The Grand Canyon state has got plenty of gorgeous environment to soak up, from the well-known big pit up in the northwest corner to the stark beauty of the Superstitions looming over the Phoenix sprawl to the hidden mysteries of the Mogollon Rim. It's great for tourists, but it's even better as a spot to earn a degree in almost any kind of environmental science.
Tucked away in all that scenery are some fascinating geographical and ecological curiosities, entire ecosystems completely isolated from one another in box canyons only miles apart.
Hydrogeology and water quality are subjects of serious study and much practical application in a desert state, and the chain of climatological and environmental circumstances that dictate rainfall, retention, and the flow of waters through the region has an enormous practical impact on the daily life of millions of residents.
As one of the top five fastest growing states in the country, Arizona will continue to have environmental resource challenges. State schools will continue to lead the way in the study of those challenges, and preparing graduates capable of finding solutions.
What Can I Do with an Environmental Science Degree in Arizona
State government jobs are the big draws in Arizona environmental work. Environmental science specialists working for the state are needed to carefully track the dry desert air quality, to monitor critical watersheds and aquifer resource usage, and to help protect desert ecosystems that are surprisingly delicate for such a harsh environment. It can take 70 years for a saguaro to first bloom, an achievement lost in seconds when one is toppled by developers or vandals.
But in Arizona, water is the environmental concern that trumps all others. Water quality and consumption specialists are employed in both public and private sectors to track the constantly dwindling supply of clean, fresh water and to ensure that all the relevant rules are being respected.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, geoscientists pull in a median income of around $85,000 in Arizona, and other environmental scientists aren't far behind, at just north of $71,000. The cost of living tends to be low and the opportunities are vast.
Master's in Environmental Science in Arizona
Tuscon's flagship school, the University of Arizona, delivers master's degrees with a real focus on the issues of the desert and desert living, with studies in subsurface and soil science and refuse and contaminant management, particularly with a view toward groundwater remediation and ecosystem restoration.
The school also delivers a solid interdisciplinary program in Environmental Health Sciences, with a research-oriented focus.
In Phoenix, meanwhile, ASU offers an MS in Environmental and Resource Management which follows the same trends in resource management and remediation as the UA offering in Environmental Science.
Bachelor's in Environmental Science in Arizona
The diverse biomes Arizona supports translates into rich and diverse environmental science programs across the state as well, each with their own niche aspect of excellence in research and training.
Up in Flagstaff at Northern Arizona University's School of Earth and Sustainability, you can look at some of the fascinating rock structures exposed by the nearby bandsaw that is the Colorado River on your way to a bachelor's in geology or geophysics. At NAU you'll also have options that include environmental science degrees emphasizing biology or chemistry.
Or if you prefer the more urban and suburban tracts around Phoenix, Arizona State University offers both BS and BA degrees in environmental science at its main campus as well as the Lake Havasu City branch.
You have at least one private school to choose from, too, an unexpected entry from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott in Wildlife Science.
Online Environmental Science Degree Options from Schools in Arizona
You can't really talk about online degree offerings in Arizona without mentioning the University of Phoenix, that home-grown behemoth in distance learning that has offered an easy route to a college education for millions of working professionals since it burst onto the higher education scene in 1976.
Predictably, the school has a strong, flexible, and inexpensive BS in Environmental Science that you can take from anywhere in the country. With guaranteed tuition and an asynchronous class format that will allow you to tackle your coursework at 11pm while sitting at your kitchen table, it's a popular choice you can't overlook.
Sometimes you have to dig a little to find online options. ASU's Environmental Resource Management MS can also be completed entirely via distance learning.