Top 5 Green Careers for a Hot Job Market

By Belle Harker

Having a green profession doesn’t mean you have to install solar paneling or start an organic vegetable garden. According to a recent article from the online edition of the British Broadcasting Corporation, the United Nations predicts green jobs will increase in the next few years. The following are just a few of the many green careers that will be in demand.

Civil Engineer

Modern cities are supported by infrastructure such as transportation systems, sewage lines and buildings. Civil engineers are responsible for designing these essentials. Due to the development of new technology and the recent shift toward ecological thinking, civil engineering majors are needed to redesign outdated infrastructure and create more environmentally sustainable and energy-efficient structures for new towns and housing projects.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for civil engineers are expected to quickly grow up to 2016. A civil engineer’s annual earnings can range from $55,000 to $104,000.


One of the oldest green careers, biology involves the study of living organisms and how they relate to their environment. Biologists conduct research and use their findings to benefit a variety of fields. For example, developers and planners are required by State and federal law to have a biologist evaluate their projects’ impact on the existing environment before building. Students may also choose to specialize by earning a degree in marine biology, zoology or any other specific branch of biology.

The BLS expects average employment growth up to 2016. Compensation for biologists ranges from about $40,800 to $125,510 per year.

Environmental Journalist

Journalists can now choose to apply their skills toward a green profession. Environmental journalists use their knowledge of scientific language and practices to keep the public informed about important developments in ecologically related policies and events. These journalists also report on the work of environmental agencies and nonprofit organizations. Aside from earning a bachelor’s degree in communications or journalism, preparation for this career would likely involve classes in technical writing and environmental policy.

The general job outlook is expected to increase slightly up to 2016, but more opportunities may be available with nonprofit organizations and environmental advocacy groups. According to the BLS, a journalist’s salary ranges from $19,180 to more than $145,600.

Urban Planner

Urban planners, also known as city or community planners, determine the best use for land when developing or rebuilding a community. In response to the desire of local governments to make communities more ecologically friendly, planners have been designing city layouts to accommodate a greener lifestyle. For example, some communities are designed with local businesses and shops within walking distance of residences to reduce the community’s dependence on cars.

Most entry-level positions require a master’s degree in urban or regional planning, urban design or geography.

This green career is expected to have a faster than average employment growth up to 2016. Urban planners earn between $35,610 and $86,880 annually.

Environmental Lawyer

Students planning on completing a law degree can turn their hard work and talent into a green profession by specializing in environmental law. Since the green movement gained momentum, many laws have been passed to ensure companies and citizens do their part in preserving the environment. Environmental lawyers uphold laws that protect endangered species, regulate air and water pollution, and enforce other environmental codes.

According to the BLS, employment for lawyers is expected to grow at an average rate up to 2016. The annual median salary for lawyers is $102,470.

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