Environmental Biology

See the projected employment growth and earning potential for environmental biology careers. Get an overview of undergraduate and graduate degree programs that can prepare you for employment.

Is Environmental Biology for Me?

Career Information

Environmental biology focuses on the relationships between organisms and their habitat. Waste management, wildlife management, resource management and environmental law researcher are a few of the career options you have if you study environmental biology. Environmental biologists may find employment opportunities with private companies, nonprofit organizations and government agencies. Your work may depend on your career choice. For instance, if you are studying the effects of a waste treatment plant, you may spend most of your time outside taking notes and making observations on-site; in another example, if you work in environmental education, you may spend most of your time in an office or a classroom.

Employment Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that wildlife biologists can expect job growth of 5% from 2012-2022, a rate that is slower than average when compared to all occupations; the agency also reports that wildlife biologists earned median annual pay of $57,430 in 2013 (www.bls.gov). Environmental scientist jobs, which can also include environmental biology work, are expected to increase 15%, which is more rapidly than average, from 2012-2022. The median pay for this career was $65,090 in 2013, per the BLS.

How Can I Work in Environmental Biology?

Undergraduate Options

Environmental biology and closely related degree programs can be found at the bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. You may be able to find a few jobs related to environmental biology with an associate's degree in environmental technology, but this type of program does not normally allow you to gain in-depth knowledge of environmental biology. A bachelor's degree in environmental biology is a good option for undergraduate students who want to be prepared to work in entry-level environmental jobs. Such a degree program may give you the chance to take courses in pollution ecology, sustainable resource management and environmental data analysis. Some schools may offer internship or fieldwork opportunities through government agencies and local businesses that are involved with the environment.

Graduate Education

If you want to conduct research or you wish to eventually advance to a high-level administration position, you need to obtain a graduate degree. A master's degree program in environmental biology generally includes a thesis research project in addition to coursework. A master's degree may prepare you for most environmental biology management jobs. Researchers need a doctorate degree, especially if they plan to work at a university. You may take advanced courses in environmental physiology and population modeling, among other topics, in a doctorate program.

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  • What Does an Environmental Scientist Do? - Video

    An Environmental Scientist works to protect the environment. They use areas of biology, chemistry and physics to develop ways to defend the Earth.
  • What is Environmental Management? - Video

    Environmental Management is the active management of society's impact on the environment. Students who study Environmental Management can work in a wide range of industries, including waste disposal, pollution control, public health, environmental protection and recycling.
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