Environmental Management Degree Overview
Deciding on the right career path can be a difficult decision. You are investing a lot into your education and you want to be certain that the field you study will be the field you spend the rest of your life working in. Not only that, but you want it to be something you enjoy and are passionate about. It is best to avoid the pitfall of selecting a field of study that is too narrow. This limits the variety and amount of jobs available, making it difficult to find employment, and possibly resulting in the need to return to university for a second degree.
An environmental management degree is a broad degree which invites numerous career options for those who pursue it. Employees specializing in the environmental sciences are in high demand as more and more focus is placed on the earth and its resources. Positions are numerous and varied, and the job sector is only expanding. An environmental management degree allows you to work within any aspect of this field as it is broad enough to be applicable to any career or specialty while still ensuring that you get the optimum knowledge needed to thrive in your field.
With an environmental management degree, any individual who is concerned with the environment and its resources will be able to find employment that is engaging, fulfilling, and important to the world at large. If you are more concerned with the political side of things, you can work with environmental policy and analysis. Should your passion be for more sustainable sources of food and energy, you might opt to go into green business. Perhaps what drives you is the chance to educate others? If so, you could obtain a position with a non-profit or a local education center. With these choices and more, the possibilities are endless.
In order to work in the field of environmental management, you must obtain a degree. Your journey would start with a Bachelor's Degree, taking about four years to complete; this degree could also be in environmental management, or it could be in another related field. However, most jobs within the field will require a minimum of a Master's Degree. This program should last two or three years. To obtain the highest paying and highest ranking jobs within the field, a PhD will be needed, taking between two and six additional years to complete, depending on the program and the approach you take. The tuition for an environmental management program can range from $12,000 a year to $45,000 a year, depending on the school, your housing situation, and the level of the program you are pursuing.
Environmental Management Master's Program
In order to provide yourself with the greatest wealth of opportunity within the field, you will want to obtain a Master's Degree in Environmental Management. This program will generally last between two and three years, though there are accelerated options available. Very few jobs in the field will employ an individual who has only a Bachelor's Degree; those that do often pay significantly less than those requiring a Master's Degree or PHD.
There are a variety of universities offering environmental management programs. Before you start applying, it is important that you take the time to research them. To begin your process, you should consider what it is that you are looking for in a program. How much time do you want to spend on campus versus out in the field getting real life experience? Are the quality of the laboratories and laboratory time important to you? How far are you willing to travel and are you willing to relocate? Do you need day or evening classes? All of these answers, and more, will determine what university and program work best for you.
Enrolling in a Master's Programs
However, before you can get that Master's Degree, you will need to be admitted into the program. This means submitting your application, all the needed documents, and meeting the requirements of the program. While the requirements may vary from program to program, they tend to be fairly similar.
Most schools will have two separate applications processes you must complete, though you can generally submit both at the same time: one for the university and one for the program. Being admitted to a university does not mean that a program will automatically accept you as the program may have additional requirements beyond those of the university itself.
Your undergraduate work may have been in either environmental management or a related field. Before you begin the application process it is recommended that you check with the program you are considering to be certain that your undergraduate field of study will be deemed acceptable. The program will also set a specific GPA you must have held in your undergraduate program; they will specify a GPA for all your classes as well as one for the classes related to your degree. A general range to expect is 2.7-3.0 overall and 3.0-3.3 within your degree.
For your application you will need to submit:
- Undergraduate degree transcripts
- Letters of recommendation (generally two or three)
- Resume listing your experience
- Statement of purpose
Individuals who do not speak English as their native language will be asked to submit a TOEFL score to prove that their English is strong enough to sustain the program and all international students will need to provide additional documents for the university. Most environmental management programs do not require you to take the GRE. Be sure to check the specific requirements at your school.
Costs of Environmental Management Master's Programs
The cost of tuition and the specific coursework needed will vary depending on the program. The majority of program's tuition falls within the range of $25,000-$40,000. This cost covers a variety of items, including the obvious tuition as well as laboratory costs, health fees, student government dues, recreation fees, and transcript fees. If you plan to live on campus, you will need to expect other fees covering housing and board. The cost for books and supplies as well as transportation are not included, and you must factor these into you budget.
Environmental Management Master's Program Objectives
Most programs follow a similar structure as they tend to have the same objective in mind-preparing you to be a leader in environmental sciences. The majority of classes will be focused specifically on environmental management. Supplementing these classes will be those focused on math and statistics; these are vital to the majority of jobs within the field. Finally, there will be a few classes specifically focused on science, such as biology and chemistry.
Colleges That Offer Master's Degrees
The classes which focus specifically on environmental management will reflect the primary focus of the program you choose. If your program is generalized, you will get the chance to study a wide variety of topics and select your own specialty within these offerings. Some programs will focus more on water and air than food and fuels, etc.
At the University of San Francisco, you will study water and air quality, geographic information systems, solid and hazardous waste management, human and environmental health, and resource use and sustainability. The program at Yale is designed to allow each student to customize it to his or her own needs, even offing a wide range of capstone courses to ensure maximum flexibility. These programs will blend on campus and laboratory learning with field studies and internships.
Online Environmental Management Master's Degree
Online programs, such as that offered by Webster University, can be more focused on specific skills upon graduation, and may come from a stricter business background.
University of Maryland
The University of Maryland also has an online program which is has a great range of applicability in the environmental field, but is still highly concerned with office management.
Environmental Management PhD
If you wish to further your education, you will need to look into Environmental Management PhD programs. The fact is that these programs are few and far between-but they do exist. Both the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California Santa Barbara and Montclair University offer Environmental Management PhD programs.
Admission requirements are similar to those for a Master's Degree with one major exception-you will need the sponsorship of a faculty member within the program. This faculty member will only provide you with his or her sponsorship if it is felt that you are a good fit and likely to succeed. In addition, you will need to provide evidence of the work you completed for your capstone for programs that require the completion of a Master's Degree.
Cost Considerations of Environmental Management PhD Programs
The cost of the PhD program ranges with residency and length of study. An in-state tuition rate may be half that of an out-of-state rate. While these fees may be covered by grants and fellowships, it may be beneficial to consider relocation a year or so before starting school. This would both help you become acquainted with the area as well as establish your residency. Costs which one must consider that are not factored into tuition are things such as the cost of transportation, books, supplies, and any specialty clothing you might need for your field work.
Environmental Management Doctoral Program Objectives
Course work varies from program to program. The Bren School focuses more on mentoring and field experience than class work; as such, the offerings are less structured but provide intense hands-on experience. The Montclair University program is more focused on research and publication. The goal, no matter the program, is to see that its graduates are the highest qualified individuals in their field with the knowledge and expertise to make a difference in the world.
Careers in Environmental Management after Graduate School
Pursuing a degree in Environmental Management may have been done just to gain more responsibility in the workplace, to lead others, or to switch to a new career altogether. You may have new skills in auditing or managing numerous workers, in laboratory safety, or sample handling. Management skills and the ability to understand and pursue science do not always go hand in hand, so it may be that you now have highly sought after skills in management and are asked to lead a team in an area that you do not have a specific background in (such as field researchers in Antarctica). Be prepared to have a variety of challenges and interesting opportunities available to you!