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Earning an Environmental Science Degree in New Mexico

The beauty of the land, along with the pure blue skies that meet it, are among New Mexico's most cherished elements.

Travel throughout this state and the picturesque surroundings may fool you into thinking that the environment here remains largely untouched. But a boom in oil production in the Permian Basin, while a source of record profits, has also brought environmental uncertainty to this quiet, Midwestern state.

While regulations regarding the extraction of crude oil are strict, environmental concerns, such as the potential for increased greenhouse gases, continue to plague the minds of New Mexico's environmental scientists, particularly as oil output continues to increase, more than doubling in the last four years.

As the fifth largest state in the U.S. (in terms of square miles), there's plenty of land to keep an eye on, and the environmental organizations, agencies, and the committed people who lead them are seriously dedicated to their role as environmental stewards, whether it concerns oil extraction, wilderness preservation, clean water, or plastic pollution.

With the right education, you'll be able to lend your talents to the environmental efforts in New Mexico to ensure that the beauty of the land and the health of the environment remain for future generations.

What Can I Do with an Environmental Science Degree in New Mexico

The New Mexico Environment Department oversees many of the environmental laws in New Mexico, while a host of nonprofit organizations like the Nature Conservancy of New Mexico and the Santa Fe Conversation Trust lend their efforts to protect and restore New Mexico's natural resources and educate people on the importance of environmental protection.

The Nature Conservancy, for example, has worked with more than 80 partners to establish the Forest and Restoration Act, an effort to remediate the state's overgrown forests and prevent potentially catastrophic fires.

With a similar goal of prevention, the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance works tirelessly to preserve the state's wilderness areas and has implemented a variety of outreach efforts designed to educate New Mexico residents about the importance of becoming wilderness advocates.

Whether in state agencies, private firms, or nonprofit organizations, there's plenty of work to go around in the environmental sciences sector in New Mexico. Salaries in this sector are solid, too. For example, according to the BLS, the annual, average salary for environmental scientists and specialists was $80,750 in 2020, while geoscientists earned an annual, average salary of $79,280 during the same time.

2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures and job growth projections for Environmental Scientists and Specialists and Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers reflect state data not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed September 2021.

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Master's in Environmental Science in New Mexico

Some of the latest developments and efforts in environmental science are born out of New Mexico's universities, thanks to superb graduate offerings and their related research and applied endeavors.

For example, academia and research effortlessly intersect at New Mexico State University, where students of the MS in Plant and Environmental Science program fully engage in research activities through the Agricultural Experiment Station and a number of off-campus science agricultural centers located in areas like Farmington, Los Lunas, Clovis, Clayton, and more.

Hands-on practical experiences are plentiful for students of The University of New Mexico's MS in Geography. In addition to options to specialize in either Environmental Studies or Geographic Information Science, students here enjoy outstanding internship experiences at sites like Agricultura Network, the New Mexico Solar Energy Association, and the Bureau of Land Management.

Bachelor's in Environmental Science in New Mexico

Your foundation in environmental science begins with a bachelor's program, and there are no shortage of options here. For example, Northern New Mexico College offers a BS in Environmental Science, which features optional concentrations in Natural Resource Management or Environmental Monitoring and plenty of field-based research opportunities throughout the Southern Rocky Mountain ecoregion.

New Mexico Tech also offers a BS in Environmental Science, with a choice of specialization in biology, chemistry, geology, hydrology, or instrument and measurements. New Mexico Tech is home to a superb hydrology program, long considered one of the finest in the world, which includes groundbreaking research in the cleanup of contaminated groundwater.