With three gorgeous coasts and a whole lot of islands scattered around the periphery, oceanography is a big part of environmental science in Florida. More than 2 million people and 1 million homes are within 4 feet of the high tide line here, making the ocean an inextricable part of daily life. And with sea level rising by an estimated inch or more a year, those numbers are increasing all the time.
Hanging out in between the Gulf and the Atlantic Ocean, Florida is sort of like a big hurricane piñata just waiting to get smacked. Understanding the global heat engine that is increasing the frequency and intensity of those hurricanes is a critical part of the state's response to global climate change.
If you're interested in joining that response, you picked a great place to do it. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 4,000 students graduate from Florida schools with natural science degrees each year. Many of them find high-paying and highly rewarding jobs right here in the state, working to study and protect the very same natural environment they've loved and lived in their whole lives.
What Can I Do with an Environmental Science Degree in Florida
Florida is rife with positions dealing with water: consulting firms are looking for hydrologists and geologists studying groundwater systems, university's hire technicians for ocean sampling, and the state hires environmental scientists to study water quality and verify standards compliance.
Environmental engineering is a big deal at private firms, dealing in construction and mitigation efforts throughout the state. You can even find work in the space program, with contractors at Cape Canaveral hiring launch environmental engineers to handle the massive environmental effects of blasting rockets out over the ocean.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaries for most environmental science positions in the state range between $60,000 and $80,000 annually.
Master's in Environmental Science in Florida
In keeping with our ocean theme, Nova Southeastern offers an MS in Marine Science that combines marine biology, environmental science, and coastal zone management into one neat package.
But it's a big state and we've got more than one track to run on. The University of Florida delivers a Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the School of Natural Resources, for example.
Perhaps the most innovative master's program in the state can be found at University of Miami's Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy, though. The Master's of Professional Studies degrees come in Environment, Culture, & Media and Exploration Science tracks, offering unique study opportunities and explorations of aspects of environmental science that most schools have neglected. Understanding the arc of environmental studies together with the explosion of technology and changing media preferences could be critical to changing behavior and consumption patterns, and UM is one of the few schools in the world where you can explore those questions.
Bachelor's in Environmental Science in Florida
When it comes to ocean sciences, there's an impressive roster of big-name schools with bachelor's programs in marine science: Florida State University, Florida Gulf Coast University, the University of Tampa... the list goes on.
With quick access to the ocean, all of them have major advantages in experiential, hands-on scientific training.
But you can find smaller schools that have equally interesting programs, like little Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. With in-depth investigations focused on Tampa Bay and expert faculty, you spend your time there out on the water doing professional work that will prepare you for either further studies or immediate employment in the field.
Online Environmental Science Degree Options from Schools in Florida
Online programs are becoming increasingly popular in every field, and Florida schools have not been slow to offer environmental science students the flexibility and affordability that online degrees can offer.
TheEverglades University bachelor's program in Environmental Policy and Management combines management skills and business knowledge with scientific studies to produce experts in environmental planning and leadership.
Up north in little Lake City, Florida Gateway College has an online applied science bachelor's degree in Water Resource Management that's geared toward teaching students about where the rubber meets the road in environmental management. Anywhere you look here, you'll see some water that needs protection and management, so it's clearly an in-demand degree in the state, and it's delivered in a format that makes it easy to complete no matter where you are or what your schedule is like.