Environmental Studies vs. Environmental Science
Although the two terms may seem interchangeable to some, the subject of environmental studies is in fact different from environmental science.
Environmental studies is a field that focuses less on the technical scientific aspects of the environment and more on how humans influence and are influenced by the environment. It looks at the effects people have on the environment and effects that the environment has on today’s society. Students earning environmental studies degrees are often preparing for careers in fields like environmental planning and management, environmental law, education and more. An environmental studies degree incorporates ways in which traditions of cultures around the world affect the environment, looking at the social and political aspects of how people and the natural environment have interacted and continue to interact with one another.
Environmental science, on the other hand, consists of using biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics to address and solve issues between humans and the environment. Issues and ideas generally addressed include things such as pollution and the possible ways to find or create new energy sources. The study of environmental science focuses mostly on the more technical aspects rather than the social aspects of various environmental issues.
*Despite their differences, environmental studies and environmental science both focus on addressing environmental concerns in today’s society.
Environmental Studies Degree Programs
If environmental studies sounds like a subject you may be interested in studying, then you should consult your guidance counselor for the best ways in which you can prepare to focus on environmental studies in college and when you should begin researching and applying to schools with good environmental studies programs. Some colleges and universities require students who major in environmental studies to pursue a double major in nearly any subject in order to best build their education and increase future career options. Online degree programs are also an option.
One of Canada’s largest universities dedicated to academic excellence, York University offers three degrees in environmental studies: a bachelors degree, a masters degree, and a doctoral degree. Professors at York are highly experienced researchers and continue to contribute to the constant expansion of environmental studies, giving them excessive knowledge to pass on to their students in hopes that someday they, too, will succeed in the field. The environmental studies masters degree program reinforces the importance of research to improve environmental issues from a social standpoint, including environmental planning, environmental policy, and environmental law. By consulting with their advisors, students can generally develop their own programs and put together dissertations to receive their doctoral degrees in environmental studies.
Located in St. Petersburg, FL, Eckerd College offers students an excellent environmental studies program. This degree program helps students understand both built and natural environments and how they are affected by humans. Experienced professors educate students on how and why things like economics and politics have an influence on how people act towards their environment. Students have also been known to find jobs in environmental art, scientific journalism, environmental politics, and other related fields in the workforce by studying behavioral and natural sciences in addition to humanities at Eckerd College.
Bucknell University, in Lewisburg, PA, offers students the chance to earn an outstanding program in which they can earn a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies. This program covers everything from environmental research design to geology, building students’ understanding and problem-solving abilities in order to best succeed in finding jobs of their choice in today’s job market. The university also strongly encourages students to complete research projects both in and outside of class in order for them to gain experience and knowledge to build impressive resumes. Internships and study abroad programs are also available opportunities to those studying environmental science.
Careers in Environmental Studies
While attending a college or university to complete an environmental studies degree, it is very important that you research career options for people with environmental studies degrees. Getting an idea of what career path to pursue will help you better shape your studies to accommodate your future career plans. This section is meant as a stepping stone in your search for the career path that works best for you.
Entry Level Careers in Environmental Studies
With a bachelors degree in environmental studies, you may find that you qualify for one or more of the positions described here.
Environmental PlannerAn environmental planner assists in the planning and preparation of environmental research projects, confirming that instructions adhere to rules and regulations set by both the state and government to ensure the safety of the environment and its inhabitants. Entry level environmental planners typically possess a bachelors degree in environmental studies or related field and may have little to no experience in the field. They are highly organized and possess proper leadership skills.
Environmental planners may make around $43,000 or more annually, based on education and experience levels.
Assistant Environmental Specialist
An assistant environmental specialist helps with conducting environmental assessments, takes samples of various elements within an environment (water, soil, etc.) for testing, and takes part in the testing of the elements among other responsibilities. An assistant environmental specialist is highly schooled in environmental law and policy with a bachelors degree in environmental studies or related field. Little to know experience is required, as many people tend to learn on the job. Assistant environmental specialists tend to be highly organized and excellent at written and verbal communication.
Assistant environmental specialists can earn around $50,000 or more annually, based on education and experience levels.
Advanced Careers in Environmental Studies
Upon earning your masters degree or doctoral degree in environmental studies, many more career opportunities will present themselves to you. Some that you may qualify for are described below.
An environmental artist contributes to the development of film sets or video games. He or she is in charge of creating lifelike replicas of props like forests, lakes, grounds, etc. in various weather conditions. Degrees for environmental artists typically revolve around computer programming and other related fields, but it is also important that they are highly knowledgeable in environmental studies in order to best understand the relationships between people and their environments. It would be wise for someone interested in pursuing a career as an environmental artist to choose a double-major program at a reputable college or university. Environmental artists working for gaming companies are usually required to have at least two to three years of experience working with 2D and 3D technology. All environmental artists should possess excellent attention to the most minute details and good written and verbal communication skills. Experience is usually required.
Environmental artists may earn around $60,000 a year, based on education and experience levels.
Natural Resources Manager
A natural resources manager serves as a sort of wildlife and plant life conservationist and can work for government agencies, schools, or various companies. Natural resources managers who work for government agencies typically oversee and enforce environmental laws. Those who work in parks are also often in charge of educational programs and tours for park visitors. Natural resources managers typically possess a bachelors degree in environmental studies, conservation science, or another related field and often have a masters degree in a related field as well. They also have a few years of experience and possess excellent communication and organizational skills.
Natural resources managers may earn over $64,000 annually, based on education and experience levels as well as the types of organizations for which they work.
Companies that Hire People with Environmental Studies Degrees
Plenty of companies around the world are looking for people with environmental studies degrees. The job market may be mean, but the more you search, the more likely you are to find a job doing what you want to do. After you earn your degree, you will find that you may find work in various places. Below is a brief list of examples of companies that hire people with degrees in environmental studies.
Avysion Healthcare Services – hires positions for medical marijuana inspectors, agricultural inspectors, building construction inspectors, etc.
Unified Port of San Diego – hires positions for assistant environmental specialists, environmental specialists, redevelopment planners, etc.
Kiewit – hires positions for environmental specialists and more
Owens Corning – hires positions for environmental health and safety leaders, production supervisors, safety and environmental specialists, business economists, etc.
Halliburton Company – hires positions for environmental specialists, systems administrators, field engineers, logging geologists, etc.
If you are interested in exploring the social and economical aspects of how the environment influences people and how people influence the environment, then you should consider earning a degree in environmental studies. Check out colleges and universities with reputable environmental studies today.