Careers in Environmental Science

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The environmental scenario is rapidly worsening and natural resources are fast depleting. The need of the hour is maintaining a balance that is beneficial to both humans and the environment. In the last two decades, there has been a growing awareness that the physical environment must be protected from the ravages of a growing population and economic development.


A course in Environmental Science is best suited for individuals who are passionate about wildlife and committed to the conservation of the environment. The truth is that only specialized individuals can understand the issues involved in the protection and preservation of the environment.


What is environmental science?

Environmental science is the study of environmental problems, especially those created by pollution. It is also known by names such as environmental technology, ecological sciences etc.


An environmentalist is a person who studies the problems of the environment and effects of uncontrolled pollution on the earth’s atmosphere. A course in environmental science is designed to help students enhance their knowledge of the environment and expose them to the current issues in environmental science and public policy.


Personal skills

Environmental courses are multi-disciplinary in nature. The candidate should have a strong interest in environmental and public health issues. You must also be passionate about building a career in environmental advocacy and organizing. You should be highly motivated and capable of leading a team.


Courses

Postgraduate courses as well as short term courses are available. These courses are designed to give students a better insight into the environmental issues confronting the present generation.


Short term courses

Some New Delhi based institutions (Wildlife Institute of India and Centre for Science and Environment) run a number of short-term courses and work shops of one to three weeks duration. The Sikkim Manipal University also offers some short-term courses.


Graduate level courses

A number of universities offer B.sc. in Environmental Science. Some universities have also started offering a three year Bachelor degree course in Environment Management (BEM). Students who have successfully completed 10+2 in science (including biology) or an engineering diploma can apply for graduate courses and short term courses.


Post graduate level courses

Courses offered at the post graduate level are M.Sc. in Environment Science and M.E./M.Tech. in Environmental Engineering. An environmental engineer deals with a variety of issues like pollution, oil spills and toxic waste. They are also involved in designing recycling or waste management systems. B.Sc. graduates with biology/life/environmental/agricultural science can apply for a post graduate/master’s degree in environmental science. A degree in chemical or civil engineering is the basic qualification required for a post graduate degree in environmental engineering. Candidates having BE/B.Tech. in Mechanical or Electrical engineering can also apply for these courses.


Job prospects

Upon successful completion of the course, you can work with both governmental and non-governmental organizations. Working with NGOs will give you rewarding exposure in the study of specific projects, issues, places and people. At an NGO you can be employed as Project manager, project officer, legal assistant, NGO manager etc. Entry level positions will fetch you a salary of Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 per month.


Graduates in environmental science can appear for competitive examinations like the Indian Forest Service. Employment opportunities exist in public sector undertakings too. Government also recruits environmentalists from time to time in different ministries and other bodies and institutions.