September 17, 2021
Given the change of course that has happened in the world, we wanted to provide expert opinions on what aspiring graduates can do to start off their careers in an uncertain economic climate. We wanted to know what skills will be more important, where the economy is doing relatively well, and if there will be any lasting effects on the job market.
Companies are looking for candidates that can handle the new responsibilities of the job market. Recent graduates actually have an advantage because they are comfortable using newer technologies and have been communicating virtually their whole lives. They can take what they've learned and apply it immediately.
We spoke to professors and experts from several universities and companies to get their opinions on where the job market for recent graduates is heading, as well as how young graduates entering the industry can be adequately prepared. Here are their thoughts.
West Virginia Wesleyan College
Dickinson State University
Michigan State University
Kansas State University
Missouri University of Science and Technology
University of Notre Dame
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Michigan State University
Arizona State University
University of Central Missouri. On behalf of AIHA
George Mason University
Dr. Romi Burks: Certainly, a strong scientific background and understanding of the scientific process would rank as #1 in terms of skills. An environmental scientist needs both to be able to conduct quality sound science but also recognize the strengths and weaknesses in other work.
An Environmental Scientist needs strong communication skills, both oral and written. It is often necessary to explain and/or justify the research associated with the environment and/or "translate" complex environmental phenomena, problems, and solutions into ideas that people understand. Construction of metaphors and parallel situations help.
In terms of "additional skills," a working knowledge and ability to use and incorporate GIS (in simple terms, mapping - but in more complex terms, geographical spatial analysis) set apart many in the field, and the technical nature of this skill set often garners more money in terms of career prospects.
To the rest, I would add another quality environmental scientists that readily employ includes critical thinking skills. In this case, professionals must analyze situations for any ethical concerns that could exist and also for the solution that takes into account multiple perspectives. Such work also requires a strong degree of organization.
West Virginia Wesleyan College
Department of Biology and Environmental Science
Joseph Niederhauser Ph.D.: Data collection, management, and analysis skills stand out on an Environmental Scientist's resume. Specifically, knowing how to design experiments, collect many different kinds of data (e.g., soil or water samples, GPS points, wildlife surveys), creating or maintaining a database for samples, and analyzing changes over time or impact of those data make you very marketable. Additionally, knowledge and practice of state and federal environmental protection laws stand out.
Joseph Niederhauser Ph.D.: Communication skills are essential as an Environmental Scientist. You need to communicate with a lot of different people and organizations over a variety of mediums. Having good people skills is very important when communicating with team members, the public, government officials, and property and business owners, especially when the data collected impacts them. Presentation skills are also very important in order to present data at government agencies, scientific meetings, and public talks.
Joseph Niederhauser Ph.D.: Data collection, management, and analysis skills. Specifically, knowing how to design experiments, collect different kinds of data, creating or maintaining a database for samples, and analyzing changes over time or the impact of those data.
Joseph Niederhauser Ph.D.: Having technical skills will help you get a job, but more advanced degrees, certificates, and experience using those skills will help you earn more. Even volunteering for state or federal agencies will help you get those skills and experience. Many federal agencies, especially the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, offer directorate programs to get experience prior to finishing your degree, and when you complete your degree, the program will help to place you into a job within the agency.
Department of Geography, Planning and Environment
Dr. Pascale Biron Ph.D.: A multidisciplinary understanding of environmental problems (Earth systems and climate science, environmental biology, environmental chemistry) is crucial considering the increasing number of challenges, including climate change, severe weather events, the loss of biodiversity, pollution, and the unsustainable use of the Earth's resources that we face in the Anthropocene.
Dr. Pascale Biron Ph.D.: Critical thinking skills to:
- understand the underlying processes relevant to environmental and sustainability sciences
- acquire and interpret analytical data
- understand physical processes of our planet and interpret data related to climate change and sustainable environmental management
- assess the situation within a given ecosystem in an integrated fashion
Dr. Pascale Biron Ph.D.: - Geographical Information Systems, remote sensing, and geospatial data analysis
- Computer programming
Dr. Pascale Biron Ph.D.: - Solid, interdisciplinary, environmental foundations in sustainability from a science perspective
- Tools to solve practical problems in the field of environmental science, including programming, geospatial
technologies and statistics
David Osgood: The post-pandemic workplace will be more complex, require more versatility, and likely experience greater interactions within an increasingly diverse workforce. This will primarily result from an increasing presence of virtual platforms for exchange of ideas and other routine business. Some practices will become easier as a result but new challenges will also emerge. Institutions are likely to adopt more flexibility into the workplace so they are prepared to react to employee demand for increased work-life balance (e.g. strain on child-support) or less predictability in supply and delivery (e.g. changes in transportation). The job market has always required specialized skills and in-depth disciplinary knowledge but, increasingly, positions will open for people that are able to effectively coordinate activities across disciplines and cultures. Institutions will become more co-dependent to increase the ability to adapt to market changes and changing regulations. Interdisciplinarity, the combination of more than one discipline into activities, will become a more explicit requirement within the working world to allow employers to bring complexity and flexibility into their business model. The interdisciplinary nature of fields such as environmental studies where psychology, biology, ecology, and ethics are equally leveraged to address problems, will be called upon to create a network of professionals that are able to work efficiently together. There could even be an increase in an emerging category of profession dedicated to helping a business or institution adapt, where interdisciplinary training will be a cornerstone.
David Osgood: Adaptability has always been an invaluable asset in the working world and will become more important in the post-pandemic environment. Individuals with interdisciplinary study, by virtue of the field, are more likely to have received formal training in being flexible and adaptable. The workplace was already becoming more complex leading up to 2020. Professionals cannot be intimidated by switching between software platforms or learning new means of interpersonal interactions as exchanges become increasingly virtual and as institutions become more interdependent.
Versatile communication in the workplace will be another area where the interdisciplinary skillset is increasingly marketable. The coming generation of professionals will need to easily toggle between the language of the economist and the biologist and have at least a rudimentary understanding of their respective methodologies and perspectives.
Adaptability as a skill will be important to address, for example, which pre-pandemic practices will become part of the new order in the working world and which practices will not. There will be a tendency to return to "business as usual". Institutions, however, will look toward tele-commuting and virtual meetings as a replacement for traditional business travel and will also forge more partnerships with other organizations. An interdisciplinary employee who is able to work across multiple platforms and recognize the inherent challenges and opportunities to a diverse working environment will be an invaluable asset. Similarly, the employee who is just as capable of independent work as they are at working with others, will stand apart.
David Osgood: There is unpredictability moving forward in where, geographically, workforce demand will increase, especially as employers adapt to a post-pandemic setting. There will also be less demand on emerging professionals to relocate to specific regions of the country (or the world), as virtual work becomes more commonplace. At the same time, work in interdisciplinary fields such as environmental studies, is predicted to become more available in regions experiencing higher than average population growth, particularly in urban centers. Modern cities are attempting to make themselves more attractive to new professionals and so are creating incentives for businesses to start up or expand their operations. Areas experiencing higher growth, such as the sunbelt urban centers of Phoenix, Houston, Atlanta, Raleigh, among others, are requiring more interdisciplinary environmental professionals to keep up with development. Urban planning itself eventually demands more work at the intersection of multiple disciplines (e.g. public policy and environmental regulations, equity and diversity, public health and safety).
Eric Brevik: At present, I think that is hard to say. Many of our graduates end up in the private consulting sector. Our most recent graduates were able to get good jobs. Of course, a prolonged economic setback, like the one we're currently witnessing, might have an impact on that success. So I think a lot of this depends on how long the pandemic lasts and how much of a hit the economy takes.
Eric Brevik: For our environmental science students, the following skills are very important: 1) understanding the science behind their jobs, 2) communication skills (both oral and written), and 3) quantitative skills. The first skill set is probably pretty obvious. Most people would think an environmental scientist should have a good science background. Many people overlook the second set, though. When I worked as an environmental consultant, I spent more time communicating than doing science. Working for a consulting company, we wrote proposals for jobs we wanted to get, wrote reports for jobs we had completed, and presented information orally to our clients. So communication skills are critical. And finally, good quantitative skills are important, particularly statistics, so you can tell your clients whether or not the levels of potential contamination you may have found at their site are actually a problem.
Eric Brevik: Anything that provides a student experience that is related to what they are studying and want to do for a career. So for those who want to work in industry, an internship is a really good idea. Many of our environmental science students who do internships end up working for the company they intern with. If you want to go on to graduate school, working as an undergraduate researcher in one of our science labs really stands out.
Berkley Walker: First off, let's clarify which job markets I have some thoughts on. I am most familiar with folks going to graduate school, working as a postdoc, and looking for permanent PhD-level plant science or plant biochemistry jobs in academic and government positions. If you are a graduate student or postdoc still gaining experience for a permanent position, the market is unchanged. There are still funds for training graduate students and postdocs, in fact, this funding may have even increased a little since the pandemic. I have seen a greater pinch on the permanent job front. Universities have hiring freezes on new faculty and the situation for state science jobs is similarly tough. Plant science jobs at the federal level have been less affected, and they do seem to still be hiring.
While the situation right now looks pessimistic for permanent positions, there is no reason to think that these jobs will disappear forever. I expect there to be a strong market in the next one to two years for plant science PhD's, as universities and government agencies seek to fill positions that were on hold during the pandemic.
Berkley Walker: Data science skills. Coursera and similar platforms offer excellent data science courses. These skills are in demand and will complement any in-person lab experience that you may miss out on if you have to delay an internship or graduate school. I would recommend courses in general bioinformatics, machine learning, and statistics.
I would also recommend that you connect with any professors whose work you are interested in from your undergraduate institution and ask for an opportunity to apply some of your computational skills. This is a good way to get meaningful experience and set up a solid letter of recommendation. It is very difficult to write a letter of recommendation for a student who I only interacted with in a classroom setting, regardless of how diligent they were.
Berkley Walker: If you plan to go to graduate school, first get work experience in an academic or industrial lab. This will help you shift from an undergraduate to a graduate mindset where it is more about what you deliver and less about what you can regurgitate on a test.
Dr. J.M. Shawn Hutchinson Ph.D.: Communications and other "soft" skills continue to be cited by employers as both being valued and an area where students are underprepared. With the pandemic and more non-traditional work environments, I can easily see these "soft" skills becoming even more valuable.
Dr. J.M. Shawn Hutchinson Ph.D.: There is more demand for students with leadership and business/entrepreneurship training to complement strong foundational knowledge and technical skills from their major fields of study. But these technical skills extend well beyond fieldwork and include statistical analysis and expertise using geographic information systems. I've also noted an increase in the desire for students to have programming and scripting skills, as well (e.g., R, Python).
Given that supply often exceeds demand in the natural resource management area, students from traditional fields of study can set themselves apart from their peers and bolster their academic credentials with relevant minors, secondary majors, and certificates to document their enhanced knowledge and skill sets. Based on my interactions with students and employers through the Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences Secondary Major at Kansas State University, breadth of knowledge (including social science perspectives), an appreciation for interdisciplinary approaches to solutions, and the ability to work in diverse teams is often highlighted.
Dr. J.M. Shawn Hutchinson Ph.D.: I have certainly noticed that private-sector employment opportunities seem to be on the rise and often overlooked by students. I often place my environmental geographers and GIS specialists in companies including engineering consultant firms and those in the transportation sector.
Joel Burken Ph.D.: To this point we've seen little impact for our graduates in Civil, Architectural and Environmental in getting positions. Graduates from last academic year placed into full-time positions at a reported 96 percent rate, which is actually up. As a university our placement rate was 90 percent and starting salaries actually rose 5.7 percent. We had a few students lose internship positions last summer, but most had a start setback or found another opportunity, while some decided to take summer classes. We opened up to offer additional classes to give more options as well.
Joel Burken Ph.D.: We have recommended to advance their technical and professional training. We have a new BS+MS degree option for high performing students that make our MS engineering degrees very achievable in a few years, in Civil, Civil-Architectural and emphasis, or Environmental. We also have certificates in a variety of areas, including collaborative with Engineering Management to get more project management focus in their background, and also a certificate as a specific credential.
Joel Burken Ph.D.: Get started and pursue your passions! I tell all of our students and graduates to find where their strongest skill sets and their passions intersect. If they are good at what they do (aligning with talents, skills) and they love what they do (passion for their work) in their profession, they will have a fulfilling and successful career in their profession. I specifically don't say they have a "job" or will "work" in their careers. I want them to know they are part of a great and noble profession in engineering, with a higher calling than a "Job". If they find their path, that 40- to 45-year career will be a great adventure, and they will look back as a Proud Miner alumni member.
Dominic Chaloner Ph.D.: Reflecting an ongoing trend, use of "Big Data" and large-scale (over both space and time) studies to better understand all aspects of environmental change (pollution, land-use change, loss of biodiversity, climate change). This is epitomized by the NEON Initiative (see Neonscience). More specifically, I also think there will be even more emphasis on understanding how environmental change is leading to disease outbreaks (in the broadest sense, including with food production), and what can be done to stop the spread before they become pandemics. The coronavirus pandemic has and will provide literally mountains of data that are going to need to be sifted through to stop a similar pandemic happening again; meantime, there is going to be a huge amount of funding in that area, and not just in the biomedical sciences.
Dominic Chaloner Ph.D.: Familiarity with remote sensing and other similar approaches and techniques to generate data efficiently and rapidly; coding to wrangle big datasets into a form that they can be used, and then modeling to make projections using those datasets.
Dominic Chaloner Ph.D.: I still think the federal government despite the last four years of the Trump Administration and its antipathy to science. However, I think increasingly state governments and non-government organizations are developing and building their own expertise, especially in the Western and Northeast US. That said, as environmental change becomes even more evident in the Southeastern US, so there are going to be more opportunities for the projection and mitigation of the emerging effects of environmental change, such as because of sea-level rise, extreme storm events, and disease outbreaks.
James Tinjum Ph.D.: Many of our Geological Engineering alumni report that they have increased their productivity when consistently working from their home office. While some managers were worried at the onset that there would be losses in output due to lack of person-to-person interactions and also limits in innovation, this has not, largely, occurred. Because Geological Engineers typically work on remote project sites (i.e., the project sites tend not to be in their home city), we are seeing the ability of our alumni to work on projects around the nation and the world from the comfort of their home offices. Younger staff engineers are still traveling, extensively, for the investigation, siting, and construction/rehabilitation of infrastructure and energy projects, including siting/investigating utility-scale wind and solar sites and the hazard assessment and rehabilitation of coal combustion residual retention ponds and hydroelectric facilities.
James Tinjum Ph.D.: Active participation in undergraduate research opportunities, student organizations, and co-ops or internships with engineering firms tend to stand out. Many of our students are very active in the Geological Engineering Club, Engineers without Borders, the Society of Women Engineers, and the Department of Energy Wind Competition, to name a few.
James Tinjum Ph.D.: Because many of our students and alumni work in energy resources (both extractive energy and sustainable/renewable energy), there is a tendency for many of our students to head south and west, to locations such Denver, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, and Seattle. However, approximately half of our alumni stay within a one-state radius, including significant opportunities in Chicago, Madison/Milwaukee, and Minneapolis.
Susan Masten Ph.D.: Independence, motivation, dedication, especially since many people will likely continue to work from home. Also, it is important that they be a team-player as many jobs require collaboration (even while working remotely) to complete tasks. The students have had to hone these skills and I've seen significant improvement since we went online in Spring and even improvement over this semester. Optimism and a positive attitude even in stressful times. Creativity as we find new ways to complete tasks.
Susan Masten Ph.D.: I'm seeing our students getting employment all over the US. Engineers are always needed and students are finding employment in consulting, governmental or regulatory agencies, industry, municipalities, and laboratories, to name a few. The jobs are often in the power, telecommunications, water, oil and gas, and manufacturing industries.
Arizona State University
Barrett Honors Faculty
Dr. Becky A. Ball: Environmental issues haven't stopped because of the pandemic, and I continually see job ads being posted and advertised. Construction, land management, reclamation, water treatment... these things haven't come to a stand-still! There might be a slow-down in hiring for any contract work, until firms are certain they can land contracts to support their employees, and there will be a lot more working from home, I imagine. But as far as I'm aware, environmental jobs are still hiring across many sectors.
Dr. Becky A. Ball: The environmental field is very broad, so the skills that stand out best depend on the career field, but in general, the skills I see most frequently listed on job ads are skills in geographic spatial analysis (GIS), statistical analyses and data handling, hands-on experience with field techniques for working with plants and wildlife, and experience with NEPA and other related environmental regulations. (That's why we have built all of these skills directly into our Environmental Science degree coursework!)
Dr. Becky A. Ball: I am not aware of any "hotspots" of ENV jobs. Wherever there is construction, industry, managed lands, parks, and municipalities, there is a need for environmental scientists! For example, there is a large hiring effort with federal agencies like the Natural Resources Conservation Service to fill positions across the country, not just in any one particular location. A lot of our ASU Environmental Science graduates have stayed in Arizona, working for federal and state agencies, private consulting firms, non-profits, and research positions. Others have spread out to other states.
William R. Schubert: I always advise entry-level environmental professionals that there are two general areas of practice in environmental science: Pollution Control and Conservation. Entry-level jobs will tend to take you into one area of practice or the other. Fortunately, for current job seekers, I think the job markets in both areas will be growing over the next several years. This is due to predictions for a greater focus on energy/climate matters and more vigorous infrastructure spending.
Those interested in Pollution Control practice will find entry-level positions in both private and public sector organizations. Given the volatile recycling and energy markets, many industrial manufacturers will be hiring waste managers to make the best environmental and economic decisions about the final destination of their wastes. The USEPA and state regulators will also be watching this closely and hiring entry-level regulators. Large industrial manufacturers (e.g., GE, Caterpillar) and utilities (e.g., Exelon, PSE&G, Mid-America) tend to offer more career paths for young professionals. Private sector service providers (e.g.. Waste Management, Veolia) will be outstanding opportunities for young professionals. Environmental consultants will also hire environmental science majors to provide these types of services to the small and mid-size industries.
William R. Schubert: The job market in Environmental Conservation practice should also grow. This is due to the expected upturn in infrastructure and utility spending. Many of these jobs will be with environmental consultants that sample/test air and water samples. The environmental consulting industry will also be active in performing environmental assessments. These companies are both large and regionalized. More positions will be available in the smaller, regional consultants. Not for profit organizations also provide good, entry-level positions in environmental conservation and tend to be regionally focused.
William R. Schubert: Although all parts of the country will be subject to the market trends identified above, it stands to reason that the more populated and heavily regulated states will have higher demand. Therefore, there may be a greater opportunity in the east and west coast markets.
Dr. Georgi Popov QEP, CSP, ARM, SMS, CMC, FAIHA: Many organizations and individuals are currently facing a lot of uncertainty surrounding the COVID pandemic.
The real impact of the pandemic extends far beyond the workers' health and safety and health risks to ordinary citizens. The effects of this pandemic have global implications that are unprecedented and will persist long after vaccines become available. As a result, the economy has suffered, as indicated by the uncertainties, financial markets, and their reactions to this event, which cascades into other concerns - workplace health and safety, job security, ability to pay mortgages and bills, and healthcare costs.
The shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N95 face masks, filtration equipment, the inability of ventilation systems to handle higher efficiency filters, and medical equipment shortages added to the global stress level. With many workplaces are requiring workers to work from home using personal computers and company-owned laptops, exposure to cyber threats increases, such as phishing emails, ransomware, and malware infections. Psychological stress from a significant change in everyday life, social isolation, and uncertainty about the future is also risk that organizations must recognize and manage.
The risk of an infectious disease outbreak, epidemic, or pandemic in the workplace must be managed so that the organization can continue to protect their employees, operate safely, and achieve their business objectives. This requires an organization to develop an infectious disease preparedness and response plan in advance, with internal trigger points for implementation and response.
If I have to point out one significant trend in our profession - that would be the application of the risk management model to emerging and developing risks. This aligns well with the anticipation of such risks.
OEHS professionals should be prepared to lead risk management teams. In order to do that, we should be able to anticipate, identify, and recognize emerging risks and potential implications for workplace hazards. An interesting development is the virtual auditing process. OEHS professionals will have to develop skills to carefully analyze, even virtually, the risks stemming from the emerging risks or identified workplace hazards. Next, we have to evaluate risks to achieve As Low As Reasonably Practical (ALARP) risk levels. Based on the assessment, we have to be prepared to make recommendations on protecting our employees, improving the health and safety of workers and the surrounding community. This is a critical development. Many OEHS professionals realized that we have to pay attention to merging risks well beyond the fenceline of the company.
Another interesting trend is the requirement to monitor and review the proposed control measures to improve productivity, sustainability, and product stewardship. Many business leaders realized that healthy workers are more productive, which means better financial results.
During the current pandemic, we had to learn how to align OEHS programs with operational, financial, and strategic objectives of the organization. An important trend in this area is the inclusion of OEHS professionals in the risk-based decision-making process. During such challenging times, we had to learn how to communicate the value of OEHS risk assessment and risk treatment in terms of financial and non-financial benefits, which is an interesting trend. The visibility of our professional members had increased significantly. With that comes new responsibility. We have to work together with upper-level managers (C-Suite) to fully integrate OEHS programs into an Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) system.
For me, the most exciting trend was the rapid transition from the "silo" approach to OEHS being considered a critical part of the ERM system. In the past, OEHS was considered a separate function. Now it is an integral part of any risk-based decision for the organization. It is obvious that there will be more and more OEHS jobs in the future. It was a wake-up call for many organizations.
Dr. Georgi Popov QEP, CSP, ARM, SMS, CMC, FAIHA: Today we face risks that didn't exist five years ago. Some of them didn't exist yesterday. Technology is developing so rapidly. It is scary to think that the smartphone is 14 years old.
We will see a lot of "smarter" devices used in the field. Think about tablets used for virtual audits, web-based auditing systems, and the integration of many more sensors and devices. Wearable sensor technology will play a significant part in risk identification, analysis, and evaluation.
We are using Infrared (IR) sensors/cameras to detect moisture, lack of insulation, moving parts evaluation, piping evaluations, emissions, etc. Virtual reality used for training and assessment is a reality (funny how that sounds) now. However, it will continue to play a significant role in the future.
We should mention "smart" PPE. Integrated wearable technology will become increasingly prevalent in PPE thanks to improving safety management, increasing productivity, and offering long-term cost savings by preventing accidents. In this area, we can learn from the military. For instance, 'Second Skin' Suits Will Protect Future Soldiers from Dirty Weapons? link
"Second skin" material could actively protect our workers from biological and chemical risks. The "second skin" material has single-walled carbon nanotube pores, which are too small for biological agents to pass through, and it may reduce the exposure to some chemical.
We should also mention 3D Training, holographic principles, 3D Printing, and similar technological advances.
Another interesting area is the use of machine learning and AI to analyze data from exposure assessments, "smart" direct-reading instruments, injuries, illnesses, and disorders.
Two more areas deserve special attention:
Robotics to eliminate workers' exposures.
Drones used for pollution sampling, power lines inspection, agriculture...
Opportunities are endless.
Dr. Georgi Popov QEP, CSP, ARM, SMS, CMC, FAIHA: Nearly all students graduating from our ABET-accredited and BCSP Qualified Academic Programs at the University of Central Missouri are finding jobs. A lot of students have jobs a year prior to graduation. What I see is amazing. Potential employers and recruiters will have to contact us well in advance in order to attract students. Based on my conversations with colleagues from other accredited programs, they see similar trends. Such statements are well supported by reputable sources like BLS Job Outlook: "Overall employment of occupational health and safety specialists and technicians is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Specialists and technicians will be needed in a wide variety of industries to ensure that employers adhere to both existing and new regulations."
What is more interesting is the fact that NIOSH's most recent National Assessment of the Occupational Safety and Health Workforce, published in 2011, found that demand for safety professionals was significantly outpacing supply. Employers reported that they had planned to hire more than 25,000 OSH professionals in the five years after the survey, while academic programs in the field expected to graduate fewer than 13,000 qualified job candidates.
Our profession is not shielded from the baby boomer problem. According to S&H magazine, "employers expected 10 percent of safety professionals to retire within a year after the survey, and 48 percent of the occupational safety workforce was at least 50 years old, which means that many more now are nearing retirement."
In AIHA's Salary and Compensation Study conducted in 2019, the average starting salary among young professionals was $58,300; after ten years with their certificate, the reported average annual base salary in the U.S. was $113,641.
A. Alonso Aguirre Ph.D.: A career in environmental science, policy, and/or conservation is extremely rewarding and exciting. A degree in environmental science and policy will provide you with high qualifications to be sought-after by many agencies from local to federal, NGOs and businesses and private enterprises; you can make important contributions to solving complex environmental issues that challenge the integrity and sustainability of our planet. This is the time to get into a green career! The rapid growth of green/alternative economies will require more jobs exponentially. Organics, recycling, alternative energy, conservation of species and ecosystems, fair trade in green investments, sustainable agriculture and forests, and ecotourism, to name a few. Whatever your chosen career or life path will be-science, business, advocacy, public administration, journalism, parenting, community activism-you can play an important role in protecting Earth's biodiversity.
A. Alonso Aguirre Ph.D.: The fastest jobs in the next 3-5 years are green jobs with great salaries! They will be highly technical and will require specialized skills, including photovoltaic installers, wind turbine technicians, hazardous materials removal techs, so technologies in those areas linked to environmental engineering, climate change modeling, and prediction; all will be an asset. However, we will see a great need for environmental scientists, protected area managers, and conservation scientists working with endangered species and ecosystems. Basic biological, ecological field, and lab skills will be an asset.
A. Alonso Aguirre Ph.D.: Salaries will be great, depending on skills and area of expertise; they can go for as low as $40k as a zookeeper/tech to $100k wind turbine/solar photovoltaic tech. Specialized training with an MS or Ph.D. degree can get you starting salaries around $70k