Education Requirements for Environmentalists

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    Environmental Health

    • Environmental health careers focus on how all aspects of the environment affect public health. Job titles within the field include air pollution and surface water specialists, hazardous waste specialists, occupational safety experts, food safety specialists and emergency response specialists. Most of these job titles require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in environmental health, though some may also require a master's. The Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs accredits educational programs in the field. Many federal jobs in environmental health require professionals to graduate from an accredited program. Some states may also recognize AEHAP accreditation as achieving a specific standard, especially for registered environmental health specialist or sanitation jobs.

    Regulatory Careers

    • Environmental regulation includes careers in rule making, industry compliance and enforcement to assure agencies and organizations adhere to legislation, bills and laws passed by the president. In rule making, you can work as an environmental protection specialist or program coordinator. Environmental engineers, quality assurance personnel and regulatory compliance analysts focus on industry compliance. Environmental enforcement attorneys, civil investigators and paralegals also fit this category. Many of these jobs can be obtained with bachelor's and master's degrees in environmental engineering, environmental policy or environmental studies. If you have a degree within another field not specifically environmentally targeted, you can develop your regulatory career through relevant industry experience or technical training.

    Corporate Jobs

    • Corporate environmental jobs can be found within organizations and businesses whose concern is adopting policies that preserve the environment. For this type of career, you may need a business background along with environmental courses. For example, some universities offer MBA programs that take an interdisciplinary approach, offering concentrations in environmental studies or sustainability practices. Environmental compliance managers and environmental engineers also work for corporations, which typically require a minimum of a bachelor's degree in an environmental or industry-related discipline along with relevant experience.

    Nonprofit and Lobbying

    • Working with a nonprofit or environmental organization may involve educating the public on environmental issues or helping influence environmental regulations. Examples of these groups may include national organizations like the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the Environmental Defense Fund and National Wildlife Federation, or associations and organizations at the state level. Starting a career with one of these organizations may only require demonstrated experience in the field or training with a bachelor's degree in a relevant field. Becoming one of these organization's managers or directors may require an advanced degree, such as a Ph.D.

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