Contrary to what many people think, the environmental sector offers plenty of job opportunities. While some career opportunities require a college degree, there are also many environmental jobs without a degree. For example, you can get an environmental job with a GED or other equivalent qualifications.
If you are a nature lover and wish to pursue a career in environmental science or related fields, this guide is just right for you. It provides a wide range of details on environmental jobs, including a list of high-paying environmental jobs without a degree and their education requirements, plus places where you can find these jobs.
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What Is an Environmental Job?
Environmental jobs, otherwise called green jobs, are occupations that primarily provide services or products that improve and preserve the quality of the environment. These jobs protect biodiversity, prevent pollution, produce safe energy, and reduce the environmental footprint. You may find them in the agricultural science, research, administration, public health, and manufacturing industries.
The effects of climate change are now more visible than ever. As people increasingly advocate for environmental sustainability, restrictions on fossil fuels, and the rise in environmental regulations and policies, firms now look to green-collar workers to help achieve more sustainable processes, efficient waste disposal, and reduced carbon footprint.
What Do Environmental Jobs Pay?
There are diverse specializations of environmental jobs, and their salaries differ significantly from one another. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the annual median wage for environmental workers was $69,760 as of May 2020. Occupations that require more sophisticated skills and education enjoy higher pay.
According to LinkedIn’s 2022 Global Green Skills Report, environmental jobs in the US increased by 237 percent in the last five years. Environmental jobs show a promising growth rate that suggests more job opportunities in the future. The International Labor Organization reported 12 million new renewable jobs and a job growth projection of about 24 million new green jobs worldwide by 2030.
What Skills Do You Need to Land an Environmental Job?
Knowledge of Environmental Policies and Regulations
There are numerous policies and legislations that companies must follow to achieve global or national sustainability recognition. Knowing these laws and understanding how they impact the environment and businesses is essential for many environmental jobs. Likewise, it is crucial to stay updated as these regulations are often changed or revised.
Environmental awareness means being able to think about your actions and their potential impact on the environment and human health. That involves understanding the principles of environmental science and having knowledge of environmental law, policy, and management. It also means being aware of the climate crisis and the latest environmental issues, and being able to think critically about them.
Research and Analytical Skills
Developing research and analytical skills is crucial for success as a green-collar worker. Research helps you find innovative solutions to industry-wide or company-specific problems. Analytical skills help you derive actionable insights from your findings to address various environmental concerns.
Communication, Leadership, and Project Management Skills
In your career as a green-collar worker, you will likely work with stakeholders and team members to achieve set environmental goals. Having excellent communications skills helps you relate ideas and instructions to other team members. Likewise, project management skills ensure that you can maximize the material and human resources available to achieve set goals.
What Education Do You Need to Get an Environmental Job?
The educational requirements for environmental jobs vary with the specialization. Many environmental career paths, such as environmental chemistry, require an associate degree, a bachelor’s degree, or higher qualifications, mainly because of the high-end and specialized techniques needed.
In contrast, there is a range of roles that do not demand many educational qualifications. Career paths like environmental technicians and green HVAC technicians only require a high school diploma or an equivalent qualification. Instead of college, professionals in these fields can get relevant training through apprenticeships, courses, and bootcamps.
Why College Is Not for Everyone
College is an excellent way to get a well-rounded education and meet new people, but it is not the only way to achieve these things. There are many other options available for people who do not want to go to college, and it is important to choose one that is right for you.
Some people choose to go to trade or technical schools instead of colleges. These schools offer programs that teach specific skills in a shorter period than traditional colleges. Some people choose to get their education online. This option allows them to learn whatever they want at their own pace and from any location.
Can a Coding Bootcamp Help Me Get an Environmental Job?
Yes, the best coding bootcamps can help you get an environmental job. Several environmental jobs require strong programming backgrounds, ranging from entry-level positions to management roles. Some of them include environmental scientists, environmental engineers, GIS analysts, and database administrators.
Since environmental jobs often require a strong technical background, coding bootcamps can be an excellent way to gain relevant skills, but they may not be enough. You may have to pursue further training from a certified trade school to learn other aspects of the green job, like policies, regulations, and installation techniques.
How to Get an Environmental Job with a GED
Research Career Paths
The first step towards launching an environmental career is to check out various tracks available and select one that suits your career goals. You should also ensure that you meet the basic educational requirements required to land a job in that field.
Get Relevant Training
There are several trade schools and online courses that prepare you for specific environmental jobs. While getting a relevant advanced degree-level education is the most common path, you should also be open to different channels to learn about recent environmental information, news, and events to stay updated on the latest trends in the field.
Obtain a License and Certification
Getting certifications from renowned authorities verifies that you have the skills to take on specific environmental jobs. Not to mention, it is an excellent addition to your resume. Depending on your location, some specializations require obtaining a license to practice.
Apply for Internships
Internships are an excellent way to hone your skills. They expose you to actual industry problems and help you learn unique solutions to those challenges. Moreso, they help you build relevant industry experience and boost your portfolio.
Build a Solid Resume and Perform Streamlined Job Searches
A well-written resume lays a good impression of you to your potential employer. Since you do not have a college degree, you may choose to develop a functional resume highlighting your skills and core competencies. When performing job searches, you should also look out for the company’s requirements and apply for a variety of roles that fit your portfolio.
High-Paying Environmental Jobs Without a College Degree
|Waste Management Manager||$114,690||8%|
|Occupational Health and Safety Specialist||$72,530||7%|
|Urban Farmer or Agricultural Manager||$68,090||Less than 1%|
|Natural Resource Scientist||$64,010||7%|
|Environmental Test Technician||$51,630||8%|
|Green Construction Worker||$37,080||7%|
|Forest and Conservation Worker||$30,640||– 8%|
Best Environmental Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree: A Closer Look
Waste Management Manager
A waste management manager is responsible for the overall waste management of a company. That includes organizing and implementing recycling and garbage disposal programs and working with local government officials to ensure compliance with environmental regulations.
While a bachelor’s degree isn’t required, you should have at least three years of work experience in environmental services or waste management. Being in a management role demands excellent leadership and communication skills.
An environmental scientist is a professional who studies the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of the environment and strives to protect it. They may work for government agencies or in the private sector. Some of their duties may include conducting research, writing reports, and advising policymakers on how to protect the environment best.
Environmental scientists need to have a strong understanding of science, math, engineering, and natural science. They must also communicate effectively, work well in teams, and stay up-to-date on the latest developments in their field.
Occupational Health and Safety Specialist
An occupational health and safety specialist’s key role is to create and enforce safety protocols in the workplace. They ensure that employees are safe and healthy and that the workplace is free of hazards. That can include ensuring that workers have the correct safety equipment and conducting safety audits.
Occupational health and safety specialists may also be responsible for training employees to perform their jobs safely. They may also be involved in investigating workplace accidents and injuries.
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A landscape architect is a professional who plans, designs, and oversees projects for the construction and maintenance of public and private outdoor spaces. These spaces can include parks, playgrounds, gardens, cemeteries, and campuses.
Landscape architects must have a strong understanding of horticulture, engineering, architecture, environmental studies, and design to create successful outdoor spaces. They must also communicate effectively with clients, contractors, and other professionals to bring their vision to life.
Urban Farmer or Agricultural Manager
An urban farmer is a professional who works to produce food in an urban environment. Agricultural managers are responsible for planning, organizing, directing, and controlling all agricultural production and activities.
The role of urban farmers and agricultural managers is growing in importance as the world’s population becomes increasingly concentrated in cities. These farm workers and agricultural managers must be able to think creatively and solve problems to produce food for a growing population.
Natural Resource Scientist
A natural resource scientist is a professional who specializes in the study of natural resources and the management of those resources. Some of the occupations that fall under the broad umbrella of natural resource sciences include park rangers and marine scientists. While the park rangers protect terrestrial natural habitats, marine scientists protect bodies of water.
While you don’t need a college degree to work as a natural resource scientist, most employers prefer applicants with at least one or two years of experience in related work. However, an advanced degree in marine biology or soil science will be helpful to advance your career.
Environmental Test Technician
An environmental test technician is responsible for conducting tests on various ecological parameters, including temperature, humidity, noise levels, and air quality. They also work with clients to identify any potential environmental hazards.
The work of environmental field technicians is essential as they help ensure that workplaces and public spaces are safe and comfortable. They also help companies comply with federal government regulations governing ecological safety procedures. They may be responsible for monitoring air quality, water quality, or noise levels.
An arborist, also called a tree surgeon, is a professional who practices arboriculture, the science and art of caring for and managing trees. Arborists are involved in the planning, planting, pruning, maintaining, and removing of trees. They may also do some landscaping work or work in forests.
Climbing arborists use ropes and harnesses to move through the tree and use hand tools such as chainsaws, loppers, and axes to cut away dead or diseased branches. They may also use herbicides and pesticides to treat trees. Arborists must be able to think on their feet, as the work they do is often dangerous and unpredictable.
Green Construction Worker
A green construction worker specializes in sustainable building practices. They use materials and methods that are environmentally friendly and conserve resources. Their duties also include retrofitting buildings to make them more energy-efficient.
Green construction workers reduce the negative environmental impact that buildings have on the environment by using recycled materials, installing energy-efficient systems, and choosing environmentally friendly construction methods. They must also be skilled in various areas, including carpentry, electrical work, and plumbing.
Forest and Conservation Worker
A forest and conservation worker protects and manages forests, parks, and other natural resources. They work to maintain a natural environment, healthy forests, and ecosystems by planting trees, controlling pests, and preventing fires in natural habitats.
Forest and conservation scientists typically have a high school diploma or equivalent. They may receive on-the-job training to handle specialized equipment, such as chainsaws and aerial lifts.
Companies That Offer Entry-Level Environmental Jobs
- AECOM: This is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a wide range of markets, including transportation, environmental, and government agencies. If you are looking for an entry-level position, you can streamline your search on popular job boards to find AECOM’s entry-level job offers.
- Jacobs Engineering Group: This is an American engineering company with more than 230 locations worldwide. It offers a range of services in the water resources, environmental, infrastructure, and mining sectors, including environmental and water samples investigations, hydraulic modeling, and engineering design.
- Tetra Tech: Founded in 1966, this company provides consulting, engineering, and construction services, including water and wastewater treatment, environmental remediation, energy and resource management, and infrastructure development.
- Garney Holding Co: This company specializes in the construction, operation, and maintenance of water and wastewater systems. It operates in four business segments, namely water distribution, water treatment, wastewater treatment, and construction.
- US Ecology: This is a renowned provider of environmental services solutions with over 70 years of experience. It offers services such as recycling and efficient disposal of hazardous materials, disaster cleaning, and emergency responses.
Where to Find Environmental Jobs That Don’t Require a Degree
Green Jobs specializes in green and natural resource job postings. You can find a wide range of jobs on this platform, including part-time and full-time positions, remote, entry-level jobs, and internships. Narrow your search for a job that suits your taste using filters such as job title, location, and education level. Upload your resume and set up your account to get regular job alerts on a variety of roles.
Environmental Career features a variety of green job openings, alongside the job description, an overview of the hiring company, the eligibility requirements, and the procedure for application. Job seekers with high school diplomas who took non-traditional training can filter the search by typing their highest education level in the search bar. That streamlines the search result to postings that match their portfolios.
The EcoJob board is an online resource for connecting people with environmentally friendly jobs and environmental science careers. It includes a searchable database of green jobs, an online job fair, and a blog with tips on finding a green job and networking. It also helps to promote green careers and educates people about the many opportunities available in the green economy.
Consider an Environmental Jobs Degree Later in Your Career
Although you may not need a degree to get started in the environmental field, you may want to consider additional education later in your career, considering the numerous benefits. The most apparent advantage may be that a relevant degree helps you scale to more rewarding career paths since you already have years of experience.
When deciding on a major, ensure to choose one that is most relevant to your career path. For an associate degree, you should consider taking courses in agricultural science, environmental science, and geology. Completing a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree program may be necessary for some specific specializations.
Environmental Jobs Without a Degree FAQ
Yes, popular job platforms like Indeed and LinkedIn also have many environmental job postings. Simply type “environmental jobs” into the job search bar on the platform’s website to find them. You can also include other filters to narrow the search results to suit your job preference and find an entry-level position.
Yes, there is a variety of environmental jobs that are in high demand. Some of the most popular environmental science careers include environmental engineers, atmospheric scientists, environmental consultants, environmental scientists, and environmental health and safety specialists.
There are many environmental jobs for students. One option is to become park rangers who protect natural resources in parks and public lands. Another option is to become conservation scientists. Furthermore, students may also join green research groups or train for entrepreneurial environmental jobs like solar panels, HVACs, and wind turbine service technicians.
Yes, many environmental jobs can be done remotely. For example, you could be a remote sensing analyst who uses satellite imagery to assess the environmental damage in a given area. There are many jobs in the environmental education field that can be done remotely.
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