Careers for Environmental Studies Majors

Graduates with Majors in Environmental Studies either its environmental Sciences or Environmental Engineering study a variety of tops during their studies enabling them to choose from a multiple options of professions. During studies, environmental studies graduates are gain complex skills in biology, chemistry, geology, physics, engineering, so that they can solve problems through interpretation of research. During working on environmental issues your creativity will be tapped as you design environmental research models.

Ultimately the career of a person depends on the interests, skills and values that they can bring and for environmental studies graduates passion for sustainability, nature conservation, ecology, global warming, climate change, water, air and ocean pollution etc. will be helpful.

Below are some careers where environmental studies graduates can work

Environmental Management Representative:

All kinds of organization (manufacturing industries, construction companies etc.) hire environmentalist to represent them at all level. Environmentalist have to

  • Develop Environmental Policy for the Organization
  • Develop and manage Environmental Management System
  • Keep track of all environmental issues
  • Manage and reduce environmental impact organizations activities or services
  • Guide management on all environmental topic
  • Train the work force
  • Continuously improve the Environmental performance of organization

The title of job/designation may vary depending on organizations, it could be:

  • Environmentalist
  • Environmental Management Representative (EMR)
  • Environmental Manager

To know, where to start on Environmental Conservation, Check out : What can you do as an individual to save environment

Environmental Consultant

As Environmental Consultant you can either work as a freelancer or in some environmental consulting firm.an Environmental Consultant should have basic awareness of all environmental issues in all sectors. Service of Environmental Consultants are mostly acquired when projects are in their initial planning stages. As Environmental Consultant you are supposed to:

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  • Help organization obtain Environmental Approvals/NOCs
  • Conduct environmental assessment that can help organizations to mitigation not only current but also future impact on soil, water, air, wild life in the area.
  • Identify area alternatives for project if a project has some serious issues in proposed area

In this job Environmentalist can discover/improve their research, writing and presentation skills.

Compliance officer

As compliance officer, environmentalist have to take care of all legal/standard requirement that an organization have to fulfill. As Compliance officer, you will be looking after:

  • Ensure that all legal requirements are being met
  • Ensure that all customer requirements are being met
  • Develop internal environmental policies or standard

To further understand Compliance requirements checkout: What is compliance?

Auditor

As an auditor you will have to conduct audit of whatever you are assigned to do so (depend of audit scope).

Ethical Trade Executive

Here you are supposed to conduct audits based on Ethical Trade initiative requirements.

Standard auditor

Conducts audit of:

  • ISO standards
  • Customer standards
  • Legal requirements
  • Third party standards

Educator

As environmental studies graduates gain skills, so they can serve as educator as well. with daily facing Environmental issues, it has become necessary to awareness about environmental issues and importance of environmental conservation. Initially environmental studies was a subject at university level but now it has become part of college and school level education as well.

So to teach these subject, subject specialists are required and here environmentalists can do their part.

Environmental Lawyer

To be an environmental lawyer, one has to have degree in Environmental law. As environmental lawyer, you will focus on cases based on Environmental issues. Here you will have to do research and present scientific evidence. You can also work with government to develop environmental policies and plans.

Sustainability Coordinator

As sustainability coordinator you will be assessing the impact of organization and provide remediation measures. You will also participate in organizations planning process. You will prepare a sustainability report and communicate it at different levels. You will develop proposal with cost benefit analysis for environment conservation.

Environment, Health and Safety coordinator:

In this position you will be working to ensure that work environment is safe and healthy for the workers. You will be

  • Conducting risk assessments
  • Planning control measures
  • Training workers on EHS

Your post might vary from organization to organization e.g. EHS/SHE/HSE office/manager/ director etc.

Except all of above, environmentalist can also work on below jobs;

  • Remediation Office
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Green Building Engineer
  • Water specialist
  • Green Energy Specialist
  • ETP (Effluent Treatment Plant) operator/manager
  • Monitor officer
  • Fund raiser for NGO
  • Communication officer
  • Natural resource conservation officer
  • Recycling specialist
  • Waste management officer
  • Scientist (water/air quality)
  • Toxicologist
  • Supply chain analyst
  • Standard Analyst
  • Environmental Technician
  • Restoration Manager
  • Occupational health and safety specialist
  • Hydrologist
  • Environmental Journalist

Some of these jobs might require extra degrees, courses or certifications. E.g. to an ISO auditor one will have to be ISO certified (ISO 14001 EMS, 45001 OHS MS, ISO 50001 EnMS).

Workers Consultation Program

Belcher Roofing Safety Director conducted a fall protection tool box talk at a Temple University project in Philadelphia

Introduction:

Small and medium enterprises or even larger organization treat health and safety inspections as dreadful comprehensive rules and if there is a smallest violation/non compliance, business might get sanctions/restrictions etc. at the same time, without any doubt there are certain reasons to pay attention to workplace safety.

In 2013, 1134 people were killed and another 2500 got injured in Rana Plaza Incident in Bangladesh. Similarly in 2015, it is estimated that each week 93 individuals got killed on job and 3% of them had been seriously harmed or got sick. By conducting a proper investigation it was found that most of these deaths and injuries were preventable

Workplace safety programs have been in place since long and safety professionals have been monitoring and managing it, but there was more needed to control the incidents.

Workers Consultation Programs:

It is human nature to get involved in things and have a say in something and workers are no different. Humans intend to cooperate and willingly get involved more if they consider that their voice is being heard and taken into consideration.

Workers are the once,, who are involved in workplace most of their time and they have the most know how of the operations, hazards from them and how it can be  controlled without disturbing the operation. This type of understanding and knowledge of hazards might not be considered in any controls or training conducted by management so it can be utilized somehow to contribute positively.

Adopted by multiple customers, this is a free and voluntary consultation program that is designed to assist organization to identify and mitigate the workplace hazards causing reduction in serious injuries and deaths related to workplace hazards.

Workers consultation and participation has become part of ISO standard (ISO 45001-2018 – Clause 5.4).

There are certain type of customer compliance requirements that ask organization to develop a joint workers councils for this purpose.

The workers consultation is sought in below mentioned areas:

  • Consultation in case of defining policies of organization
  • Suggestion schemes
  • Use of new materials
  • Reviewing the current safety arrangement and opportunism of improvements
  • For training and development
  • Workplace or working methods changing
  • Safety performance evaluation
  • Participation in hazard and risk assessments
  • Incident/accident investigation – that show, actually what, how, where, when the incident happened
  • To share roles and responsibilities of workers
  • To share legal and standard compliance requirements

In most of the countries workers consultation and participation is sought through labor unions, trade unions etc.

Means of Workers consultation:

Workers consultation and participation can be encouraged through various means as follows:

  • Labor Unions (Collective Bargaining Agents)
  • Formal meetings
  • Suggestion and complaint boxes
  • Training sessions
  • Tool box talks
  • Internal audits interviews

How Consultation and Participation is Encouraged:

  • Maintain a proper and continues channel of communication with workers
  • Make time and resources availability
  • Conduct employees satisfaction surveys
  • Involve leadership
  • Keep things simple
  • Communicate benefits of consultation and participation
  • Hold managers accountable

How to achieve outcomes:

  • Establish OHS committee including workers and management
  • Install suggestion boxes
  • Training and development
  • Include OHS in management meetings
  • Share outcomes of OHS performance with workers

Through workers consultation and participation an organization can comfortability achieve it OHS objectives and targets and bring real time improvements.