Get Educated For a Green Career

Get Educated For a Green Career

By Mark Swartz

Monster Contributing Writer


Careers, like trees, should be firmly rooted. If you’re thinking about employment in the many environmental disciplines, your education should prepare you for growth.

In Canada there are dozens upon dozens of college and university programs that lead to a green career. Vanier College in Montreal, Quebec, offers a diploma in Environmental and Wildlife Management. A Master’s degree in Environment and Sustainability can be attained at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon.

Certificates, B.A.’s and graduate studies: there’s an ecological degree at your level. Getting educated for green jobs has branched into a forest of choices.


What to Look For In a Green Education

Environmental jobs can be very technical. There is science at the core of every green career. But not all require deep knowledge of watershed planning or life-cycle analysis. Some are based on traditional careers (e.g. marketing, technician, healthcare, the trades) with an environmental focus.

A green education should therefore provide you with the following competencies:


  • Technical Skills: A relevant set of mechanical aptitudes (such as GIS mapping, ecological design, waste reduction, energy conservation, carbon sequestering).
  • Teamwork Skills: An ability to work with multidisciplinary groups composed of people who may be scientifically knowledgeable, connected to business and government, or hold managerial positions.
  • Communication Skills: Proficiency with conveying complex or technical issues to those with little understanding of the specifics.


College Undergraduate Programs

Colleges tend to provide certificates and diplomas in green disciplines. These programs are geared toward students who want to graduate job-ready.

Studies range from one-year certificates to diplomas of two to three years. Many include co-op practicums. Some colleges now offer a broader mixture of theory and practice by granting Bachelor of Arts degrees.

Here is a small sampling of green undergrad studies available across the country at colleges:

Sustainable Aquaculture. Diploma. Marine Institute of Memorial University, St John’s, Nfld.

Greenhouse Technician. Diploma, Co-op. Niagara College, Welland, Ontario.

Greenspace Management. Diploma, Co-op. Red River College, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Fashion Design and Sustainable Production. Diploma, Co-op. Lethbridge, Alberta.


University Undergraduate Degrees

For an environmental Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree, universities have the widest selection of offerings. Undergrad degrees may be three years in length, or four years for an Honours B.A. Electives can be taken in varying disciplines to expand the student’s education.

Some of the Canadian university undergrad degrees in green studies include:

Environmental Science. Bachelor. Bishop’s University. Sherbrooke, Québec.

Green Process Engineering. Bachelor. U. Western Ontario. London, Ontario.

Environmental Design. Bachelor. OCAD University. Toronto, Ontario.

Ecology & Environmental Biology. Bachelor (Honours); Co-op. UBC. Vancouver, B.C.


Graduate Programs

Looking for an environmental degree at the Master’s level? Our nation has quite a few to select from. These are just a couple:

Forestry & Environmental Management: Master. U. New Brunswick. Fredericton, NB.

Master of Sustainability: Science and Society; Co-op. Brock U. St. Catherines, Ont.

Master of Arts: Sustainable Leisure Management. Vancouver Island U. Nanaimo, B.C.

Business studies are also being influenced by environmental imperatives. Many MBA’s now incorporate specializations in sustainability. And quite a few colleges offer graduate certificates in ecological disciplines.


The Path to Green Jobs

As you can see, there are all sorts of post-secondary environmental studies. The question is do they lead to good jobs?

Just ask the people who use to find green employment.  They have entry level environmental jobs as technicians, renewable energy jobs in clean tech, mid-level positions as sustainability managers, Leeds building architects, and so much more.

Investigate which education program is best for you. Then check out Monster’s postings, because green jobs are growing like weeds