*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Environmental Scientists and Specialists, on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/environmental-scientists-and-specialists.htm (visited March 24, 2022).
You should expect to spend at least four years going to school full-time to earn your Environmental Science Bachelor's Degree. Though, some universities have specialized programs that allow their students to accelerate their final two years of their degree program. These students are able to complete the final two years of their Environmental Science degree in 17 months. If you choose to attend school part-time for any reason, it could take you 6 years or more to complete your degree.
No matter how you choose to attend, you'll have to complete around 120 credit hours to graduate with bachelors in Environmental Science degree. These credit hours include your general education (mathematics, history, humanities, and communications), along with your required major classes for your field.
Before choosing a major there are some important facts you should know about.
When you know that you want to major in Environmental Science, you should find out if the colleges and universities you're most interested in carry this major. You should check the academic catalogs of each university to verify which ones do carry an Environmental Science major and verify with your state's department of education that the colleges you're considering offer the appropriate Environmental Science education program you need for your field.
If a university you're considering doesn't carry an Environmental Science major, then it's time to cross that school off your list. Keep checking the other schools. For those that do have an Environmental Science major, begin looking over their programs so you get a better idea which university interests you the most.
Before you declare a major in Environmental Science, you should have an idea of what kind of timeframe you're looking at. If you are trying to achieve an associate degree, you will only need to finish about 60 credit hours over 2 years. However, if you are going for you bachelor's (B.S. or B.A.) degree in Environmental Science, you will need to complete 120 credit hours over four years. And, if you want to attain a master's degree as well, you will have to finish your bachelors first and then spend around 2 years completing 60 more credit hours. Some of the coursework you will find in typical Environmental Science degrees are:
The graduation rate is an important piece of information. It measures the performance of the entire student body, and it is a good predictor of the experience each applicant can expect. Time is money when it comes to an education in Environmental Science. The longer time for completion means more tuition and fee payments. Each year in addition to the expected four years, adds about 25% to the total costs of a Environmental Science degree. The longer it takes to graduate also means the less time a student is in the workforce earning an income from their Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science investment.
National statistics measure on-time degree completion using four-year and six-year marks. Private schools across the US and for all majors have a range of 53% on-time graduation and 65.6% within six years. In these schools, students can expect to finish on time if they attend full time and within six years with some part-time attendance. Public schools show a 35% on-time rate at four years and 59% at the six-year mark. Students at these schools must plan carefully to ensure that they can complete the requirements for on-time graduation.
Accreditation is an important part of selecting a school for Environmental Science education. Much depends on accreditation and the type of accreditation. There are two main types of accreditation; regional and national. Regional accreditation agencies work with research-based schools, private schools, public schools, and some for-profit schools. National accreditation works primarily with for-profit and career-related education.
There are two types of regional accreditation; they are Environmental Science program accreditation and institutional accreditation. Institutional accreditation uses a group of states as the base to compare the school with other colleges and universities; the group of states comprises the region assigned by the Department of Education.
Programmatic Accreditation looks at specific programs or parts of a college or university. This type of accreditation has the same type of respect and acceptance as regional accreditation for institutions. Regional employers and other educational institutions regard regional accreditation as proof of high-quality education.
National accreditation has a Faith-based branch and a career- related education branch. Faith-based institutions have a different set of standards that recognize the role of faith in instruction. The for-profit branch of national accreditation covers the special purpose and non-traditional schools such as vocational schools. The career-related education requires standards that place appropriate weight on general knowledge and education. Some regionally accredited schools do not accept credits from career-related schools.
Did you know that your salary is not always just based on what level of degree you received, but it also could be based on what school you attended? Many employers actually have their own rankings and rating systems of schools. That is to say, if you received your degree from a college that was accredited by a low rated agency, your salary may actually be decreased by a certain percentage where a high-ranked, well-known, accredited school, can raise that mark significantly.
How much an Environmental Science bachelor's degree costs depends upon the school and the state. An associate's degree at a community college may cost roughly $7,500, while an associate's degree from a private college may cost $14,500 or more. A bachelor's degree in Environmental Science may range from approximately $40,000 for four years for in-state residents at a public university, and $140,000 or more for students attending private colleges. Online school tuition also varies, but students do not have to pay for housing, meals or transportation, and costs are generally lower because online classes cost less for a college or university to operate. To determine the actual costs of your education, perform a budget analysis and investigate all the costs involved with earning a degree in Environmental Science at a school you wish to attend.
If you are going to spend a lot of time and energy to attain an Environmental Science degree, you will certainly want some job placement assistance as you near graduation. Discuss this with your admissions counselor when you are considering the right program. In fact, you might want to broaden that discussion by asking about how your school handles internships and if co-op programs are available. Experiential learning can help you not only gain the skills needed to land a job, but you can also cultivate a professional network that will help you build the career you deserve.