It’s more pressing than ever to work to make a difference and attempt to reverse the damage climate change is doing to our planet. As United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres stated in his State of the Planet speech in December 2020, human action may be where this started, but it can be where it ends as well:
"Let's be clear: Human activities are at the root of our descent towards chaos. But that means human action can help solve it."
As climate change continues to impact our ecosystem, the growing need for trained professionals to study and address these challenges is becoming increasingly important. Climate change jobs can give you the opportunity to make a difference by creating innovative solutions with technology that drive change and awareness of global warming.
What are jobs that fight climate change?
If you’re passionate about addressing the effects of climate change, there are a variety of career paths that can support your efforts to bring about positive changes in our ecosystem. Some climate change jobs to consider include:
A career as an environmental scientist involves using general climate knowledge and research to assess basic threats and protect the environment. This can involve, but is not limited to, cleaning up polluted areas, reducing waste among an organization and helping policymakers make sustainable decisions.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of environmental scientists is expected to grow at an average rate of 8% between 2020 and 2030. The median salary for this job is $73,230, with the potential for a salary increase depending on higher education.
Climate change analyst
A climate change analyst, also known as a climatologist, studies atmospheric changes regarding the weather and climate. In this career path, you may assist in developing weather forecasts and collect data to determine the cause of climate change and gain a better understanding of global warming.
The job growth outlook for climate change analysts between 2020 and 2030 is 8%, according to the BLS. With a bachelor’s degree, you can earn an average salary of $99,740 as a climate change analyst.
A sustainability consultant provides expert advice to stakeholders and other decision-makers in an organization. Specifically, you can support their efforts to meet their bottom line while keeping the environment top of mind. You will assist in education related to climate change, energy transition, environmental equity and other eco-friendly best practices.
According to PayScale, the average salary is $80,272 and top-earning sustainability consultants can earn up to $164,000.
Environmental engineers are responsible for combining the principles of science, biology, engineering and chemistry to develop smarter solutions related to environmental sustainability. In this role, you may work to help an organization improve practices in recycling, waste management, public health and general pollution.
BLS projects the job growth outlook for environmental engineers over the next 10 years to be 4%, with nearly 4,000 new job openings projected annually. Environmental engineers can earn an average salary of $92,120.
8 degree and certificate programs you can study to tackle climate change
An ability to communicate, multitask and conduct innovative research are necessary to pursue a career in climate change. If you’re ready to take the next step in your educational journey and pursue a job focused on climate change and sustainability, ASU Online offers several degrees that can prepare you.
Online Geographic Information Science, BS
This STEM-based social science degree program focuses on geographic problem solving with mathematical and statistical spatial modeling and computational practices in global index software. After earning your degree, you can understand how to apply your computer science skills and geography knowledge to address urban, environmental and social issues.
Online Biological Sciences with a concentration in conservation biology and ecology, BS
The conservation biology and ecology degree concentration prepares you to understand and potentially find solutions to complex environmental threats. Graduates of the program gain an understanding of the ecology of different habitats, animal and plant physiology, and behavioral ecology and population biology.
Online Sustainability Graduate Certificate
This sustainability certificate program explores the foundations of sustainability using problem-solving methodology. Topics of study include international development, clean air and water, sustainable food systems, human rights, waste reduction, climate transformation and clean energy.
Online Sustainability Leadership, EMSL and MSL
The Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership is for professionals with at least five years of experience and covers sustainability communication, leadership and strategy from a global perspective. Included in this program is an immersive three-credit course that takes place during a week-long stay in Washington, D.C. During this course, you’ll interact with executive-level sustainability leaders and strategists who’ll provide firsthand knowledge about addressing sustainability challenges and solutions.
Have less than five years of experience? Or are you looking for a more flexible learning schedule? The Master of Sustainability Leadership prepares you to advance social and environmental responsibility at your company or organization. The curriculum is very similar to that of the Executive Master of Sustainability Leadership, but doesn’t include the immersive experience in Washington D.C.
Online Sustainability, BA or Sustainability, BS
The Bachelor of Arts in sustainability is a path to consider if you’re exploring a career in humanities, planning or social sciences. In this program, you can develop knowledge around the foundational elements of sustainability and problems related to governance, social equity, international development and urban sustainability.
The Bachelor of Science in sustainability encourages a greater focus on critical thinking in sustainability and how it impacts the problems we face as a society today. The program takes a solutions-oriented approach to building skills in community engagement and leadership and focuses on topics like economics, engineering and natural sciences.
Online Urban Planning, BS
In this urban planning program, you can learn theories and best practices for creating equitable and sustainable communities. Subject matter areas include economic development, planning laws and ethics.
Make a difference with ASU Online
With the nation’s first School of Sustainability, ASU Online has a wide variety of programs to consider if you’re interested in pursuing a professional path related to climate change. The university is also rated No. 1 in the U.S. in pursuit of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and was ranked No. 1 on the Coolest Schools by Sierra Club for campus sustainability in 2021.
Learn more about our STEM degree programs and how they can prepare you to become a change-maker.