Legal Law

Best Environmental College Degrees for Green Collar Jobs

This is the right time to look for a green collar job, because the world is investing heavily in environmental science. With oil prices as high as they are, governments are finally giving incentives to companies that invest in alternative energy, green packaging, recycling and other green initiatives. But getting a job in this ‘green’ niche isn’t easy without the right college degree. Here are the best college degree programs for people interested in jumping on the green bandwagon:

Degrees in Environmental Sciences

What is?

This is a large scientific field that includes some well-known areas of study such as ecology, forestry, geology, and hydrology. Over the years, this field has grown to also encompass areas such as soil science, natural resource conservation, atmospheric science, and some aspects of oceanography. And no matter what area you choose to study, conservation and sustainability are the ultimate goal.

Course of Study and Curriculum

These degree programs provide a broad field of study in the natural and social sciences. This allows students to create their own approach to study as they progress through the department. Many college programs offer an interdisciplinary curriculum that incorporates courses in the natural and social sciences, as well as technology, business, law, and other fields. Knowledge from these courses allows students to have a better understanding of issues such as pollution, human population, waste management, and wildlife conservation.

At the graduate level, a Master of Science allows students to develop a specialized field of study. This advanced degree increases the value of the job and is sometimes required for more advanced careers.


According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the number of jobs for environmental scientists will grow faster than average in the next 5 to 10 years.

With people focused on the environment, the work of scientists will continue to be central to sustainability and conservation goals. Scientists are needed not only as stewards of the environment, but also as consultants when it comes to community education. Your expertise is needed in the areas of water quality, recycling, waste management, and various public and individual “going green” efforts. Additionally, the continued implementation of federal and state policies and corporate regulations will continue to increase the need for skilled workers.

Most professionals in the field find work in environmental protection, research, and natural resource conservation. And, as the need for workers increases in many job sectors, scientists are now found working for government entities, public and private agencies, and non-profit companies, as well as in academia as teachers and professors.

Degrees in Environmental Studies

What is?

This is an interdisciplinary field that focuses on the interaction of humans and the environment, primarily the planet’s ecosystems. A broad field may include various ecosystems and habitats, such as natural and social settings, planned (urban) settings, and the interrelationships between them.

Course of Study and Curriculum

Degree programs incorporate the natural (biology, physics, geology) and social sciences (philosophy and ethics, history, sociology, anthropology) and many fields in the humanities, with a focus on learning about humans, society, and relationships with the natural world. This is another field where students have the opportunity to develop their own course of study and academic focus.

Examples of courses offered at the University of Oregon:

– Climatology
– Atmospheric Physics
-Forest Biology
– Ecology and wetland management
– Human ecology
– Population and Environment
– Political Ecology
– Ecological Power Generation
– Environmental Alteration
– Geological risks
– Human Adaptation
– Human population


The job market for professionals is expected to grow. As public consideration of environmental and natural resource management issues increases, and as more government agencies and corporations are forced to comply with environmental regulations and policies, the need for skilled workers will increase.

Graduates find careers in large companies and corporations, focusing primarily on policy compliance or working for smaller companies in the field of resource management and conservation. Professionals also find work in planning, policy administration, and analysis.

Degrees in Environmental Policy and Management

What is?

This field is related to the use of natural resources and the connection with human and economic factors. It is an interdisciplinary field of study that incorporates everything from ecology-related issues and policies to sustainable development and planning. It implies the supervision and control of the environment and natural resources, optimizing sustainability and minimizing negative impacts.

Course of Study and Curriculum

The field focuses on the delicate relationship between the environment and its ecosystems and the development of business and industry. It is a broad field that can incorporate Urban Planning, EH&S, and even Environmental Science programs. Because of this wide range of studies, students in this major study topics in the natural and social sciences, humanities, business, and law.


With the attention now given to ecological concerns, there is a growing demand for trained professionals to oversee movements to improve environmental quality and guide public efforts on local, regional, and national fronts.

Graduates enter careers that focus on the financial and social aspects of business and green practices. Careers are found in a wide range of areas, including policy and advocacy groups, and smaller businesses and not-for-profit entities, and as consultants to government agencies, public and private companies, and large corporations. People dedicate their careers to ensuring that government policies and regulations are strictly adhered to.

Degrees in Green Law

What is?

Due to the increase in federal policies and regulations (there are now more than 15 federal environmental statutes) that have been enacted to protect the environment from pollution problems and misuse of resources, Green Law is a growing field. The field includes policy enforcement and enforcement, corporate responsibility oversight, waste treatment and sanitation industry regulation, water and air quality testing and improvement, and consumer goods manufacturing. home, to name a few.

Course of Study and Curriculum

Green Law students study an interdisciplinary law and science curriculum, often including courses in economics, ethics, and urban and regional planning.

Focus Areas at Pace Law School:

– Pollution Control and Compliance
– International and Comparative Environmental Law
– Land use
– Energy
– Climate change

Careers offered:

– Compliance and Enforcement
– Animal Law
– Protection of Cultural Resources
– Conservation Law
– Energy and Natural Resources
– Historical preservation
– Maritime and Coastal Law


The growing awareness and concern for ecological issues has resulted in an evolving field of green law. Because of this, the demand for lawyers in the field is expected to increase in the coming years.

Lawyers are now found in major law firms across the country, in federal, state, and local environmental agencies, and on the staff of many nonprofit environmental organizations (Greenpeace). These attorneys represent public interest and advocacy groups (EPA) in connection with the enforcement of federal policies.

Degrees in Environmental Engineering

What is?

This type of engineering involves the application of scientific and engineering practices to prevent environmental damage and correct existing problems. People in this field are involved in the design, construction, and maintenance of structures and methods intended to protect the environment and sustainability. This involves air and water quality control, waste management, alternative energy research and development, pollution research, and many other environmentally based practices.

Course of Study and Curriculum

Programs incorporate the natural, social, and physical sciences to analyze, correct, and improve the interactions between society, technology, and the environment. While many schools are developing environmental engineering programs, most are still found in leading US university engineering departments.

A bachelor’s degree is required for most engineering positions, however engineers often continue their education with graduate degrees and certificate programs to stay current on industry changes and achieve advanced positions.

Areas of study at the University of Connecticut:

– Supply and Water Resources
– Systems Modeling
– Green Chemistry
– Waste Management (Solids, Wastewater, Hazardous Waste)
– Atmospheric Systems and Air Pollution Control
– Environmental and Occupational Health
– Hydrology of Terrestrial Resources


As the shift to alternative fuels and energy sources increases and more corporate regulations and green policies are enacted, people are needed to build, operate and maintain technologies and machinery in accordance with regulations. Over the next decade, the need for recent graduates in the field and transition engineers will increase.

Ecological engineers work in the fields of wastewater treatment, hazardous materials and waste control, and air and water quality control.