Three Green Careers to Consider for the Graduate Concerned About Sustainability

From “solar-powered” this to “grass-fed” that, it's evident that the green revolution is finally gaining some much-needed ground.  Progressing and expanding rapidly, the green movement brings with it the promise of continued growth and job creation—and college students and recent graduates should take notice.

While other industries and markets are battling budget cuts and lay-offs, the green job market is booming. The New York Times recently reported that an estimated 3.1 million people in the U.S. are employed "in the production of goods and services that benefit the environment." To complement the growing supply, numerous job boards and staffing services are popping up, exclusively listing companies' "green" job openings.

Unfortunately, with all of the hype surrounding this new frontier, it can be hard to discern what’s what—especially when the specific definition of a “green job” can be far-reaching and vague. Overwhelmed by the wealth of information—job seekers might need some help navigating the market. Below is a list of three stable, lucrative “green” jobs to give those looking to join the green cause a better idea of what their options are.

Urban Planner
Making decisions, such as, where a city’s park should go, or how a vacant lot might best be utilized, urban planners are dynamic individuals that are definitely in high demand.  By making careful zoning and land decisions, urban planners help ensure that a city is making the most of what it has to work with—in an efficient way, at that. A role ruled by working with politicians and local policymakers, urban planners also help determine emergency-action plans, and building layout—all the while keeping the big picture in mind.

Environmental Engineer
Another growing profession worth considering is that of an environmental engineer. Their main focus is ensuring that their client—be it a corporation, private contractor, or the government—impacts the earth as little as possible when pursuing a particular project. They oversee production of things to ensure that they are done in the most efficient manner possible. They seek to work with, rather than, against the natural surroundings and the bulk of their work may be focused on water and air quality regulation, among other things.

As our climate and weather patterns continue to morph right before our eyes, possessing a general knowledge and understanding of atmospheric and environmental principles is invaluable. Spending their days recording data such as, rainfall, wind speed and temperature, meteorologists compare and contrast the values of the past and present. Hypothesizing causes for significant variations and fluctuations, people in this profession try to gain a better understanding of why certain things are happening now, so that we may hopefully, be better prepared for the future.

Investment in the Future
These are just three of the numerous “green” jobs that are growing in demand each day. It’s no wonder then that so many recent college graduates are deciding to use their degrees to “go green.” Pursuing a green career is not only an investment in our planet; it’s an investment in your personal employment and financial future—and a smart one at that!

About the Author
Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in all topics educational. She welcomes your feedback at

Elena White is the founder and editor of  Life The Green Way, corporate sustainability coordinator at her day job, and a "rurban" wife and mother.  Learn more about her here and follow her on Twitter at @Lifethegreenway.

Photo credit: By User:Fred the Oyster [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, GPL ( or CC-BY-SA-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons


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