Earning an associates degree in environmental science online can help prepare you to enter this rewarding and growing field.
A common entry-level career in this field is the position of environmental science and protection technician. This role may be a good fit for someone who cares about the environment and enjoys doing practical, hands-on work.
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An associates degree can also act as a stepping stone if you later decide to pursue an on-campus or online bachelors degree in environmental science.
Associates Degree in Environmental Science Online
Coursework for an online associate degree in environmental science typically focuses heavily on natural sciences.
Chemistry, biology, geology, and physics are all useful subjects for an environmental scientist, and they are all usually studied as part of an environmental science associates degree. Math courses in statistics and data analysis are also included.
Core courses likely include English composition and writing. Effective communication skills can also be very useful in the field of environmental science. You may need to clearly explain your findings to other people or suggest solutions to problems.
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To conduct formal scientific research in the field of environmental science, you usually need to possess at least a bachelor’s degree. Earning an AS in Environmental Science online could still be useful, though, if you want to enter the field of environmental science as a technician.
Environmental science and protection technicians perform a variety of tasks, such as testing rivers or streams for contamination and monitoring air pollution levels. They can also inspect businesses and other public establishments for environmental safety hazards.
Environmental science and protection technicians usually work under the supervision of environmental scientists. They may work on teams with people from a variety of specialties, such as hydrologists and geoscientists. Environmental science and protection technicians often divide their time between an office, a lab, and the field.
Environmental Science Careers & Salaries
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, training from an associate’s degree in environmental science may be applied in the following occupations.
|Careers||Annual Median Salaries|
|Environmental Engineering Technicians||$50,620|
|Life, Physical, and Social Science Technicians||$50,550|
|Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Local government||$50,230|
|Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant and System Operators||$47,760|
|Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Engineering Services||$46,940|
|Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, All||$46,540|
|Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, State Government||$46,510|
|Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services||$44,240|
|Agricultural and Food Science Technicians||$41,230|
|Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Testing Laboratories||$39,660|
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that environmental science and protection technicians are most commonly employed in state and local governments, engineering services, testing laboratories, and management, scientific, and technical consulting services.
Environmental Science Curriculum & Courses
Here are examples of courses you might take while earning an associates degree in environmental science.
- Chemistry: This course teaches you to understand substances on a molecular and atomic level.
- Geology: In this course, you’ll study rocks and minerals.
- Biology: In this course, you’ll study living organisms.
- Physics: You’ll study the physical laws of matter and energy and how to apply algebraic calculations to the movements of physical objects.
- Statistics: This course covers how to correctly analyze and interpret data.
- Atmospheric Sciences: You’ll study the chemical compositions of the various layers of gases that surround the Earth.
- Ecology: You’ll learn about ecosystems and the roles that various living organisms play in the functioning of an ecosystem.
- Sociology: Studying sociology helps you understand how human society and interactions affect the environment.
- Geosciences: This course deals with the processes that shape the surface of the earth and its interconnected bodies of water.
- Environmental Chemistry: The study of environmental chemistry can help you apply more general chemistry knowledge to an understanding of the environment.
Course requirements can vary at different colleges and universities.
Here are some common admissions requirements for associates degree programs in environmental science:
- High school diploma with transcripts
- Personal essays
- Letters of recommendation
You may also be required to submit SAT or ACT scores, but a growing number of schools are no longer requiring this. Admissions requirements can vary, so it’s helpful to find out the specific criteria for each school you intend to apply to.
The process of regional accreditation exists to help ensure that colleges and universities provide their students with a good education.
If a college or university is regionally accredited, that means it is regularly evaluated to ensure that its educational programs continue to meet certain objective standards. Before applying to a college, you may want to verify that it is regionally accredited so that you can feel confident in the quality of education you’ll receive.
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The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is a good source to learn more about accreditation and to find out your prospective school’s accreditation status.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
There are many different types of financial aid available for students who qualify. Whatever your educational goals, financial aid options try to help you find a way to finance your education.
You may apply for federal financial aid, state financial aid, employer programs, scholarships, grants, or student loans. There are a wide variety of options that you can explore to try and make your education more affordable. To apply for federal financial aid, you can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
What Can You Do with an Associates in Environmental Science?
An online associates degree in environmental science can help prepare you to enter the field as a technician. An associates can also act as a stepping stone toward a bachelors degree.
Graduates tend to become environmental science and protection technicians. These technicians can work in a variety of settings, such as government agencies or private organizations or laboratories.
Environmental science and protection technicians do the hands-on work of monitoring environmental changes and looking for possible hazards and solutions. Their work can include regularly measuring air or water pollution levels or inspecting businesses to ensure that their operations are safe for the community and environmentally friendly.
Some jobs in environmental science may require handling hazardous chemicals or working outside in a variety of weather conditions. Other positions in the field that can be pursued with an associates degree in environmental science include lab assistant, water treatment specialist, and assistant energy analyst.
How Long Does It Take to Get an Associate’s Degree in Environmental Science Online?
If you attend school full-time with traditional 16 week semesters, completing an associates degree will generally take you about 2 years. If you attend school part-time, it can often take longer to complete your degree, but your timing can depend on how many classes you take each year.
An associate’s degree in environmental science online programs often provides flexibility and many different scheduling options. So, you may be able to pace yourself through the program in the way that works best for you.
Is an Environmental Science Associates Degree Worth It?
Yes, an associates in environmental science is worth it for many students. This type of degree is useful for those who want to work in the field of environmental science.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of environmental science and protection technicians is projected to grow 8% over the next decade, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.
Job growth is expected to be most pronounced in the management, scientific, and technical consulting services sector. Many businesses rely on these firms to ensure that they meet government regulations.
Some higher paying jobs may require earning a more advanced degree, such as a bachelors, masters, or PhD in Environmental Science.
Universities Offering Online Associates in Environmental Science Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs online or in a hybrid format.
Broward College offers an online program to receive an Associate in Science in Environmental Science Technology. This program requires 64 credit hours, including 9 credits from science electives, and usually takes 6 terms to complete.
Students may gain extra credits from taking exams or prior learning assessments. The program allows for internships and co-op placements.
Broward College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Columbia College offers an Associate in Science in Environmental Studies online program. A total of 60 semester hours are required to graduate.
Students can transfer qualifying credits from other institutions if they received a C or higher in the class. Alternatively, students can complete exams to prove their knowledge and gain credits.
Columbia College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Delta College offers an Associate in Science in Environmental Technology online program. To complete the program, students must receive 64 credits in 2 years. The program is designed to allow students to easily transfer to another university after obtaining their associate’s degree so they may pursue a bachelor’s degree.
Delta College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The Seminole State College of Florida offers an Associate in Arts in Environmental Studies. To graduate from this program, students must complete 60 credits. Seminole State College offers both online classes, where students learn on their own schedule, and remote classes, where virtual lectures are held at set times.
Seminole State College of Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
South Seattle College offers an Associate’s in Environmental Science online program. Students can begin the program during any quarter. To graduate, students must complete 90 credits.
The program is designed to help prepare students interested in obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and may be used to transfer credits towards another degree.
South Seattle College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Getting Your Associates in Environmental Science Online
Are you passionate about environmental science? If so, earning your associate’s degree in environmental science can help prepare you to enter this rewarding field.
While there are many program options available for this type of degree, online degree programs usually provide the most flexible scheduling. Online options can often allow you to earn your degree at your own convenience while maintaining other work and life responsibilities.
You can start your educational journey today by exploring associate programs in environmental science from accredited universities.