Jobs in this sector promote sustainability, remedy or prevent environmental damage, or put people, proﬁt, and planet on equal footing. Opportunites are in private industry, government agencies, and non proﬁts. Some positions are at organizations with environmental missions. Others are within the corporate social responsibility or supply chain functions of corporations. As a starting point to learn more, visit The National Center for O*NET’s overview of green economic sectors.
You might work in
- Media — to cover environmental issues
- Facilities — to ensure environmental health and safety
- Policy or Law — to encourage change by lawmakers and defend the environment
- Centure capital or socially responsible investing — to put money toward sound organizations
Green/Environmental Careers Job Search
In this field, most people have a passion for solving complex problems, working with new or emerging research and technologies, and see themselves as agents of change. Sought after skills and abilities (from a survey conducted by the US EPA) include communication skills (speaking, writing, visual, listening), broad environmental science understanding, creativity and innovation, critical thinking, and technical skills.
If you are interested in working at a mission-driven organization, starting off as a volunteer can be a great way to get your foot in the door.
Other ways to show interest in, gain experience in, and start to transition into the field is by taking on or getting involved in making your own student group, community organization, or company more environmentally-friendly — even if it’s not in your official job title.
An internship or job search can take anywhere from three to nine months, so it’s best to start the process early. Different industries recruit in different ways, and even within industries, individual organizations often have their own timelines. See our Jobs and Interships page for more information on strategizing your search. A job search in this sector, like all others, requires research (into the type of work you want to do, and knowing who is doing it), networking (meeting people who are doing work that interests you), using tailored online job boards (and organization web sites directly) and direct outreach techniques. There are plenty of Columbia resources that can assist you in each piece of the process.
Center for Career Education Resources
- Career Fairs — Connect Columbia students and alumni with employers. Past participants include NYC Department of Design and Construction, Community Water Solutions, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, National Grid, GZA GeoEnvironmental, Langan Engineering & Environmental Services, ERS, and Proctor & Gamble.
- LionSHARE - Examples of organizations that post include CH2M Hill, Con Edison, NYC Department of Environmental Protection, Betterfarm, R3 Energy Management Audit& Review, Transportation Alternatives, and Acumen Fund.
- Vault and WetFeet - Career resources for learning about companies and industries. In Vault, you will find the Vault Guide to Environmental Careers, Vault Career Guide to the Energy Industry and Vault Guide to Green Programs. Wetfeet offers a Guide to Green Careers and a Guide to Careers with a Conscience. Log in with your UNI and password.
- Read profiles of alumni working in the green sector, including:
- The Earth Institute hosts the All Ivy Sustainable Development Fair each spring (see link for participant organizations). Follow the Institute’s calendar of events for regular panels and networking opportunities. The Institute also offers internship program, travel grants, and research programs.
- The Department of Biological Sciences at Columbia University offers Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships to a select group of undergraduate students.
- The Earth and Environmental Engineering department at Columbia provides study in environmental health, sustainable energy and materials, and water resources and climate risks. Learn about research opportunities for students.
- Columbia’s student-run organizations offer ways to explore career options, gain experience, and network. Groups include: Earth Coalition, Scientists and Engineers for a Better Society, CURES (Columbia University Renewable Energy Society), and Columbia Engineers without Borders.
- There are a number of Entrepreneurship resources at Columbia. If you’re interested in working at a Startup or launching a company of your own, visit the Start Up industry resource page.
- Columbia offers assistance to students and alumni interested in pursuing Fellowships (scholarship and research opportunities). Learn about the programs and offices for different schools on campus: CC/SEAS, GS, and GSAS.
- Sign up for the Science opportunities email listserv through the Center for Student Advising.
- Social Venture Network
- American Solar Energy Society
- International Society of Sustainability Professionals
- International Ecotourism Society
- Northeast Sustainable Energy Association
- Society for Environmental Journalists
- Water Environment Federation
- Environmental Career Opportunities
- Science Careers Forum
- Stop Dodo
- Green Job Engine
Urban Planning/Design & Building
Socially Responsible Business & Investing
- Business for Social Responsibility
- Green Dream Jobs
- Just Means
- B Corps Job Board
- Social Investment Forum
International Development, Non Profit, Government
Social Venture Competitions