Many college students feel an intimate connection to the natural world and they want to turn that affinity for everything that surrounds us into a career. Students who want to combine their love of nature and school may find that an environmental science degree is the best choice for them. Going to school to learn about something you're passionate about is one of the best ways to guarantee that you'll succeed with good grades and graduate on time.
This may sound like a foreign field, but it's actually rapidly growing. It's an interdisciplinary academic field that focuses on combining physical and biological sciences. That means you'll be using physics, chemistry and geology (among other academic fields) to study the environment and environmental problems. The focus of your coursework will be important in the way you work as an environmental scientist later.
Coming to fruition in the 1960s and the 1970s, environmental science is a relatively new field. Multiple issues, including the need for a multidisciplinary approach to solve growing environmental problems, spurred its creation. Several historical environmental issues, including the Santa Barbara oil spill in 1969, led to a growing public awareness of the environment.
Environmental scientists can choose to work in a number of different, smaller subfields that encompass the field as a whole. Environmental chemists may focus on the chemicals that can cause damage to the environment, and what chemicals can be used as replacements. Environmental biologists focus on protecting the flora and fauna of the world. Some environmental scientists even work in the legal side of the profession, helping to enact and enforce laws that are focused on protecting the environment.
These scientists even have a myriad of choices when it comes to where they want to work. Some may want to pursue a hands-on future, spending their time traveling and exploring the world. Others may be more comfortable in offices or laboratories, studying environmental science with the help of technology.
Scientists in this category held almost 86,000 jobs in 2008, with the majority working for the government. The number of jobs is expected to grow faster than most occupations, especially as the population grows and it becomes more difficult to maintain the environment. The average annual income of environmental scientists was $65,280 as of 2008.
To work in the environmental field as a scientist, workers need a college degree. Many professionals will also go on to pursue a graduate degree in the field. During school, students will study geography and a number of science fields, including biology, earth science and physics. Computer and technological aptitude is important, as well as the ability to cohesively explain research methods and ideas.
There is definitely work required to get a degree in environmental science, the work is worth the payoff. Environmental scientists get to see the affects of their work illustrated clearly every day. Unsurprisingly, the need for certain work study and internships will work well as students earn their online degrees, allowing a required flexibility in study. As a graduate, you'll have the unique experience of knowing that you're making a difference - not only in the way you live but also in the way future generations will be able to enjoy our planet.