It is an exciting—and highly challenging—time to work in the fields of environmental study, and, luckily, there are several options available to those interested. Check out these lucrative and intellectually-stimulating positions below. Those who decide to work with the environment will enjoy a comfortable life in their highly redeeming work.

Environmental Engineer

There is a wide range of possible work for environmental engineers. Whether creating models, methods or products, their efforts are always directed at preventing environmental damage. Environmental engineers are often found in government positions or private firms, but there are opportunities for self-employment, as well. In May 2010, the mean annual wage for environmental engineers was reported as $78,740. Keep in mind that federal government jobs will pay significantly more than state government jobs. These positions generally require a master’s degree, but a bachelor’s is okay for entry-level positions.

Conservation Biologist

It is an exciting time to be a conservation biologist, now that funding for Research and Development is increasing for environmentally-conscious business models in various ecosystems. This is a wonderful career choice for those with an intense passion for preserving the earth’s natural states while promoting sustainable methods of work and industrial development, and there are several position options available. Conservation biologists have opportunities to teach, as well as research and work the field for nonprofit organizations, government agencies and privately-owned companies. Consider a degree in interdisciplinary studies, focusing on biology, resource management and/or economics.

Urban Planner

For those who like the idea of improving public transportation, highways, widespread green energy and promoting each individual’s accountability for the earth, urban planning is a fantastic option. As natural disasters increase in frequency, urban planning will become even more important in years to come—planning for and preventing floods, hurricanes and heat waves, for example, will be imperative both now and in the future. Urban planners will need at least an undergraduate degree or graduate degree in an urban planning program. Certification is acquired through the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). While this is not required, it does inspire confidence in potential clients.

Energy Efficiency Builder

Energy efficiency builders are similar to urban planners, except that they focus on the green aspects of specific buildings, as opposed to widespread urban areas. Because professional buildings are notoriously inefficient, and the possibility of reducing inefficient energy use anywhere from %75 to %95 (as seen in Germany, for example), energy efficiency builders are essential to cultivating a greener, more eco-conscious business world. Opportunities for employment mostly lie in architecture and engineering. These positions often require five-year bachelor degrees, and often a master’s.

Environmental Consultant

Environmental consulting is growing in importance in the US, making these positions some of the highest-paying in any profession. Jobs are highly specialized, often requiring a master’s degree in an appropriate field of study. Duties include advising clients on how to control any pollution or contaminated sites, and how to further comply with environmental regulations in the present and future. Other possible environmental factors to control include energy efficiency, flood prevention and asbestos management, just to name a few. Project managers can make $60,000 a year on average.

Promoting energy efficiency, conservation, and all-around sustainable practices are great ways to spend time, especially if a fair wage is involved. Environmentally-focused jobs are not only good-paying, but they are also wildly available in several fields, and the opportunities for even more jobs are growing steadily. Look into the options at hand and seriously consider one of these fulfilling careers.

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