Chatham University

Sustainability Career Resources

Links to sustainability information, education, job and intern opportunities, and more.

What Can You Do with a Degree in Sustainability?

Sustainability professionals will be one of the most in-demand professions over the next decade. Executive recruiters and independent reports, including the 2011 Brookings Institution comprehensive report on green economy job growth, all agree on this point.

Think of sustainability as an organizing principle—one which can be applied to all aspects of one’s life. Living sustainably means using resources here and now without undermining the opportunity for people in other places and times to enjoy well-being at least as satisfactory as our own.

Often termed as “green” or “clean economy” jobs, careers in sustainability are available in many fields, from the corporate executive office to all levels in government, not-for-profit, education and more. Take a look at our sample list of job categories below. Visit some of the online job sites we’ve posted as well. It’ll give you a better idea of the prevalence and variety of sustainability jobs already available.

Sustainability touches all aspects of our lives already. We want to help you to become sustainability professionals. We look forward to being surprised and inspired by the range of positions that you’ll find, and expect that many of you will define your own job! Whether you’re already in a sustainability-related role or are looking to expand your education in the field, we have the program for you.

Did you know that according to TIME Moneyland, sustainability professionals will be one of the most in demand professions over the next decade? “Adam Zak, an executive recruiter, told The New York Times in August that demand for workers with sustainability-related job skills is “through the roof.” He estimates a 40-percent increase in the number of companies looking for sustainability professionals just in the past year.”

Sustainability Jobs & Internships

Examples of Jobs:

Private Sector

  • Chief Sustainability Officer
  • Manager of Corporate Sustainability
  • Green Marketing Representative
  • Consultant
  • Sustainable Design Analyst
  • Geologist/ Environmental Scientist
  • Energy Analyst
  • LEED Project Manager
  • Environmental Specialist

Public Sector

  • Sustainability Manager
  • Resource Conservation Manager
  • Recycling Program Coordinator
  • Project Manager
  • Environmental Education Instructor

Nonprofit

  • Campus Sustainability Coordinator
  • Green Building Consultant
  • Community Development Specialist
  • Community Organizer
  • Executive Director
  • Naturalist
  • Outreach Manager
  • Research and Policy Analyst
  • Sustainable Housing Policy Associate
  • Land Steward

Job Profiles and Search Engines

  • SustainLane.com is an online community where you can connect with local people interested in living healthy lives on a green planet. Its community members post and discuss local green news, events, trips, information, coupons and jobs.
  • Eco.org is a good site for everything eco-related, including connecting job seekers who really care about what they are doing for themselves and the world with eco-employers.
  • GreenBiz.com, which has been around since 2000, is one of the leading sources for news, opinion, best practices and other resources on the greening of mainstream business.
  • Sometimes irreverent, but always environmentally savvy, Grist.org has been "dishing our environmental news and commentary with a wry twist since 1999." Grist's Green Jobs Board is here.
  • Like a lot of the good environmental websites, Idealist.org has a longer history than its online presence. With a clear mission to connect people, organizations and resources, it posts jobs, volunteer opportunities, internships and more.
  • Treehugger.com is owned by Discovery (you know, Animal Planet, the Disovery Channel, etc.). It's a good source for mainstream "green" news, with blogs, newsletters and more. Here's the Treehugger jobs board.
  • More business oriented than forestry and water management, SustainableBusiness.com covers renewable energy, green building, sustainable investing and organics. Its Green Dream Jobs page is easy to use.
  • Ecoemploy.com is a very good site for all kinds of eco-jobs that didn't show up on all of the other sites we listed. The website has information about applying for government jobs and do check the Special Opportunities page for science, education, not-for-profit and other cool opportunities.

Additional Information

  • Due to the rapid growth of the green job sector, it is difficult to get a handle on how many people currently work in the field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is currently undergoing an extensive survey process to collect data on green jobs. The survey results will be made available during the summer of 2012, and will include aggregate information on employment and wages by industry and occupation. http://www.bls.gov/green
  • The Brookings institute came out with a report in July of 2011 called “Sizing the Clean Economy: A National and Regional Green Jobs Assessment.”
  • For daily news and reports on sustainability, green technology, climate change and more, the New York Times Dot Earth column, The Guardian (UK) for a look at European progress, and to help put things squarely in perspective, don't forget Grist.org. You can also set up your own Google News Alert for sustainability, green jobs, or anything else.
  • Networking can work to your advantage when searching for positions. LinkedIn.com has some very good green jobs groups and some not so great. If you're not a member, you'll have to sign up - the basic membership is free. Have a look at the green jobs & career networks as well as any related to sustainability.
  • Don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.