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What Are Some Popular Environmental Careers?

Popular careers in the environmental sector vary from conservation research and park management to water resources consulting and environmental education. Read on for information about three potential jobs in environmental writing, organic farming and environmental law.

Environmental Careers Overview

Environmental careers are very wide-ranging, though some of the most popular career fields include environmental technology, environmental science and environmental engineering. However, this article will cover a few other niches of the field: environmental writing, organic farming and environmental law. Read on for basic job descriptions as well as information about potential employers and formal training programs.

Important Facts About Environmental Careers

Farmer Lawyer Environmental Scientist
Required Education High school diploma or equivalent Law degree Bachelor's degree
Key Skills Physical endurance, critical thinking Interpersonal communication, problem-solving mathematical proficiency, attention to detail
Projected Job Growth* (2016-2026) -1% 8% 11%
Median Salary* (2018) $67,950 $120,910 $71,130

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Writing About the Environment

If you are a good communicator who is passionate about environmental issues, you might write articles to educate people about environmental concerns. Environmental writers need journalism skills, like investigative research, interviewing and writing, along with scientific knowledge so they can accurately describe environmental issues. Many newspapers, magazines and websites need reporters or freelance writers to report on environmental and conservation news and trends. Some environmental non-profit organizations hire writers for their magazines and websites or their outreach and marketing departments.

Degree programs in environmental journalism are available at the bachelor's and master's levels, although graduate programs are more common. Sometimes, schools offer dual degree programs that combine journalism with environmental studies, and some schools offer standalone courses in environment and science writing. Individuals with a background in journalism or communications may also become environmental writers.

Farming Organically

Organic farming is an environmentally friendly way to provide our society with high-quality food products. The forecast for the sale of organic food products is continuously rising, says the Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture. Organic farmers may focus on raising animal or crops, producing dairy or managing soil health and pests.

A formal education is not necessary to become a farmer, although it could be beneficial for prospective organic farmers, since the techniques are quite different from traditional farming and degree programs usually teach essential agricultural business and marketing skills. Schools may offer degree programs or short-term training programs in organic agriculture that give students hands-on experience working on a farm on campus to produce vegetables, herbs, fruits and flowers that meet organic certification standards. Degree program in general agriculture or a related field could also provide preparation for a career farming organically.

Working with Environmental Laws

Input from several people is needed to pass an environmental law. Environmental lawyers, environmental scientists and people willing to campaign for the cause are all needed to make an environmental bill a law. Jobs are available with the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce environmental laws and with environmental organizations that promote research, education and law reform. For example, the Environmental Law Institute is a center of communication among lawyers, the government, corporations and the media that focuses on promoting just environmental laws internationally.

Prospective lawyers can find degree programs in environmental law at the Juris Doctor and Master of Laws levels. Individuals who aren't interested in attending law school can complete environmental justice, environmental law or environmental policy degree programs at the bachelor's and master's degree levels, though graduate degree programs are more common.