11 Exciting Career Paths for Eco-Conscious Professionals
Are you considering a career change? Maybe it’s time to choose a new path, and you want a job that meshes with your eco-friendly lifestyle. If that’s the case, what are some professions you should consider?
The reality of climate change means that many environmental roles are in more demand than ever. It doesn’t matter if you prefer a sedate office atmosphere or a job that sends you on adventures to some of the world’s wildest places — there’s an option to suit your work style and situation.
With that in mind, here are 11 exciting career paths for eco-conscious professionals.
1. Marine Biology
If you’ve long dreamed of swimming with the dolphins, you’ll have plenty of time with our aquatic cousins when you select a marine biology career. However, there’s more to this profession than dealing with wildlife. It’s an incredibly broad discipline, causing many to choose a subspecialty.
For example, you might:
- Marine biotechnologist
- Molecular biologist
- Marine biomedical researcher
- Marine consultant
- Aquarist or aquarium manager
2. Geohazard Professional
What happens when your favorite hiking trail lies along a rocky cliff face, and one of the boulders perched precariously above threatens trekkers below? You consult a geohazard professional who can remove that kind of threat.
This career field is an excellent choice if you like things that go boom. You’ll often manage various explosives and mechanical devices, all to preserve the natural world and protect the humans and animals that dwell there.
3. Environmental Defense Attorney
You’re not so hot at science and math but passionate about the planet and defending her. Guess what? You don’t need an undergraduate degree in physics, chemistry or biology to become an environmental defense attorney, although you will need advanced education.
Such individuals work with the government and various businesses to settle legal disputes. You might also sometimes go on the attack, suing on behalf of those harmed by unsafe environmental practices, a la Erin Brockovich.
4. Recycling Coordinator
Here’s a career field that requires passionate individuals to step up to the plate. There’s a recycling crisis in America. Not nearly enough sorting facilities exist, and practices like single-stream result in countless reusable materials moldering in landfills.
As a recycling coordinator, your job is to make things better. Fortunately, you have examples to follow, such as TerraCycle, an organization devoted to recycling the “unrecyclable.” You might educate consumers on proper recycling techniques and work to expand facilities where you live.
5. Farm or Ranch Manager
You fell in love with the hit TV series “Yellowstone” and think life on a farm or ranch might suit you just fine. If you have experience roping cattle and don’t mind getting your hands dirty, the career of farm or ranch manager might work best for you.
Agriculture lies in transition, with big money interests competing against small family organizations. However, the smaller guys have an edge, as research shows they outperform large agricultural operations in production and environmental safety.
Small farms and ranches can also play vital roles in maintaining supply chains, keeping America fed during natural disasters, pandemics or civil unrest. Your work could be crucial in ensuring the population has access to nutritious meals, no matter what occurs on the national or international political stage.
6. Solar Installer
Are you passionate about green energy? Solar offers vast promise in making off-grid work possible without producing the environmental devastation of fossil fuel production and use.
However, if the nation is to move toward a green energy future, it requires professionals trained in installation. As a bonus, you’ll learn all you need to know to fulfill your off-grid dreams — and with an average salary between $64,003 and $95,721, have the cash to fund them.
7. Air Quality Engineer
Did you ever wonder how the various weather channels and apps arrive at their air quality ratings? At one point or another, an air quality engineer played a role. These professionals monitor indoor and outdoor air quality, taking samples and conducting chemical analyses to maintain public safety and a breathable atmosphere.
Your daily work might entail working as a consultant to various builders and architects, helping them design construction to meet and exceed standards of healthy airflow. Conversely, you might be in the field, consulting with government officials on environmental regulations to protect the atmosphere we need to live.
8. Environmental Health and Safety Officer
Do you want an eco-conscious career that might not necessarily entail taking out massive student loan debt? Joining the military is an option, where you can train to become an environmental health and safety officer. These individuals direct programs to protect the health of military families and their members by anticipating, recognizing and evaluating hazards all over the world.
Talk to your recruiter, as the GI Bill should cover nearly all of your required training and expenses, although you may have specific enlistment requirements to meet. Still, having your education paid for while traveling the world isn’t a bad deal for many — the reward may well justify the risk.
9. Electric Vehicle Technician
Mechanics across America face a changing landscape. Today’s electric and hybrid vehicle engines don’t resemble the typical gas motor much, creating a severe shortage of qualified technicians to repair these cars, buses and trucks when they break down.
If job security and flexible options matter, this career path may be your best eco-friendly choice. Many small, independent mechanic shops have no one on staff equipped to work with these vehicles. You could sign on as an employee or contract with several independent shops to expand their service options while controlling your schedule.
10. Urban Planner
Do you ever wonder how neighborhoods arise? Urban planners have much to do with the process. These professionals develop land-use programs that accommodate population growth and revitalize physical facilities to better suit human needs while protecting the natural environment.
Your job might entail including sufficient green space for recreation, air purification and community gardens. You might even get involved in innovative 15-minute city projects designed to break the reliance on automobiles and foster a stronger sense of community among those who live there.
11. Ecotourism Guide
If you love to travel, the exciting field of ecotourism might be your ideal profession. These individuals might work at nature preserves anywhere in the world, introducing visitors to the wonders of the natural world and the importance of maintaining it.
For example, some of the world’s most interesting eco-tourism resorts include:
- Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador: A rainforest retreat in the clouds.
- Svart, Norway: A self-sustainable, bespoke resort.
- Shinti Mani Wild, Cambodia: An all-in-one resort that protects unique and endangered species in their natural habitats.
- Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Mexico: Located on the beautiful Riviera Maya, this eco-tourism resort is plastic-free and focuses on resource conservation and preserving natural beauty.
Career Paths for the Eco-Conscious
More people today want a job that matches their values. These 11 exciting career paths for eco-conscious professionals let you marry your love for planet Earth and desire to make a meaningful difference with your work.
If you’re just starting out or seeking a change, consider these fascinating fields.