Five Degrees For People Who Care About The Environment

Published on: May 02, 2024

While some may choose their career paths based on the allure of wealth, power, or prestige, it's important to recognize that there are also those who are guided by a different compass, one that points towards making a positive environmental impact. Nothing is wrong with being ambitious, but making the planet a better place for future generations can be just as fulfilling. Careers that involve protecting the environment can directly impact health, resources, and the economy, making these jobs extremely important. If you care about the environment and want a career that can improve the well-being of all living beings, then the following degrees are excellent ways to get started. 

Environmental Science

Environmental science is among the most common degrees for students caring about the environment. It is a very generalist degree that enables students to choose a specialization and focus on their chosen area of interest. Environmental science is available at the Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Doctorate levels, with specializations in environmental management, environmental education, environmental policy, conflict management, and environmental sustainability. Many students choose environmental science degrees as it teaches them to develop and implement sustainable solutions, think critically, and work as a team with like-minded people. Completing an environmental science degree can lead to career opportunities such as environmental scientist, sustainability specialist, environmental technician, and environmental science educator.

Environmental Engineering

Pollution is a big issue affecting the environment, and an environmental engineering degree can lead to a career that involves solving this problem. Working as an environmental engineer means dealing with the interaction between people and the environment. In addition to tackling issues concerning air and noise pollution, solid waste, wastewater, and potable water, environmental engineers also plan, design, and control various systems related to environmental quality management. Careers in the field of environmental engineering can involve assisting in cleaning up contaminated sites, ensuring that environmental regulations are being complied with, and coming up with solutions for environmental issues. Along with core engineering classes, an environmental engineering degree also provides students with a solid chemistry, biology, and microbiology background.   

Sustainability Studies

Sustainability plays a vital role in protecting the environment, and a degree in sustainability studies can provide students with an understanding of the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Students are taught methods for maintaining ecological and environmental health, creating economic welfare, and pursuing social justice in a changing world. The degree also covers the ways in which human activity changes the environment and the practices for building a sustainable future. A degree in sustainability studies can lead to a career in health care, public service, education, policy advocacy, and other sustainability-related fields. Sustainability professionals also work in various industries to help their employers conserve resources, improve efficiency, and develop solutions to create environmentally responsible technologies or services. 


An ecology degree teaches students about the relationship between living organisms and factors that impact their environment. Earning a degree in ecology is helpful for students who want to research environmental issues like climate change or the loss of species diversity. Ecology is a diverse field, giving students plenty of avenues to choose from depending on their scientific interests. For example, students can focus on conservation ecology if they want to help conserve the integrity of ecosystems, while marine ecology focuses on oceans, lakes, and rivers. After completing an ecology degree, students can find employment as natural resource managers, park naturalists, ecological sciences professionals, environmental consultants, and more. Students who want to help undo the damage that has already been done to the environment can also work as restoration ecologists and assist with rehabilitation programs or the repopulation of habitats. 


Journalism might not be the first degree that springs to mind when thinking about the environment, but spreading awareness about environmental issues is very important. A journalism degree helps students develop their interviewing, writing, and editing skills, which can help them become journalists, reporters, correspondents, editors, and public relations managers. Students can also choose concentrations, such as convergent media, to help them become successful media professionals. With this degree, students can inform and inspire individuals to better care for the environment and hold companies that damage the environment accountable for their actions. 

Gaining Insights And Experience

Ultimately, there are plenty of ways to get involved in saving the environment. If you are still determining what career path suits you best, try to align your degree with your interests, skills, and aspirations for the best results. You can also gain insights and experience in different fields by looking for volunteering opportunities and speaking with professionals. 


It is a common misconception that careers that involve protecting the environment pay little or are too niche to make a living from. While money is not the primary motivator for people who care about the environment, plenty of career paths in this field pay well. More importantly, many environmentally focused careers offer personal fulfillment and the satisfaction of making a positive impact.

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