What to Do With a Degree in Sustainability? | CareerMetis.com

With the growing industry and new opportunities, a degree in sustainability is a thing to get excited over. Global trends have shown us that the direction the job market is going in, is closely tied with the needs and desires of people. One of the reasons for this growing career path is also the businesses orientation towards sustainability. The reachability of these degrees has been one of the reasons to study sustainability.

A degree in sustainability means being able to work in many different fields and industries. This comes with the ever-growing trend of companies implementing sustainable practices. Ultimately it says that you can do many different jobs, while, saving costs, increasing your revenue and saving the planet.

Different people are driven by different factors when they decide to go towards a career in sustainability. Most, do it because they are aware of the costs our planet is paying for our ways of living. But also, many do it because they see a career opportunity in this direction. Nonetheless, this is a win-win situation. You get to build a career in a growing field, and at the same time contribute to the environment.

Sustainability career options

As we mentioned earlier, a career in sustainability can mean doing different things. These job paths differ, from management, law, science, engineering, etc. So, a career in management, engineering, tourism, science, art, and law can all occur under the sustainability umbrella.

The most significant percentage of these careers are in the public sector. But there is also a proper amount of the private too. Some businesses do not hire sustainability professionals, but instead, seek advice from sustainability consultant firms.

Furthermore, many NGOs offer different opportunities in sustainability career fields. As a result, you could take your career in any direction you like. As we see, sustainability careers are replacing traditional professions every day and creating new ones constantly. This means that in the future everyone will need to have some basic knowledge of sustainability to perform well at their job.

Degrees in sustainability vary. Some people choose to complete a bachelors degree in sustainability, while others prefer a master or MBA. There are of course some careers in sustainability that do not require higher education, but most do.

There are many different degree programs in sustainability, like MBA in sustainability management, sustainable engineering, sustainable tourism, etc. All these degrees enable you to take your career in different directions depending on your passion and interest. To have a good sustainability career, you must first know what you want to do and what you’re good at. You must know the ins and outs of the job you seek. Only that way, will you be able to orient your career on the right path.

Given these points, sustainability engineers need a bachelor’s degree in engineering fields; managers need one in business administration or related degrees, etc.

As this career orientation is reasonably new, the Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t have data on the number of people that are currently working on this field. Also, the position namings are still not unified, so there are some troubles in categorizing these careers. But the fact that more and more people are pursuing these professions is no stranger to us.        

Management

Take for example sustainability management. There are a lot of professions you could take on. Generally, a sustainability manager develops and implements sustainability policies. They also supervise the process and make sure everything goes smoothly.

A career in sustainability management could take different directions. You could manage sustainability in the organization in general. Or you could work in transportation, production or operations, making these activities sustainable.

Engineering

A sustainability engineering career is another option. This could mean making the production process more sustainable, decreasing risk in the workplace, etc. depending on the field the organization operates. Sustainability engineers work on offices and worksites or construction sites.

Likewise, in engineering, there are also many different jobs you could do. One is the chemical engineer, where you have to work on minimizing dangerous chemicals emitted during production. Another one is the civil engineer. There you could work on green building and making the buildings environmentally friendly.

Law

A sustainability career could also happen in law. Environmental law firms are very well known for their impact on legislation making. An environmental lawyer is someone that works with clients on water issues, climate change law, native or public land issues, etc. They represent the environmental case each time.

Science

Probably the most known career—when we think about sustainability, we think about science. Sustainability scientists work on minimizing a company’s environmental impact. Their background allows them to understand clearly and work on the root of the problem. Later in their career, they migrate towards high management positions and become sustainability leaders. They work mostly in their office or laboratory, but some might work outdoors in a natural environment.

Science is probably one of the most extensive fields of sustainability careers. It offers many different options when it comes to working. Atmospheric scientists work on controlling air pollution and ways to reduce its impact. Environmental scientists work on finding hazardous factors on the environment and eliminate those if possible. Chemists work on finding new chemicals that have a much smaller effect on the environment, and so on.

More and more young people are showing interest in environmental issues and pursuing careers in these fields. And more companies are offering jobs related to sustainability, seeing that consumers interests and awareness in sustainability and the environment have grown. Almost every career can move towards the cause of sustainability, so every interest and passion can relate to sustainability.

Green jobs contain many different activities. Someone with a career in sustainability might be working outdoors, someone else might work at the office all day, and others are at the lab regularly. The beauty of sustainability careers is in the diversity and richness of the job you get to do.

Written By
Ujëbardha Bekolli is passionate about writing, research, and sustainability. She has studied abroad herself and now wants to help others in that direction. She aims to make a difference with her writing by intertwining her passions and experience into providing advice and guidance for students in her new blog Studying in Switzerland