists, and wildlife biologist. These positions help the company to become more environmentally friendly and practice teamwork. The scientists research environmental issues such as climate change, water pollution, and deforestation. Biologists work as laboratory scientists who help the company to reduce waste and increase energy efficiency. 
  4. A doctoral degree in sustainability- Doctoral degree in sustainability requires students to make new and positive contributions. Students can design and conduct research that results in a project that they must present and earn their degrees. After a master’s degree, professionals can pursue a Ph.D. in a sustainability program to work as college professors and research scientists.  The course covers topics like human dimensions of sustainability and qualitative methods for environmental challenges. Students with doctorate degrees can become directors in private companies and government organizations. The curriculum includes topics such as econometrics, resource economics, collective action for global sustainability. Individuals interested in pursuing higher education in sustainability can go for a doctorate course in sustainable education. This degree can fill positions like consultants, educators, and managers. The curriculum includes project planning, global citizenship, community engagement, etc. With a doctoral degree in sustainability, students can become professors/ lecturers. They help students with research work, laboratory work, and theses. They can also become research scientists who gather and access information. They can also work in fields that require design and developmental skills.
  5. Certification- there are many certificate courses also available for pursuing a career in sustainability. These courses can be done by professionals who are busy and want to improve their skills and knowledge. Certificate courses can be done on topics like environmental management, urban planning and preservation, and sustainability.  These courses can be done online and will give a boost to their career in sustainability. Professionals can improve their careers and salaries by earning such certificates like the International Society of Sustainability Professionals (ISSP) awards certification to workers who pass a 75-question exam. The exam covers sustainability topics, tools, and systems thinking.

Conclusion

The demand for this profession is going to increase in the near future.  As individuals and businesses are becoming more and more aware, the demand for sustainable products is growing. Investors also keep a check on what the companies are doing for sustainability. The organizations are now hiring sustainability professionals to develop their sustainability programs. Apart from the corporate world, the demand for sustainability is also increasing in colleges and universities. Sustainability professionals can fill positions in higher education and government.

Also, did you check the courses available at BuzzOnEarth University? About time you did!

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