Explore the world around you with a career in environmental science

Environmental Science

Environmental scientists use their knowledge of the natural world to explore and protect the environment.

Environmental scientists explore nature’s systems and how humans influence those systems. They may be involved in areas such as soil conservation, water quality and treatment, agriculture, plant pathology, ecology, environmental engineering, biology and more, or in related fields like environmental management and administration, or public relations and communications. Technicians may perform laboratory and field tests to monitor the environment and investigate sources of pollution, including those that affect health, under the direction of an environmental scientist, engineer, or another specialist.

About the Program 

Jackson College offers both an associate degree and a certificate in environmental science. An associate degree will prepare students for positions as technicians, which can offer employment and experience to students who then want to further their education. The certificate prepares students for transfer to or enrollment in four-year institutions.

“One of my primary interests in teaching environmental science is teaching students how to use the information to solve problems,” said Professor Steve Albee-Scott, The Wilbur L. Dungy Endowed Chair for the Sciences. “There are environmental problems they will need to evaluate and say, ‘What is the best way to solve this problem?’”

In JC’s program, students will have opportunities to pursue research in their areas of interest and write about their research for possible publication. Albee-Scott encourages students in his classes to come up with a project, develop a hypothesis, experiment and gather data, and write up their work.

Students considering a career in environmental science should possess good observational skills, be able to compare and contrast and think critically. Both are teachable skills students will practice throughout their education, Albee-Scott said.

“It is the most rewarding science I think most people can get into because it is always something new,” he said. “It’s very much involved with the outdoors, which works well in Michigan.”

Jobs for environmental science technicians and scientists are in demand. Further study is recommended.

Example of job opportunities 

  • Environmental scientists and specialists
  • Climate change analysts
  • Environmental restoration planners
  • Conservation technician
  • Environmental engineering technician