Professional Development
Resources for Sustainability Career Planning

Professional Development

The Earth Institute Professional Development Program helps students and alumni to achieve their sustainability-related career goals. The program offers skill-building seminars, networking opportunities, and tools that, together, better prepare students to pursue job opportunities in sustainability and related fields. The program complements existing services such as resume and cover letter review that are provided by Columbia University's career service offices.

Explore The Program Offerings:

These resources were put together to help you start planning your sustainability career as soon as you start your degree!

You will need time to research industries, learn what different organizations do, and which organizations embody the type of work environment that matches your interests. Once you start looking for jobs, it can take 6-9 months of serious work. In addition to your school work, you will also need to be serious about your job hunt.

These resources are presented in the suggested order in which you start do your career planning process.  Here’s how to get started:

Overview of Sustainability Careers: This section will help you to learn about the types of sustainability careers. Make your list and try to identify 2-4 industries in which you would like to work.

Job Titles and Sustainability Employers: This section contains materials to help you explore job titles and employers. Make a list of companies and job titles to research more deeply. Use your list of companies to strategically conduct research on these companies. Read the companies’ website, LinkedIn pages and follow their staff on twitter.

Professional Organizations and Conferences: The material in these sections will help to you deepen your knowledge of the industries that interest you, and can assist with making networking contacts. Make a list of professional organizations that you will plan to join and conferences you would like to attend in the future. Also remember to look at LinkedIn groups and join those of interest to you.

Job Sites: When you are ready to learn about the job titles you have identified for yourself, start exploring jobs through these links. Find the links most useful for the jobs that interest you, make a list of links that you will check on a regular basis, and sign up for job alerts. When you find job descriptions that interest you – save them as a Pdf (they will disappear from the websites within weeks- and sometimes days). This is part of your research even if you are not going to apply to them! Job descriptions provide you with valuable information about terminology and responsibilities that you may need to use in your resume and cover letter.

Salaries – notice that this information is last! Once you begin applying to jobs you will want to develop a better understanding of the salaries paid in your industry and develop an understanding of the salary ranges for the type of job you are considering. Use these resources to understand the salary ranges paid for the jobs you apply to. This will help you when you negotiate a job offer.

Overview of Sustainability Careers

Best Colleges – Careers in Sustainability
Provides an overview of Careers in Sustainability. Includes educational pathways that lead to sustainability, a description jobs by states, proposes career paths for Green Jobs, salaries, and projected growth.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, US Government
Provides overviews of careers in sustainability by field of work. Here are some links to start with. Also search by your field of work.

Green Jobs
Sustainability Careers 

Department of Labor’s Green Guide for Women
Provides overviews of occupations, finding jobs, green entrepreneurship and planning your green career.

Environmental Science
Covers overviews of careers in Agriculture and Forestry, Environmental Policy and Planning, Sustainability Careers and Greens Jobs, and Public Health Careers. Also available are links by job titles to information on careers, salaries by state, demand, and professional organizations.

Net Impact
Provides information on a variety of career fields, a searchable job board and in-depth look at each career through articles, job postings, events, and webinars. Fields include: Community Development, Corporate Impact, Education, Energy & Clean Tech, Entrepreneurship & Social Enterprise, Environment & Natural Resources, Health, Impact Investing, International Development, Nonprofits & Public Sector Innovation. Host an annual conference and lists conference agendas and speakers.
SIPA Career Overviews
See Energy, Environmental Sustainability, Energy Consulting Firms, Energy Finance Companies, Environmentally and Socially Responsible Investment Firms, Environmental Consulting Firms, Environmental Organizations in the Private Sector, and Environmental Organizations in the Public Sector, Nonprofits, International Organizations

Sustainability Degrees 
Covers trends in the profession, education and preparation for the field, hiring trends, compensation, future prospects in the fields of clean energy, clean technology, sustainable business, and green building.

Sustainability Career and Green Jobs   
Environmental – provides detailed look at different jobs and salaries for these jobs by location, describes degree and training requirements and lists significant professional associations for each field. You will also find lists common internships and where to look for a variety of internships. Also provided are lists scholarships and provides a job search database.

State of Green Business  2015  GreenBiz 
Each year a new State of the Business is available to download for free. Covers latest trends in what companies are doing to improve their environmental performance

State of the Profession 2016  Green Biz
Each year a new State of the Profession is available to download for free. Covers latest trends in what companies are doing to improve their environmental performance.

Science Careers in Sustainability  American Association for the Advancement of Science
Describes sustainability jobs by sectors (Biology, Chemistry & Chemical Engineering, Ecology, Engineering, Geography, Geosciences, Mathematics & Statistics, Psychology, Sociology, and provides links to other resources.

Job Titles and Sustainability Employers

Job fields in Sustainability (this is not an exhaustive list!)

Green Biz Videos
Interviews with people inside organizations who explain what the organizations are doing with sustainability

List of sustainability Jobs  ASU
Provides sample companies where each of these jobs are found.  Gives alumni employment Information from universities which suggests ideas about where to find jobs in sustainability or sustainability-related jobs

Civil Engineering, Technology, Environmental Management, and Safety Fields  RIT
Lists common titles for jobs in these fields and employers

Sustainability Careers ASU
Lists fields of sustainability careers and potential employers by field.

Professional Organizations

Many of these organizations also have jobs listed on their sites.

American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists  
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
American Economic Association
Association of American Geographers (AAG)
American Planning Association
Ecological Society of America
Environmental Design Research Association
Environmental Markets Association
Federation of American Scientists
Green America
Green Restaurant Association
Institute of Professional Environmental Practice
International Society for Industrial Ecology
International Society of Sustainability Professionals
National Association of Environmental Professionals
National Registry of Environmental Professionals
North American Association for Environmental Education
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
Society for Conservation GIS (SCGIS) (Annual Conference)
Women's Environmental Council

Policy and Economics
Association of Environmental and Resource Economists
Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management
Economics for Equity & Environment
Institute for Research on Public Policy - Canada

Global Cleantech Cluster Association

Association of Nature Center Administrators
Center for Watershed Protection
Ecology Society of America
Forestry Service Employees for Environmental Ethics
National Association of Environmental Professionals
Native American Water Association
Society for Conservation Biology
Society for Conservation GIS
Society for Ecological Restoration
Soil and Water Conservation Society
The Stewardship Network
The Voice of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
The Wildlife Society

Construction and Architecture
The American Institute of Architecture

Corporate Social Responsibility
Business for Social Responsibility
Center for Corporate Social Responsibility – Boston College

American Solar Energy Society
American Wind Energy Association
Business Council for Sustainable Energy
International Hydropower Association
Solar Energy Industries Association
United States Energy Association
World Renewable Energy Congress

Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers
International Association for Life Cycle Civil Engineering
Society of Automotive Engineers

Environmental Health and Science
National Association for Environmental Health and Safety ManagementPlanning for a Sustainable Future – annual publication
National Environmental Health Association

GIS and Informatics
American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS)
Emerging GIS Leaders (Emerging GIS Leaders also has a website with a listing of GIS Professional Organizations)
Geospatial Information & Technology Association (GITA
International Association for Landscape Ecology
International Environmental Modelling and Software Society (IEMSS)
International Society for Ecological Informatics
The North American Cartographic Information Society
The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA)
University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS)

Natural Resources
California Resource Recovery Association
International Association for Society and Natural Resources
Land Trust Alliance
National Association for Clean Water Agencies
Water Quality Association

Pollution Prevention and Remediation
Air & Waste Management Association
Institute of Clean Air Companies
Manufacturers of Emissions Controls Association

Waste Management
National Waste Recycling Association
Zero Waste International Alliance

Public Utilities
American Water Works Association


Beyond Pesticides
Bioneers Conference
BSR Conference – Business for Social Responsibility
Business Climate Conference
Carbon Expo
Center for Environmental and Resource Economic Policy Workshops (CENREP)
Ceres Conference
Cleantech Forum
Cleantech Open Global Forum
Clinton Global Initiative Annual Conference
Climate Week NYC
Co-op America Green Business Conference
Ecocity World Conference
Ethical Corporation Conference
Food Systems Economic Partnership
Good Jobs, Green Jobs
GoVgreen Conference
Green Building Conference
Greenbuild International Conference and Expo
Green Festivals
International Conference on Business and Sustainability
Investor’s Circle Conference
Net Impact
NY Go Green Conference
Renewable Energy Technology Conference RETECH
Society for European Congress of Conservation Biology – European Congress of Conservation Biology
Sustainable Brands Conference
Triple Bottom Line Investing Conference
US Chamber of Commerce Foundation: Corporate Citizenship Conference
Verge – by Greenbiz
Women in Green Forum
Woman’s Network for a Sustainable Future

Job Sites

Careers in Consulting – U of Michigan – list of consulting firms with sustainability practice and links
Sustainability Strategy/Management Consulting Companies
Sustainability Strategy Listings – GreenBiz
Sustainability Consulting Companies in New York
Top Global Environmental Consulting Firms – ranked
Top 10 Climate Change Strategy Consultancies
The Top Environmental Consulting Firms 2014

ACORE Renewable Energy Careers
Air and Waste Management Association Listing
Allen& York
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
American Council of Engineering Companies
American Fisheries Society Listings
American Forests
American Water Resources Association Listing
American Water Works Association Listing
American Wind Energy Association
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography
Association of American Geographers
Association of Environmental and Resource Economists Listing
Audubon Naturalist Society
Beginning Farmers
Biology Jobs
Bright Green Talent
Care2 Job Finder
California Air Resources Board
California Coastal Commission
California Department of Conservation
California Department of Water Resources
California Energy Commission
Canadian GIS & Geomatics
Career Cast Green Network
Career Jet
Center for Health, Environment & Justice
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Chincoteague Bay Field Station
Chronicle 0f Philanthropy
CleanTech Recruits
Common Good
Community College Sustainability Collaborative
Conservation International
Conservation Job Board
Cyber-Sierra’s Natural Resources Job Search
Dayaway Careers
Development Executive Group
DevNet Jobs
Directions Magazine
Eco-business – jobs in Asia
Eco Club
Ecological Society of America
EHS Careers
Energy Careers Listing
Energy Central
Energy Crossing Listing
Energy Jobs Network
Energy News Record
Energy Placement
Energy Solutions
Energy Vortex
Environment Job UK
Environment Jobs – at the password, click ok, then cancel and watch your browser – your in!
Environmental Career
Environmental Career Opportunities
Environmental Defense Fund
Environmental Health Perspectives
Environmental Jobs
Environmental Leader
Environmental Planning Jobs
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Ethanol Jobs
ExecSearches Nonprofit Job Board
Foundation Center-Nonprofit Jobs
Geography Jobs
Get Hydrology Jobs
GIS Careers
GIS Jobs
GIS Jobs Clearinghouse
Glassdoor Sustainability Manager Listing
Global Impact Investing Network GIIN
Going Green Jobs
Good Work (Canada)
Grassroots Jobsource
Great Green Careers
GreenBiz Employer Directory
Green Business Jobs
Green Careers Guide
Green Careers Guide2
Green Careers Journal
Green Collar
Green Dream Jobs
Green Job Search
Green Jobs
Green Jobs Network
Green Jobs Ready
GreenJobs UK
Home Power
Huntsman Marine Science Center
Indeed – Sustainability Jobs – or create your own search words
International Jobs
LinkedIn – Green Jobs & Career Network
LinkedIn – Greenforce Initiative
Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
National Audubon Society Career Center
National Ground Water Association Listing
National Registry of Environmental Professionals
National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Natural Resources Defense Council
National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service – jobs & Internships
National Young Farmers Coalition
Nature Jobs
Net Impact
NewScientist Jobs
Nonprofit Careers Job Bank
Northeast Sustainable Energy Association
Packaging Digest
Penn Energy Jobs
PM Environmental
Policy Jobs
Power Plant Pro
Professional Energy Jobs
Professional Services Inc.
Renewable Energy Jobs
Renewable Energy World
Rocky Mountain Institute
Sapphos Environmental
Science Careers
Science Museum of Virginia
Sierra Club Listings
SmartBrief Jobs
Society for Conservation Biology Listing
Solar Energy Industries Association
State Water Resources Control Board
Stopdodo – lists jobs worldwide
Sustainability Jobs
Sustainable Business
Sustainable Careers
Sustainability Degrees
The Conservation Fund
The Hill
The Job Seeker
The Student Conservation Association
The Sustainability Consortium
Trout Unlimited
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
US Green Building Council
Utilities Jobs
Warner College of Natural Resources Job Postings
Water Environment Federation
Water Jobs Now
Weinreb Group
WestWater Research
Wildlife Conservation Society
Wind Industry Jobs
Work for Water
World Wildlife Fund

1% for the Planet Members
American Wind Energy Association
Audubon International
B Corporations
Build it Green NYC
Business Council for Sustainable Energy
Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP)
Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography
Center for Ocean Solutions
Chemonics International
Chicago Climate Exchange
Clinton Foundation
Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies
Council on Foundations
Corporate Citizenship Briefing
CSR Europe
Development Alternatives
Earthwatch Institute
Edison International
Environmental Defense Fund
Environmental Resources Management
Environment New York
EPA Climate partners
Ethical Performance
European Union
European Sustainable Investment Forum
Fair Trade Federation members
Foreign Policy Association
Foundation for Sustainable Development
Friends of the Earth
Grow NYC Environmental Education Programs
Heal the Bay
Hospitality Green
Hudson River Foundation
ICF Consulting Group
International Association of Business Communicators
International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives
International Institute for Sustainable Development
International Institute of Environment and Development
International Union for Conservation of Nature
Land Trust Alliance
MBAs without Borders
Me to We
Mote Marine Laboratory
National Academy of Sciences
National Association of Development Organizations
Natural Resources Defense Council
New York City Department of Parks
New York City Environmental Justice Alliance
New York City Department of Environmental Protection
New York City Office of Environmental Remediation
New York City Research Initiative
New York League of Conservation Voters
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
New York State Green Hospitality and Tourism Initiative
North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation
Ocean Conservancy
Pacific Gas and Electric
Pacific Whale Foundation
REDF Fellows program
Regional Plan Association
Research Triangle Institute
Resolute Forest Products
Rincon Consultants
Risk Management Solutions
RMC Water and Environment
Rodale Institute
Social Enterprise Alliance
Social Venture Network
Social for Organizational Learning (SoL)
Tetra Tech
The Business of a Better World
The Nature Conservancy
The Otesha Project
Transportation Alternatives
US Business Council for Sustainable Development (USBCSD)
US Climate Action Partnership members
US EPA Climate Leaders
Virginia Forestry Association
WBCSD members
Westchester Land Trust
Winrock International
World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
World Resources Institute
World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms
World Wildlife Fund
Worldwide Fund for Nature

UN and Multilaterals
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
Sustainable Development Solutions Network
United Nations Development Program
United Nations Environment Program
United Nations Industrial Development Organization
UN Energy
UN Global Compact
World Bank Group
World Federation of United Nations Associations
World Trade Organization
U.S. Government
Agency for International Development
Army National Guard
Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
Defense Environmental Network and Information Exchange
Department of Agriculture
Department of Defense
Department of Energy
Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration
Department of the Interior
DOE National Energy Technology Lab
Environmental Protection Agency Office of International Affairs
Fish and Wildlife Service
Foreign Agricultural Service
Forest Service
House Committee on Energy and Commerce
House Committee on Resources
National and Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National Park Service
National Science Foundation: Research Experience for UndergraduatesREU
Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
US Department of Agriculture – National Agroforestry Center
US Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service
US Forest Service
US Geological Survey


The CR and Sustainability Salary Survey
State of the Profession 2016 - GreenBiz
The 11 highest Paying Careers in Sustainability
US Government Bureau of Labor Statistics
Provides overviews and salaries on many career areas in sustainability. Here are two to get you started.
Management, Scientific and Technical Consulting Services Salaries
Environmental Engineers Salaries
Glassdoor – Lists jobs and provides opportunities for employees to review companies and list salaries by title. This is growing so if you don’t find the employer or salaries that you hope to find now, check back in the future. People offer this information on a voluntarily. You can sign up for a free membership to access more information.
Many of the links in the section - Overview of Sustainability Careers also have salary information.

Other Useful Websites

Become an Environmental Consultant
Environmental Business Council Resources
Environmental Data Resources
Environmental News Record  - lists top environmental firms
National Registry of Environmental Professionals
New York State Energy - The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority