Environment, Sustainability & Conservation

Look below for relevant events and throughout this page for resources to help you learn about and land a position in this field. You can also subscribe to this community’s newsletter for job/internship updates, employer events, and more.

Want personalized advice to figure out your next steps? Brenda can help! 

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Jobs & Internships on Handshake

Here’s a preview of just a few positions currently available on Handshake. Note that the date shown is not the application due date, but is the date the position was posted!

Explore Career Paths

What does it mean to work in fields such as Environmental Planning/Conservation, Sustainability, Resource Management, Remediation/Compliance, Quality Assurance/Control, or Wildlife Management/Care? Read more below about each of these areas and how your L&S degree can lead you to a career in these fields.

Looking for more? Check out our more resources to explore.

Environmental careers help to improve the environment in some way – directly and indirectly. Examples could be helping to reduce pollution, remediating or reversing human impact on the planet, or educating, inspiring, motivating, and persuading people or companies to take greener, more sustainable actions.

To learn more, check out resources on these pages: UW-Madison Environmental Science Careers Page  and The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

Environmental Careers
Natural Resources

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Environmental Consulting

The Environmental Policy field centers around the alternation of public policy and social institutions that influence the way we manage the environment and our natural resources. By researching scientific data and current legislation Environmental Policy makers create new laws and legal standards that will better serve shifting environmental demands.

Environmental & Urban Planning careers create programs that use land more efficiently with minimal damage to the surrounding environment. They often focus on the use of natural resources and attempt to predict any risks or problems that may arise, and then create plans to combat these risks. Urban planners help to direct a city’s or town’s development. The profession of urban planning is involved in improving the life and health quality of not just what is traditionally thought of as “urban” spaces, but of all spaces in which human beings live.

Though the words “sustainability” and “green” often invoke the idea of environmental scientists, this narrow view does not accurately represent the diversity of the field. While these scientific careers are certainly part of the industry, there are many other options for those seeking a Sustainability job or Green profession. In fact, many Sustainability careers are often focused on helping organizations and companies run more efficiently, thereby increasing their profits, pleasing their customer base, and creating a sense of well being among the community.

To learn more check out resources at the UW-Madison Office of Sustainability Jobs & Internships.

Careers in Agriculture and Forestry make up one of the largest industries and sources of long-term employment in the country, providing jobs for millions of Americans. These careers supply us with a multitude of food products and alternative energies, among many other important resources for sustaining our country and contribution to the world economy. In addition, these careers – particularly those associated with Forestry – conserve our natural resources and assure we have bountiful supplies of land to utilize in the future. Many of the careers in the Agriculture and Forestry industry are considered “Green Careers,” meaning that the careers are involved in preserving or protecting our environmental resources.

To learn more, check out resources at these pages:

Wildlife & Fisheries Job Board

Forestry & Natural Resources

AgCareers.com

A biological technician has many duties that support conservationists and environmental scientists in their research. These include maintaining the laboratory to create a clean space to conduct tests and experiments. In some positions, they also must gather and prepare samples for analysis as well as document and interpret their findings.

To learn more, check out resources at these pages:

Wildlife & Fisheries Job Board

Forestry & Natural Resources

AgCareers.com

 

Biological Technician

Professionals in wildlife management and care address national and international issues that affect the current and future status of wildlife throughout the world. A career in this field requires extensive preparation and long hours of hard work to acquire knowledge and skills for competitive positions that often require higher education degrees.

To learn more about careers in this area, check out these resources:

National Wildlife Federation

Association of Zoos & Aquariums

The Wildlife Society Jobs

 

Wildlife Careers
Wildlife Rehabilitation Specialists

Learn about career paths and resources to explore the different ways you can build your experience in the clean energy industry. The Wisconsin Energy Institute is a campus hub for programming and education committed to promoting sustainable energy practices.

Environment, Sustainability & Conservation FAQs

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What specific skills and experiences should a resume include for Environment, Sustainability & Conservation?

A simple, well-organized resume is a great place to start. Generally, staying away from fancy graphics and the free templates online will help you to rework and add to your resume as you continue to gain experience, allowing you to adapt content over time. Depending on your experience, here are examples of different content to include to tailor your resume when applying to jobs and internships.

Tips to Tailor Your Resume: 

  • Focus on highlighting your relevant coursework under your Education section
    • Examples: Ecology of Fishes, Limnology, Environmental Toxicology, Entomology, Museum Studies
  • Include relevant skills/accomplishments within your bullet points and/or in a separate section
    • Examples of Technical Skills:
      • Excel (proficient), ArcGIS (proficient), and Premiere Pro (familiar)
      • Land navigation (highly proficient), mapping, topography, and lab/field research
    • Example Bullet Points:
      • Communicate well with landowners, cross-culturally, and publicly
      • Coordinate outreach efforts, organize and plan community events, lead group activities
  • Use section headings that describe your interests, experience, knowledge and skills
    • Examples: Research, Conservation, Outdoors, Environmental, Wildlife Care

Ready to get started on your resume? Check out the SuccessWorks resume page, and set up an appointment with a Peer Advisor or Graduate Intern for feedback on your draft! 

Where can I find jobs and internships in this career area?

It depends on the type of jobs and internships that interest you! The community newsletter highlights relevant opportunities as they’re posted, and this handout provides you with examples of local organizations where students are known to volunteer, work, and intern locally and across the U.S. Handshake is also a good site to check out, because it has information about career fairs and employer events as well as job and internship postings. I recommend adding the Handshake widget to your MyUW homepage to easily access the site. And of course, there’s the student job board for UW-Madison where you’ll find research, on campus, and Madison based opportunities. Finally, you will find environment specific job boards under the More Resources to Explore section at the bottom of this page. See the Build Your Experience & Skills menu to get started! 

Larger job boards (LinkedIn, Indeed, etc.) are always an option, too. While they can be overwhelming they do give you suggestions in the job search window of other titles to search. This can be helpful in creating a keyword list to help narrow your search. For the time being, I recommend you start with more focused search resources like the ones included above.

Can I get an environmental job without a graduate degree?

Potentially! To get started as an undergrad, consider searching for research opportunities (on campus or summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) and field based study abroad programs (like CEIBA or School for Field Studies programs). Also, field based programs in the US like WRFI may be more accessible than study abroad programs in the upcoming year.

When you graduate, environmental work often requires specific experience, education, and specialized training. Depending on skills you have developed in college, you may qualify for various technician, specialist, and consulting roles. In addition, depending on the type of work you are willing and able to do, you can begin through gap year programs, internships, limited term and part-time jobs. Environmental email job boards are a good resource to sign up for to get a better sense of what types of jobs are available.

Are there well-paid career paths in this field?

While most people who go into environmental related career paths aren’t looking to get rich, environmental jobs span all work sectors, including finance, policy, law, business, real estate, government, and non-profit. Figuring out the different work environments will help you better understand which paths you might want to pursue.

Do I have to go to veterinary school to work with wildlife animals?

You first want to learn the different ways in which you can work with animals. For example, you may become a zoologist or wildlife biologist working in different paths in conservation management and wildlife rehabilitation where getting a master’s degree and the appropriate certifications and permits will allow you to work in state and federal government positions. Some paths will require further education, especially work with more of a research focus. Figuring out the types of animals you want to work with will also help determine the necessary level of education. If you don’t know what you’re interested in yet, do something, anything to narrow down your interests.

Can I work in sustainability & business if I don't have a business background?

Trying out multiple related opportunities during college is just as important as doing the same once you’ve graduated. When you’ve gained more job experience and tried out different functional areas to build your skills, then figuring out the next right step for working in sustainability will help you be prepared to follow a path that works for who you are and what you want to do. Here is a good article to read more about this process. Learn about local initiatives and resources happening here in Wisconsin.

When should I make an advising appointment with Brenda?

If you’re just getting started with your resume or cover letter, the Resume and Cover Letters page has all you need to put together a solid draft! Then, our Peer Advisors and Graduate Interns can help you make sure your application materials are ready to submit and highlight all of your relevant skills and experience at an Express Advising Appointment!

If you know you’re interested in environmental careers and are looking for ways to gain experience, check out the resources on this page. On these pages, you’ll find examples of different career paths related to conservation, ecological restoration and consulting, renewable energy, environmental outreach and education, environmental policy and urban planning, sustainability and business + more.

If you have in-depth questions about figuring out when and if you should attend graduate school, how to gain relevant experience and build specific skills to become qualified for jobs, or are feeling lost and want help getting a better sense of your options within this Career Community, then that’s a great time to meet with Brenda, the Career and Internship Specialist for Environment, Natural Resources & Wildlife! Brenda and other Specialists can help you with mock interviews, honing your application strategy, negotiating a job offer, and discussing that transition from college to career or graduate school. Make an appointment with Brenda here.

More Resources to Explore

Learn about work environments and functions, find out requirements for education and training, and discover professional organizations.

Conservation Biology Majors: When Aldo Leopold and Norman Fassett, a former UW Botany professor, first initiated the major in the 1940s, they intended for the major to prepare individuals for careers as game wardens, ranger naturalists, and museum workers. As the major evolved, career opportunities evolved as well. Conservation Biology alumni have worked both domestically and internationally in many different industries.

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Build Your Experience & Skills

Use these sites to search for Internships, Volunteer, Part-time/Full-time jobs. Learn position requirements and qualifications to find out what skills and experiences you need for jobs of interest. In addition, search specific state, federal, and private organization websites for other job listings.

Career Exploration Guide and Resource Workbook – use these resources to navigate exploration and job searching and learn about organization samples, by industry

Handshake: Find opportunities specifically for UW students and recent grads.

UW-Madison Environmental Science Careers Page – several resources including  local, state, and national environmental organization lists and opportunities

The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

UW-Madison Office of Sustainability Jobs & Internships

Wisconsin Energy Institute – career exploration and job search resources

National Wildlife Federation – environmental career path resources

Association of Zoos & Aquariums

The Wildlife Society Jobs

Wildlife & Fisheries Job Board

Forestry & Natural Resources

AgCareers.com

Indeed.com A job search site listing positions at the national level.

LinkedIn: Search human services, mental health.

Idealist.org: Non-profit jobs and internships.

Glassdoor: Search by job title or company.

Wisc.jobs: Find jobs in the State of Wisconsin.

Professional Development, Licensing & Training

A good way to further explore career interests is by checking out professional associations’ career and education resources. You can also learn about relevant events and conferences to attend, which is a great way to meet people in the field and make connections.

Identify Job Skills & Functions, Salaries & More

ONET OnLine: O*NET OnLine has detailed descriptions of the world of work for use by job seekers, workforce development and HR professionals, students, researchers, and more!

Occupational Outlook Handbook: The OOH can help you find career information on duties, education and training, pay, and outlook for hundreds of occupations.

CareerOneStop: A source for career exploration, training & jobs. Sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Labor.

On-Campus Resources