Chicago is Illinois’ economic powerhouse, epicenter of the state’s economy, and home to countless Fortune 500 companies. As a city built on business and industry, Chicago may not come to mind when you think of cities committed to sustainability. However, its green initiatives has earned it a top spot for its environmental policies by The Economist. It’s also home to more green-certified buildings than any other city in the nation.
In fact, Chicago’s commitment to sustainability is everywhere you turn, from its more than 8,000 acres of green space like the Bloomingdale Trail, the Chicago Riverwalk, and Lincoln, Millennium, and Jackson Parks…to its 115-plus miles of protected bike lanes…to its more than 300 green rooftops…to its hybrid public transit system…to its 67 LEED-certified projects that include McCormick Place West and the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Thanks to cities like Chicago, Illinois’ sustainability efforts are widespread and impressive, earning this state an enviable position as a leader in sustainability, thus making professional opportunities here both exciting and readily available.
Sustainability Jobs Available in Illinois with the Right Degree
Want to become an active part of Illinois’ sustainability efforts? You’re in luck – this midwestern state is home to countless organizations and agencies focused on conserving our natural resources, reducing our carbon footprint, and improving our nation’s health.
For example, the Chicagoland Environmental Network (CEN) is a coalition of more than 200 environmental and natural resource organizations that work together to achieve habitat restoration, wildlife conservation, energy conservation, and more.
The Illinois Sustainable Technology Center is another nonprofit that brings together research, technology, and information services to advance sustainability in the areas of water, energy, recycling, and pollution.
The Illinois Green Business Association works with businesses to help them achieve sustainable practices while remaining profitable in sustainability. In the last five years, this organization has helped more than 3,000 businesses implement green practices…has certified more than one million square feet of sustainable business space…and has reduced more than 5 million kilowatts of energy through energy-efficient business practices.
Careers in sustainability in Illinois come with impressive salaries. According to 2018 BLS statistics, Illinois environmental engineers earn an average salary of $92,200, civil engineers earn $94,570, environmental scientists earn $78,640, conservation scientists earn $63,840, and urban and regional planners earn $74,420.
Master’s in Sustainability Available Through Schools in Illinois
There are superb opportunities for advancing your education and propelling your career in Illinois, thanks to a wealth of master’s degree offerings in sustainability.
The University of Illinois’ online Master’s in Crop Science offer advanced study into areas like crop production, genetics/plant breeding, plant physiology/biochemistry, insects and soils, and environmental aspects.
The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign’s Department of Urban and Regional Planning offers a Master of Urban Planning, which features a variety of options for specialization, exciting electives to round out your program, and an internship for earning valuable hands-on experience.
The Illinois Institute of Technology offers an MS in Sustainable Management– the only environmental master’s program offered in a school of business in Chicago. For more than 125 years, Illinois Tech has been providing students with innovative, technology-focused programs.
Eastern Illinois University’s MS in Sustainable Energy is designed to prepare leaders and managers in the energy industry through study in energy production, utilization, and conservation, as well as the economy and environmental impact of sustainable energy.
The Illinois Institute of Technology offers an MS in Environmental Engineering, which features a solid course of study in this field of engineering, along with your choice of specialization in air pollution engineering, building energy systems, energy/environment/economics, environmental chemistry, and more. This program is located in the Armour College of Engineering, which enjoys a job placement rate of 88% among its graduates.
Sustainability Bachelor Degree Programs in Illinois
Sustainability degrees at the undergraduate level are offered through a number of colleges and universities in Illinois, including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which offers a host of programs in areas like natural resources and environmental sciences, crop sciences, food science and human nutrition, and agriculture. Additionally, Roosevelt University offers a BA in Sustainability Studies.
Online Sustainability Degrees Offered Through Schools in Illinois
You’ll find a nice selection of online degrees in sustainability offered in Illinois and throughout the country, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. These programs, many of which are offered through the nation’s top colleges and universities, offer the flexibility and convenience of online study for busy, working professionals and nontraditional learners.
For example, the University of Illinois offers an online BS in Earth, Society, & Environmental Sustainability and an MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering, while the University of Illinois Springfield offers an online MS in Environmental Sciences.