A GUIDE TO CAREER OPPORTUNITIES IN ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES by guy21

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									  A GUIDE TO CAREER OPPORTUNITIES IN ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES

Thousands of jobs exist in a variety of environmental fields throughout the United States.
The sheer size of the World Environmental Directory (965 pages) illustrates the number
of potential positions. There are permanent, volunteer, professional, technical, and part-
time positions in industry, government, universities, and the private sector. This guide
was put together in an effort to answer some of the questions commonly asked by the
students concerning their career goals.

Some students become alarmed from time to time about the future of their career
directions in light of current events. When making decisions about your career, you must
be careful to establish goals and career objectives that you will be happy with. It is
sometimes true that immediate events will influence future opportunities, but it is just as
true that job opportunities fluctuate with the economy, the public’s awareness of
environmental problems, and the current political administration, none of which are noted
for stability. Therefore, it is best to maximize your personal talents and interests in the
career area you like best and then later work just as hard in trying to obtain that job.

The job search will not be easy. Environmental studies majors should be well aware of
the environmental, economic, and ever-increasing population problems that will make
competition for vacancies more intense. On the other hand, for many of these same
reasons, the job market for environmental studies graduates will probably increase for
some time to come. After spending four or more years preparing yourself for a career, be
prepared to also spend some time searching for a job. This time, of course, can be
reduced in some cases by starting your job or graduate school search at the beginning of
your senior year rather than at the end. Hopefully, this guide will be of some help.
Environmental Studies advisors, professors, staff, and the College Placement Office will
all offer assistance, but the final responsibility is yours.

Q: WHAT KIND OF JOB CAN ONE APPLY FOR WITH A DEGREE IN
ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES?
The field of Environmental Studies is by nature very broad and diversified, as a quick
glance over the courses required for a degree will illustrate. Indeed, this is part of the
reason for the interdisciplinary scope of the Program. Job possibilities range from soil
and water conservation and environmental consulting to waste water management,
wildlife ecology, and remote sensing. For this reason one should not limit his/her search
to those jobs that have a key word such as “environmental” in their titles. Keep an open
mind and look on a broader scale for potential job opportunities where principles of
environmental science can be or have been applied.

By pursuing coursework in various Environmental Studies tracks you can prepare
yourself for jobs that become available in the sample areas listed below. For example, by
taking electives from Track 5 in Option A or C you could apply for positions in waste
water management, although you would not be a trained civil engineer.
OPTIONS A and C. ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE

        Track 1.    APPLIED ECOLOGY AND FIELD BIOLOGY
Forestry                       Range Management
Plant Ecology                  Aquatic Ecology
Animal Ecology                 Wildlife Biology
Terrestrial Ecology            Biological Control
Natural Resource Management    Zoology
Botany                         Entomology
Fisheries Biology              Agriculture
Mammalogy                      Environmental Education
Peace Corps

       Track 2.     ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ANALYSIS
Architecture                 Environmental Design
Land Use Planning            Environmental Consulting
Environmental Law            Environmental Engineering
Environmental Lobbying       Environmental Planning
Remote Sensing               Environmental Protection
Land Surveying

        Track 3.    ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Public Health                Microbiology
Physiology                   Medical Entomology
Air Quality Control          Environmental Sanitation
Community Health             Radiation Protection
Nutrition                    Recreational Health
Occupational Health          Environmental Safety
Peace Corps                  Environmental Geology and Meteorology

       Track 4.      ENVIRONMENTAL GEOLOGY AND METEOROLOGY
Soils Conservation            Geochemistry
Air Quality Analysis          Mineral Resources
Meteorology                   Energy Resources
Hydrology                     Groundwater Management
Remote Sensing                Energy Conservation
Exploration Geology           Alternate Energy Development

        Track 5.    WATER RESOURCES
Aquatic Biology              Fisheries Biology
Hydrology                    Groundwater Manager
Water Resource Management    Estuarine Biology
Fisheries Management         Coastal Zone Planning
Peace Corps                  Reservoir Management
Oceanography
OPTIONS B and D. ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY

       Track 6.      ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING AND LAND RESOURCES
Environmental Planning        Landscape Architecture
Urban and Regional Planning   Soil and Water Conservation
Resource Analysis             Environmental Impact Assessment
Remote Sensing                Recycling
Cartography                   Environmental Education
Environmental Policy Analysis Parks and Recreation Planning
Peace Corps                   Environmental Public Relations

       Track 7.      ENERGY RESOURCES
Public Relations               Energy Conservation Consultant
Alternate Energy Development   Energy Policy Analysis
Energy Audit                   Environmental Impact Analysis
Energy Systems Development     Public Education
Energy Planning                Energy and Air Pollution
Risk Analysis                  Mining Reclamation



Q: WHAT ARE THE BEST COURSES TO TAKE TO PREPARE ONESELF FOR A
CAREER IN ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES OR GRADUATE SCHOOL?
The Environmental Studies Program at the University of Kansas is designed to provide
coursework in a broad number of environmental areas with ample opportunity for
concentrated coursework in specialized tracks. Options A, B, C, and D are designed to
prepare students for careers in Environmental Studies and for graduate work in a number
of fields.

Graduates of the Environmental Studies Program are employed in many private
companies and governmental agencies. A large number are employed in environmental
consulting and engineering firms working on environmental impact assessments or as
technicians, safety officers, or field personnel. Others are employed in state, local and
regional governmental agencies as resource specialists or in planning. Many graduates
have been employed by various Federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection
Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, the Defense Mapping Agency, etc.

The key to selection of coursework that will lead to a job in one of these firms or
agencies is to first decide what interests you the most. If you select an area that interests
you the most, you are likely to be more enthusiastic about your coursework, to spend
more time studying the material and to achieve better grades. As a result you will be
more competitive in the job market and much happier five or ten years from now. It is a
serious mistake to select a career direction on the basis of present job availability without
serious consideration to what really interests you the most.
Q: WHAT ABOUT JOBS WITH STATE GOVERNMENTS?
The procedure for state jobs varies from state to state. In the state of Kansas, all job
opportunities are advertised in the major state newspapers and in the Kansas Government
Journal. Many state departments employ environmental scientists, e.g., State Highway
Department, Department of Health and Environment, Kansas Department of Wildlife and
Parks. The availability of jobs varies with the political administration that is in power
and the economic condition of the State. A civil service exam usually is required.

Q: WHAT ABOUT JOBS WITH MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENTS?
Most cities advertise their job openings in the major newspapers of that city, and
sometimes in the surrounding cities as well. Jobs vary from environmental specialist or
consultant to jobs in the city or county department of health. Probably most jobs at this
level are with urban planning departments.

Q: WHAT ABOUT JOBS WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT?
The Federal Government is certainly the largest employer in the United States and
therefore seems to attract the most applications for positions. Unfortunately, most job
opportunities in Environmental Studies exist outside the government (i.e., in private
industry). The availability of jobs within the Federal Government varies from one
political administration to the next; therefore the job picture at this time could be
radically different than the job picture in four years.

Only about 12% of all federal jobs are located in the Washington D.C. are. The rest of
the jobs are scattered throughout the United States at various locations. When one is
applying for a federal job, therefore, some consideration must be given to the area in
which you wish to live and work.

Q: WHAT ABOUT JOBS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR?
There are literally hundreds of jobs in the private sector with a diversified list of different
employers and positions. Past graduates have found jobs with energy firms, construction
businesses, consultants, retail firms, agribusiness, and law firms. Generally, any
corporation or enterprise which makes use of the environment or may potentially have
some type of environmental impact may consider employees for environmental science-
related positions.

There are professional job searching agencies which usually have some type of fee or
percentage of the salary of the job they find for you, should you finally take it. Most job
search agencies only charge you if they are successful in obtaining a job for you. Many
businesses come to college campuses to interview for available positions; others place
advertisements in local newspapers and journals. Most of the “job hunting” literature
currently available in local bookstores is oriented towards giving advice on how best to
obtain a job of this nature. We suggest you consult the listing of such publications in the
local bookstore.
Q: WHAT KIND OF JOBS ARE AVAILABLE WITH CONSERVATION
ORGANIZATIONS?
Private conservation organizations are becoming larger, more sophisticated and more
powerful as public awareness of environmental problems increases. Only a few years
ago, conservation organizations limited themselves to the publication of magazines and
newsletters and education of the public about environmental issues. Now many are
involved in the active management of both species and habitats, acquisition of land,
environmental consulting, research, monitoring of environmental problems, lobbying,
public education and environmental law. Some of the major organizations include: The
Audubon Society, The Izaak Walton League, Ducks Unlimited, The National Wildlife
Federation, The Sierra Club, The Conservation Foundation, The Wilderness Society, The
Nature Conservancy, National Geographic Society, and many more. A complete listing
can be found in the Conservation Directory, published on a yearly basis by the National
Wildlife Federation.

Q: WHAT KIND OF UNIVERSITY RELATED JOBS ARE AVAILABLE?
As with state and federal jobs, the number and kind of university jobs is usually a
reflection of the current political administration and the current economic situation. Part-
time jobs are available sporadically for undergraduates in a number of departments,
usually to assist with particular research projects. These are generally advertised on the
job board outside the Office of Student Financial Aid in Strong Hall. Most positions are
filled by graduate students, but occasionally a staff member is hired as a technician with
either a bachelor’s or master’s degree. Obviously, most environmental jobs at
universities require a PhD and involve some teaching and research. These jobs are
advertised in the leading research journals, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and are
also circulated to various other university departments which might have interested
and/or qualified people. Some smaller colleges and junior colleges use students with a
master’s degree and a strong teaching background in various departments.

Q: WHAT DOES THE COLLEGE PLACEMENT OFFICE OFFER?
The University Career Center (UCC) located at 110 Burge Union (864-3624), has a
division for undergraduates and one for graduates. UCC has many resources that may be
of valuable assistance in your job hunt. However, UCC does not conduct the job search
for you or place you in a position. The assistance offered by UCC is as follows:
∙       Campus interviews: Many potential Environmental Studies employers contact this
        office to set up interviews on campus. These will be posted on the Environmental
        Studies bulletin board and on the UCC bulletin board.
∙       UCC Bulleting Board: The UCC maintains a continually updated bulletin board
        in front of Watson Library. It might be advisable to check this source frequently.
∙       Workshops: Examples of some workshops held in the past include: “Preparing for
        the Interview”, “How Not to Interview”, “Writing Effective Resumes and Letter”,
        “After the Campus Interview”, and “Government Jobs”.
∙       Literature: The office keeps a small library of materials, books, and periodicals
        that may be of assistance.
∙      Advice: Although they are not specialists at finding Environmental Studies jobs,
       they do have a variety of special contacts, and sources of information and are
       always willing to offer assistance.

Q: ARE THERE JOBS AVAILABLE WITH THE PEACE CORPS?
The Peace Corps has many positions for which students with a bachelor’s or master’s
level degree would be well qualified. Of course, they do not promise high salaries, but
rather provide valuable experience, travel, and cultural opportunities. Former Peace
Corps workers also receive job hunting help at the end of their term. For more
information, call toll free (800) 424-8580 or contact: Peace Corps, 1999 Broadway, Suite
2205, Denver, CO 80202, (303) 844-7020 or fax (303) 844-7010.

Q: HOW DOES ONE PREPARE A RESUME?
Carefully. There are hundreds of guides now available on how to write a resume. A
listing of many of those that are available in local bookstores is kept in the University
Career Center (UCC). The UCC also offers workshops each semester on writing resumes
and letters. You may call the UCC for more details at 864-3624.

Q: IS IT NECESSARY FOR ONE TO GO TO GRADUATE SCHOOL IN ORDER TO
GET A JOB IN ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES?
One must realize from the start that in any scientific field, whether it be Environmental
Studies, Biology, Chemistry, or Geology with a B.S., B.A., or B.G.S, more study and
training than the general liberal arts background alone provides are desirable. This does
not mean that a bachelor level degree is meaningless, but that the number of jobs will be
more limited and the competition from master’s level people will be considerable.

Graduate school gives one a more specialized training, usually some job-related
experience, and the acquisition of some special skills. For this reason, a double major or
a double degree plan usually is not as advantageous as a master’s degree (two general
backgrounds are not equal to one specially trained). In most cases students would be
better off concentrating their coursework in a specific environmental area or track and on
getting into graduate school rather than spending extra time obtaining two degrees.

Q: HOW DOES ONE APPLY FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL?
The types of graduate schools one can apply for with a degree in Environmental Science
are as varied as the job opportunities. Again, as with job possibilities, one need not seek
out only those schools with the word “environmental” in the title. You may find
information on schools by looking through Graduate School Catalogs available in the
Watson Library or by looking at advertisements posted at the Environmental Studies
Program office.

When looking through a catalog, ask yourself the following:
∙     What kind of graduate level courses do they have?
∙     Who are their faculty? What are their specialties? What do they research?
∙     What are their entrance requirements? GRE? GPA? Application fees?
∙     What kinds of financial support are available?
∙      What kind of special facilities does that department have?
∙      When is the deadline for applying?

Remember: The program the school offers is more important than where the school is
located. Some information about various programs can also be obtained by talking to KU
faculty and graduate students who may have had contact with the program.

Q: WHAT DOES ONE NEED TO DO TO GET INTO GRADUATE SCHOOL?
The following factors usually weigh heavily in the determination of who is accepted into
graduate schools.
∙      Letters of recommendation- The more relevant they are, the more help they will
       be. A letter from a professional about your working experience will carry more
       weight than a letter from a teacher who gave you an “A” in a course.
∙      Experience- This category includes experience relating to your potential career
       goal. For example, volunteer work as a research assistant for a biologist or other
       scientist may be more valuable than the work experience you had at a restaurant.
∙      Personal Appearance- Meeting the department chairperson and faculty in person
       and finding out what they are like will help you decide if you want to go there, if
       accepted. It will also help the department find out more about you and your
       career objectives.
∙      Course Background- Straight A’s mean little if you avoid all hard or relevant
       courses that would benefit your career goals. A more impressive transcript may
       have a lower GPA but a higher quality of coursework.
∙      GPA- Grade point average often carries a certain hypersensitivity. Most graduate
       schools require a 3.0 GPA for admission to regular status. If your GPA is lower
       than 3.0, you may in some instances be accepted on probationary or provisional
       status, especially if you have strong letters of recommendation and other
       credentials. Unfortunately, GPA is the main indicator of a students’ performance
       in coursework, but don’t lose sight of the importance of other criteria.
∙      GRE- The Graduate Record Exam is given a few times a year for all those
       students who might need it for entrance into graduate school. Some graduate
       schools require it, some do not. Inquire with the potential school as to whether or
       not they require the exam and also as to what part of the exam they wish you to
       take. There are several parts to the exam, and you may take the exam more than
       once, but there is an exam fee each time. GRE application forms and related
       information are available at the University Counseling Center, and at Watkins
       Health Center.
UNIVERSITY OF KANAS ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES CORE FACULTY

Name                 Title                 Office                  Phone
Sharon Ashworth      Lecturer              415B Snow           864-8881
       Email: ashworth@ku.edu

Karl Brooks          Assistant Professor   2026 Wescoe         864-9464
       Email: kbrooks@ku.edu

Chris Brown          Assistant Professor   223 Lindley         864-5543
       Email: jcbrown2@ku.edu

Dorothy Daley      Assistant Professor     404 Blake           864-9839
      Email: daley@ku.edu

Kelly Kindscher      Courtesy Associate Prof.   135A Higuchi   864-1529
       Email: kindsche@ku.edu

Ed Martinko         Professor              108B Higuchi        864-1505
      Email: martinko@ku.edu

Shannon O’Lear     Assistant Professor     219B Lindley        864-2041
      Email: olear@ku.edu

Val Smith          Professor               6007 Haworth        864-4565
      Email: vsmith@ku.edu

William Woods      Professor, Director     415D Snow           864-8992
       Email: wwoods@ku.edu

								
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