There may have been no better defining environmental moment in Tennessee history than November 2016, when a devastating wildfire tore through Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, carving devastation into the pristine landscape, killing 14 people, and causing more than $500 million in damage.
For many of us, this event brought about a new level of insight into the importance of protecting our natural resources and an appreciation for the fragility of the environment. For environmental scientists, it was time to dive deep into our forest ecosystem and examine how factors such as climate change, development, and poor fire management practices contributed to the enormous scope of this deadly and profoundly destructive fire.
Armed with the right education, you can become part of this state's initiatives to prevent wildfires and manage and protect our state's forests and other natural resources. Whether you lend your expertise to private companies, nonprofit organizations, or governmental agencies, your scientific inquiries will drive positive change and influence the state's environmental laws, including its timber and land policies and forest management policies.
What Can I Do with an Environmental Science Degree in Tennessee
When your state is home to such cool ecological wonders as an underwater waterfall and the awe-inspiring Tennessee River Gorge, you know it's going to have its share of environmentally focused organizations and agencies working to protect and maintain them.
The big name in governmental agencies focused on the environment here is the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation, which manages the state's 56 state parks and 85 natural areas and maintains standards for air, water, and soil quality.
In the nonprofit sector, the Tennessee Environmental Council oversees a number of significant programs aimed at sustainability, such as the Tennessee Tree Project, a massive reforestation project that includes the planting of more than 500,000 native trees in Tennessee. The Nashville Waterways Consortium is another nonprofit leader in Tennessee, consisting of five conservation groups whose goal is to ensure clean water and healthy streams in Nashville.
Private environmental consulting firms are big business in Tennessee. Companies like TriAD Environmental Consultants Inc. in Nashville and PM Environmental in Cookeville utilize the expertise of environmental scientists to design and develop environmentally sound solutions for business, industry, and governmental entities.
Pursue a career in environmental science in Tennessee and you'll enjoy an impressive earning potential. According to the BLS, environmental scientists and specialists in this state earned an annual, average salary of $72,470 in 2018. Other environmental professionals here also earned similar salaries, including geoscientists, who earned $77,510, hydrologists, who earned $87,440, and conservation scientists, who earned $68,440.
Master's in Environmental Science in Tennessee
A master's degree in environmental science is where you'll gain the expertise to climb the professional ladder and secure outstanding leadership positions in environmental science.
You'll find academically rigorous master's programs in Tennessee's public institutions like the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, which offers an MS in Environmental Science, and in private institutions like Vanderbilt University, which offers an MS in Earth and Environmental Sciences.
Bachelor's in Environmental Science in Tennessee
Achieve a comprehensive introduction to environmental science that'll prepare you for entry into the profession or further graduate study through the completion of a bachelor's in environmental science.
You'll love Tennessee's options for undergraduate study in this interdisciplinary field. Tennessee Tech offers a BS in Environmental & Sustainability Studies, which comes complete with your choice of concentration in environmental science, environmental technology, or society, culture & communication, while the University of Tennessee Chattanooga offers a BS in Environmental Science, which offers your choice of concentration in areas like biodiversity, environmental health, engineering science, and more.
Online Environmental Science Degree Options from Schools in Tennessee
Carving out the time to complete an on-campus degree just isn't a reality for many of today's learners. Fortunately, online degree programs in a variety of fields, including environmental science, are readily available and just as academically sound as their on-campus counterparts.
In Tennessee, Tennessee State University's Professional Science Master's Program in Applied Geospatial Information Sciences, which can be completed both on-campus or online, offers a unique blend of courses in agriculture, environmental sciences, urban affairs, business, and marketing.
The University of Tennessee Martin's MS in Agriculture and Natural Resources is another fine example of online graduate study in Tennessee, offering a fully online course of study that's designed to accommodate adult learners with busy, professional schedules.