By earning a bachelor of environmental science degree, students acquire the advanced knowledge and training they need to pursue careers in complex, challenging, and rewarding fields related to the environment. To fully grasp the complex subject material and understand modern environmental issues, students typically have to complete an interdisciplinary curriculum that combines together courses from various related subjects. Once the students have successfully completed the coursework and earned their degrees, they may be fully prepared to compete for entry level positions of employment in the workforce.
Helping to solve the environmental problems faced by the world today requires that individuals within the field of environmental science fully understand not only the science behind these issues, but also the cultural, economic, and political implications as well. The majority of universities and colleges offer four year degrees in environmental studies, leading to either a Bachelor of Science or art degree. In general, a bachelor of environmental science degree requires between 125-135 credit hours to complete, with anywhere from 35-50 credit hours of that comprising a core curriculum of courses from various subjects, with the remaining credits either general education requirements or electives chosen by the students*.
Typical courses include ecology, natural resources, environmental remediation, microbiology, toxicology and environmental assessment among many others. By completing these courses and choosing appropriate electives within the field, students will be ready to enter a number of different careers after graduation available to those who've studied environmental science*.
Common career outcomes for graduates who have earned a bachelor of environmental science degree include working as environmental consultants for businesses, advisors for government agencies, educators, research assistants, writers, and more. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, environmental specialists and scientists earn on average an annual salary of $63,570. Those who have bachelor degrees will earn less and start out at around $38,570 per year**. Of the industries that hire these experts, the federal government offers the highest pay while state and local governments offer the lowest.
The BLS also predicts that job openings for these professionals may increase by around fifteen percent over the next decade. This is just slightly higher than for the average profession within the United States. With a growing population placing greater demands on natural resources and the environment, as well as a heightened awareness of important issues among consumers, work for experts in the field is expected to be available primarily in government and from private consulting firms**. Businesses as well as government agencies are expected to increasingly consult with environmental experts before making important decisions, which translates into greater opportunity for those who have the appropriate education and experience.
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*For more information, please visit: http://utsa.edu/ucat/cos/BSES.html
**For more information, please visit: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/environmental-scientists-and-specialists.htm#tab-1