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What Can I Do with a Masters in Sustainability?

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What a time in the world to think about conservation and sustainability. Not only are careers in this field expanding left and right, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ outlook, but the planet is dependent on these professionals for a future. There are many ways to plug into the expansive world of sustainability, including professional experience, but also education. Some people achieve a bachelor’s degree in a related field and decide to return to school for an advanced degree. There are many master’s programs that highlight sustainability. A master’s degree can offer an in-depth emphasis on a particular field within sustainability, and/ or it can give students the leadership edge to achieve an advanced role within a company or organization. Needless to say, some positions in the realm of sustainability require master’s degrees and beyond. This includes science professionals and organizational directors. 

You will not find ubiquitous coursework within masters in sustainability programs as there are so many places you can go with this advanced degree. There are many opportunities to engage in special topics including in-depth research training, classes that centralize policy and environmental legislation, as well as many options within the sciences including marine biology, industrial engineering, research, and environmental sciences. In most cases, such programming will include a mix between classes, independent related projects, and even the possibility of hands-on career training. It is not uncommon for students to achieve specialized masters in business administration programs that are geared towards environmental sustainability. Leadership roles in this field are incredibly expansive with lots of lucrative salary potential, not to mention opportunities to do meaningful work in the world. One thing that graduate programs in general emphasize is extensive coursework on leadership, which in many cases includes communication. Once again, masters in sustainability jobs can take you in so many different directions. Let’s look a little closer at some of the possibilities that such a degree might offer: 

What Jobs Can I Get with a Masters in Sustainability?

Environmental Scientist

Environmental scientists generally work for various government entities,  universities, or consulting firms. They are bonafide scientists that are responsible for wearing many hats. They conduct research on a myriad of issues including climate change, environmental issues, deforestation, and pollution found in the oceans, air, and other bodies of water. These professionals are responsible for so many imperative tasks including looking deeply at data and finding clear ways to report their findings. They also develop innovative ways to collect data. Data visualization is a critical aspect of many environmental scientists’ jobs. They are also responsible for supporting design, conservation, and the subsequent assessments and reflections of their organization’s work. 

Sustainability Director

If you are wondering what kind of jobs require a planning and sustainability master’s degree, a sustainability director is probably at the top of the list. These professionals are sustainability visionaries. They work within so many different companies and organizations including government agencies and in the world of education. They are generally facilitators that support everyone within a company or organization to actualize the goals of deeper sustainability. They work to ensure facilities are more sustainable, figure out ways to reduce waste production, and train employees to save energy. They are the jacks and janes of all trades when it comes to sustainability. In other words, they wear many hats including budget maintenance and management, and utilizing effective leadership strategies. 

Zoologist and Wildlife Biologist

This is a dream job for those who are lovers of both science and animals. These professionals look deeply at living organisms and a variety of specials. They might work in laboratories as research scientists who help companies cut down on their waste production and have more sustainable practices. This includes a variety of efforts for energy saving. They work within teams to support water and soil analysis efforts and help with land surveying practices. They often work within teams and are excellent at collaboration. The majority of their work might take place in the field,  in a laboratory environment, or a mixture. 

Climate Change Analyst

These professionals have a lot on their plate. They look deeply at environmental issues that impact global climate change and global warming. Their job descriptions include collecting data samples, which include water, soil, and even crops to analyze.  They develop the plans necessary to understand climate change as well as the tools to prevent and reverse it. This includes analyzing and assessing a variety of environmental threats. Subsequently, they will prepare visual reports that utilize a range of technical skills to share and explain their findings. 

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