Water is our lifeblood, regardless of where we call home. But in Oklahoma, the importance of this natural resource has taken on a whole new meaning.
As if the state's chronic drought issues weren't enough, the clean water supply here is at risk from the results of oil and gas fracking and the release of coal ash and wastewater from coal-fired power plants.
It comes as no surprise, then, that the preservation of Oklahoma's clean water supply is on the minds of residents, on the agendas of legislatures, and is a longstanding priority of the state's environmentalists.
Building on the legacy of Oklahoma Governor Robert S. Kerr who, during his tenure (1943-1947), focused much of his efforts on water preservation, including overseeing a number of important water projects and dams that allowed the Arkansas River to become a traversable inland waterway system, Oklahoma's environmental scientists are working tirelessly through governmental agencies, nonprofit groups, and private businesses to ensure all Oklahomans have access to clean water.
With the right education under your belt, you can join these efforts and lend your talents to the investigation, examination, and analysis of Oklahoma's water supply and its effects on the environment. Your work may also extend into areas devoted to a variety of other areas, such as water conservation, soil management, and air quality.
What Can I Do with an Environmental Science Degree in Oklahoma
In the government sector, it's the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality whose job it is to study and regulate the state's air, land, and water quality. Programs here are plentiful, ranging from air compliance and monitoring to the public water supply and water quality assessment.
The Oklahoma Conservation Commission is another governmental agency in the state that works with the state's 84 conservation districts to ensure Oklahoma's natural resources are being properly managed.
Environmental efforts in this state also extend beyond the government sector to include nonprofit organizations like the Nature Conservancy in Oklahoma, which works to protect the state's environment through cutting-edge research. For example, through the work of environmental scientists in the Center for Sustainability Science, the Nature Conservancy is able to develop solutions to environmental concerns that influence business and policy.
While your salary in environmental science will vary depending on a variety of factors, including your education level and experience, the BLS reports impressive salaries for environmental science professionals in Oklahoma. In 2018, the annual, average salary for environmental scientists and specialists was $65,490, while geoscientists earned $123,320 and hydrologists earned $88,370.
Master's in Environmental Science in Oklahoma
Advancing your education to the master's level in environmental science can open up new professional opportunities, increase your salary, and advance your current position.
Fortunately, Oklahoma is home to a number of outstanding master's programs to help you achieve this.
Oklahoma State's Environmental Science graduate programs, which include both an MS in Environmental Science and a Professional Science Master (PSM) in Environmental Science, both provide outstanding courses of study that pay homage to the interdisciplinary nature of this field of study. In fact, the Environmental Science Graduate Program works with more than 30 different departments throughout the university to offer students more than 200 courses for a truly customized and specialized course of study.
The University of Oklahoma's Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability offers an MS in Environmental Sustainability that includes relevant courses like life cycle analysis, corporate environmental strategy, and environmental sustainability - theory and practice.
Bachelor's in Environmental Science in Oklahoma
Bachelor's degrees in environmental science are the perfect foundation for pursing entry-level jobs in the field and for future graduate work.
Southern Nazarene University's BS in Environmental Studies is a great example of an undergraduate course of study designed to prepare you for work in this exciting field. In addition to its comprehensive curriculum, this program offers students the opportunity to participate in outstanding field experiences like a semester abroad in Costa Rica, where you'll take courses and work in the famed Quetzal Education Research Center.
Oklahoma State University's BS in Agriculture - Environmental Science and the University of Oklahoma's BS in Environmental Science are also part of this state's outstanding undergraduate offerings in environmental science, offering a robust blend of classroom and experiential learning.
Online Environmental Science Degree Options from Schools in Oklahoma
An education in environmental science, whether at the undergraduate or graduate level, is attainable for nearly everyone, regardless of professional and personal obligations or geographical limitations, thanks to the convenience and flexibility of online degree programs.
For example, the University of Oklahoma offers the fully online MS in Environmental Science: Hydrology & Water Security, a truly interdisciplinary course of study that was created through a partnership between the School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, the School of Meteorology, and the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability. This program is offered fully online, with an asynchronous design that allows you to study at a time and place that's most convenient for you.