Doing Well While Doing Good

A lot of us want to leave the world a better place than we found it. But we also scratch our heads while we’re in college wondering what in the world kind of job our degree is going to be good for. How to reconcile the two?

Here are some of the seven job descriptions from Career Builder (via Davis Patch) that will use your education and help you impact on the world in a positive manner. And what do you know, you can get the degrees you need for most of these careers at UC Davis!

1. Conservation scientistConservation scientists are hired to help preserve and protect natural habitats. They usually work with landowners and federal, state and local governments to find the best ways to use and improve the land while conserving the environment.

  • How to become one: Conservation scientists typically need a bachelor’s degree in forestry or a related field. It helps job prospects to have a degree from programs that are accredited by the Society of American Foresters and other similar organizations.
  • Pay: According to Economic Modeling Specialists International, conservation scientists earn a median hourly income of $28.28.

2. Energy auditorWhen a building is cooled or heated, it uses energy. Buildings often leak energy, so they produce extra heat or air to compensate, wasting energy. Energy auditors help curb energy waste by inspecting buildings to find areas of air leakage and advising customers on how to fix and prevent leaks.

  • How to become one: There are no nationwide education or training requirements for energy auditors, but some states require auditors to take courses or earn a certification. Certification is available through organizations such as the Building Performance Institute, the Residential Energy Services Network and the Association of Energy Engineers. Some local technical and community colleges also offer energy auditing courses.
  • Pay: Since it’s such a new field, national wage information is currently unavailable.

3. Green construction manager: Construction is another area that has seen an emergence of green jobs. As interest for environmental protection increases, the demand for green buildings grows with it. Construction managers that specialize in green buildings plan, direct, coordinate and budget construction projects, ensuring that onsite processes are environmentally friendly. This could mean setting up a recycling plan for unused construction materials or protecting environmentally sensitive areas of the site. They’re also responsible for choosing contractors who have knowledge of green building techniques.

  • How to become one: Most construction managers come to the job with experience working on other similar projects. Most also hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in construction management, business management or engineering. They may also acquire a LEED Green Associate credential or have taken the NCCER’s Sustainable Construction Supervisor Training and Certification Program.
  • Pay: Median annual pay for construction managers is $85,030.

4. Landscape architect: According to the American Society of Landscape Architects, these workers analyze, plan, design, manage and nurture natural and built environments. Projects they may work on include: academic campuses, conservation, corporate and commercial areas, gardens and arboreta, green infrastructure, interior landscapes and land planning. Landscape architects who work on green building sites apply their expertise to plan attractive scenery while also conserving water, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. They may also plan drainage channels to diffuse rainwater throughout planting beds.

  • How to become one: Landscape architects are required to have licenses. Requirements vary among states but usually include a degree in landscape architecture from an accredited school, work experience and a passing score on the Landscape Architect Registration Exam.
  • Pay: According to the ASLA, average annual salary and bonuses for landscape architects is $78,600.

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