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Degree Overview: Associate of Science (A.S.) Degree in Environmental Science

Majors Overview March 10, 2014

Associate’s degree programs in environmental science will provide students with the knowledge to continue their education or prepare them for entry-level work. Graduates can choose to continue their studies in environmental science or environmental policy.

A.S. Programs in Environmental Science

Students enrolled in Associate of Science in Environmental Science Degree Programs are taught about environmental issues, environment protection regulations and protection of natural elements, such as air and water that are essential for life. They become adept at preventing, correcting or reducing environmental damage. Students receive instruction in the scientific principles and scientific method pertinent to environmental science, in addition to conducting laboratory experiments and displaying the results in the appropriate format.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria related to an associate’s degree program in environmental science are required to have a GED certificate or high school diploma. Apart from these requirements, a satisfactory score on college admissions exams, such as the SAT or ACT, is also required. Incoming students are also expected to complete prior courses in mathematics and biology.

Coursework

Coursework related to an associate’s degree program in environmental science comprises professional courses and general education classes. Courses in social sciences, English and the humanities are included in the coursework in addition to topics such as:

•Environmental compliance
•Environmental ethics
•Hazardous materials regulations
•Environmental history
•Resource management
•Environmental sampling

Career Choices

Environmental science students can seek entry-level occupations in various industries, in both governmental and private sectors. Most job givers within the field prefer candidates who have at least a bachelor’s degree. They may choose from specific job roles such as:

•Natural resource conservation specialist
•Environmental lab technician
•Resource management specialist
•Environment science teacher
•Environmental consultant
•Environmental advocate

Job and Wage Outlook

A faster-than-average job growth rate of 15% has been projected for environmental scientists and specialists during the decade from 2012 to 2022 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). The corresponding growth rate during this decade for environmental scientists and specialists, conservation scientists, and forest and conservation workers are respectively projected to be 15%, 3% and 4%. In May 2012, Environmental scientists and specialists earned an average annual wage of $63,570; the corresponding average annual wages of Environmental science and protection technicians, Conservation scientists and Forest and conservation workers were $41,240, $59,060 and $24,340 respectively.

Continuing Education

Environmental science students can seek continued education by earning a graduate or baccalaureate degree in the field. Baccalaureate degrees are commonly pursued, while the majority of associate degree programs are devised to allow the transfer of credits to a four-year bachelor’s degree program.

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