The number of jobs in the environmental field is growing steadily to meet the increasing demands within both the public and private sectors. Today's employers, however, are looking for a different breed of job candidate - those with a wide range of knowledge and skills.
The most popular jobs in the environmental industry include recycling coordinators, environmental engineers, environmental lawyers, educators and geographical information systems specialists, according to the 1994 edition of Peter-son's Job Opportunities in the Environment.
Many of today's environmental job candidates are knowledgeable in the sciences, but lack the skills required for marketing, management and politics. These other skills have become especially important as competition and regulation increasingly affect the environmental industry.
An emerging job training trend, known as "dejobbing," requires candidates to have more diverse skills and expertise in several areas and is helping to create new jobs in the environmental sciences. Perhaps the most significant result of this job market change is the expanding field of environmental management.
John Jehn, an environmental geologist at Woodward-Clyde Consultants in Denver, believes the need for proper management is essential. He has noticed a definite demand for workers and teachers who are "properly educated" in all facets of the industry.
Consequently, environmental and industrial management are being included in several environmental science programs on college campuses across the nation. M. Zia Hassan, dean of the school of business and professor of management science and industrial management at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), says there are approximately 2,000 people and businesses in the Midwest that are interested in environmental management programs.
IIT's new program, a master's degree in environmental management, works closely with the schools of law, engineering and management. The 14-course program focuses on waste management, risk assessment and business strategy. Hassan calls it the "MBA of the environment."
IIT is not alone in the push for diverse environmental science instruction. Other programs, such as the environmental geology program at the University of Dayton, Ohio, which began in 1994, have been cropping up at colleges and universities all over the country. For example, Yale and Duke Universities offer similar environmental programs, while Cornell plans to introduce an environmental management degree in the fall.
Unlike most graduate programs which require specialized study and formal training, IIT simply requires students to have a bachelor's degree, preferably in the sciences. "No experience is required," Hassan said.
"The environment is a social issue," he added. "People will enjoy being environmental managers because they will be doing something good for society and humanity at large."