9 Green Jobs That Will Make You Want to Change Careers

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Corporations around the globe are implementing environmentally sustainable efforts. Green departments are rapidly growing. If you’re looking for a career change that fulfills your passion for the environment, a green job might be the perfect fit. In addition to providing economic stability, green jobs put you at the forefront of better business practices and new technology. You don’t have to be an environmental science major to find a green job. Here is a compiled list of positions from a variety of niches that we’ve given two “green-thumbs” up.

  1. Urban Planner

Do you consider yourself an innovator or forward-thinker? An Urban Planner is one who plans the future oftowns and cities by developing transportation, waste and water systems and building all households and employment facilities.  As society faces increased population growth and global warming, this career is becoming more and more valuable to the growth and stability of our communities, towns and cities.

A background in urban planning as an associate’s or bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement to pursue this field, whereas most professionals have attained a master’s degree in a planning program. Most certified planners and government officials are a part of the American Planners Association (APA). There are chapters for the APA across the United States.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for the next decade will grow by 10% and the average median pay is over $65,000 per year.8008541099_f57129cbc8_o

  1. Urban Grower

Are you a city-dweller with a green thumb? Consider being an urban grower! Rooftop gardening can increase the amount of locally grown, green foods in your area. And by reducing pesticides, cost of transportation and power equipment used for larger farms, urban growing on green roofs is a sustainable way to eat and live in your community.

Simply having the passion for gardening and a commitment to sustainable living is all you need to become an Urban Grower. Training programs offered by organizations like Truly Living Well are ways to learn good growing practices. Urban Growers are often seasonal positions depending on your location, and most gardeners make an average of $13.00/hour. Consider starting your own urban farming business if you have a green thumb and an entrepreneurial spirit.

  1. Environmental Specialist

If you have a degree in chemistry, environmental science or biology, then you are qualified to become an Environmental Specialist. These scientists observe the changes in our environment and make recommendations based on their observations about the quality of soil, air and water in our communities.

Environmental Scientists have usually earned a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering or Environmental Science and need at least a bachelor’s degree in a natural sciences. The job growth is promising at 15% predicted for the 2012-2022 decade, and the average median pay is over $60,000 a year.

  1. Green Designer

Are you an interior designer or architect? Think about specializing in Green Design! As a green architect, you’ll develop buildings that are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified and uniform with the environment to minimize the negative impact of new development.

Green Designers have backgrounds in fashion, architecture or design and are LEED certified builders. If you’re looking to enroll in a top program, consider Harvard’s Graduate School of Design or The College of Environmental Design at Cal Poly Pomona. Enjoy a stable career and a healthy income with this job: An average income of a green designer is upwards of $65,000 dollars a year.

  1. Solar Cell Technician

Solar power is a renewable energy that has gained popularity in commercial and residential communities throughout the United States and the world. Because the field is rapidly growing, solar cell technicians who know how to install and maintain solar panels are in high demand.

An average salary of a solar cell technician is paid per hour or comes to a salary of $40,620 per year. Most states require solar cell technicians to be licensed electricians or have attended an associate’s training program, such as the one offered by the EchoTech Institute.  Learn more about how to become a certified technician at NABCEP.org.

  1. Conservation Biologist

If you are passionate about nature, plants and animals, you may want to look into being a conservation biologist. Integrating natural resource management practices with the field of social sciences, conservation biologists work to understand the demographics and living requirements of endangered species and how to preserve their growth and prevent their decline. Positions are available in public and private sectors of government, educational and nonprofit organizations.

Conservation biologists have backgrounds in biology, chemistry or environmental science, and those who are the most successful have attended a graduate program or attained a masters in this field. StartClass ranked programs at Columbia, Tufts and Boston University as the best in category for those wishing to pursue a masters in the conservation sciences, and  The Society of Conservation Biology provides policy news and professional development opportunities. The national average salary of a wildlife biologist is $50,000.

  1. Green Entrepreneur

If you are financially savvy and highly self-motivated, consider being a part of start-up for a green product, good or service. New business opportunities are plentiful in the environmental science and sustainable tech world. Read Green Business Opportunities for Aspiring Eco-Entrepreneurs for to see a full list of positions that might interest you.

Entrepreneur’s do not need to have a specialized background, though an undergraduate or graduate degree in business or entrepreneurship can be beneficial. In reality, entrepreneur’s tend to be self-made and come from all walks of life. There is no standard salary for a green entrepreneur, and is dependent entirely upon hard work, dedication and a little bit of luck. Depending on where one chooses to focus their business endeavors, an entrepreneur could make anywhere between $30,000 to $200,000 dollars a year, or much more. If you think you have the confidence and dedication to succeed as a green entrepreneur, start reading Forbes Magazine’s Entrepreneurship Section or  The Wall Street Journal at the breakfast table to learn about industry trends and gain savvy business insight.

  1. Environmental Officer

Green law enforcers are either police officers or rangers who are specially trained to ensure that our world’s natural resources are protected, respected and revered. Each state has a nuanced position, so refer to your local governance to see what would fit a background in criminal justice or police certification.

Job qualifications to become an environmental officer generally include an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, environmental engineering or the sciences, as well as additional environmental technology certification and police training. And in New York State, Environmental Conservation Officer’s are required to maintain a certain level of physical fitness. Depending on your state, environmental officers can make anywhere from $45,000 – $70,000. Refer to your local governance for more details.

  1. Environmental Attorney

Thinking about taking the LSAT? Environmental attorneys focus their studies on the treaties, regulations and policies associated with human impact on the natural world. According to EarthJustice.com, environmental lawyers are responsible for preserving wildlife, fighting for healthy communities and supporting a clean planet.

Environmental attorneys can have variety of undergraduate degrees but must have a J.D. in law and the environment. The best graduate programs for Environmental Law ranked by U.S. News & World Report are Lewis and Clark College of Northwestern University, Vermont Law School and the University of California Berkley. Average salaries of environmental lawyers range from $120,000 – 140,000 and the 2012-2022 job growth for all lawyers is 10%. Learn more about the requirements necessary to become an environmental attorney at EnvironmentalScience.org.

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October 16, 2015 |

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