The City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability is just one example of how Texas is making a name for itself in sustainability. Building on its reputation as an innovative, progressive city, Austin has made significant strides to become an economically resilient leader in Texas. Through its Office of Sustainability, Austin seeks to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, achieve a ‘healthy and just’ local food system, and more.
Achievements here have been impressive in the last decade. For example, in 2012, the City of Austin successfully converted all city buildings to 100% renewable wind energy. In 2016, Austin began working toward a 2020 goal of adding 330 electric vehicles and charging stations to the city’s fleet, and in 2018, the city’s carbon footprint reached an all-time low after reducing their emissions by 75% since 2007.
Regardless of whether your talents lie in business, marketing, architecture, landscape design, or engineering, there’s a place for you among Austin’s superb sustainability programs and initiatives. With the right education, you can become part of the movement in Texas making strides in sustainability.
Sustainability Jobs Available in Texas with the Right Degree
The green movement in Texas is widespread and swiftly growing, thanks to a massive number of programs and agencies that are devoted to decreasing the state’s footprint and preserving its natural resources.
For example, EarthShare of Texas: The Environmental Fund for Texas, is focused on conserving natural resources and partnering with member organizations, businesses, and the community to create and maintain a sustainable environment. This large nonprofit supports more than 40 conservation and environmental organizations throughout Texas by raising funds and distributing the funds to organizations that qualify.
The Austin-based Sustainable Food Center aims to create and maintain a healthy community by strengthening its food system and improving access to affordable, nutritious foods. This nonprofit has been working to create a food-secure community in Central Texas since 1975.
Groundwork Dallas is a large nonprofit that works with citizens and local nonprofits to establish a safer, cleaner, and healthier environment, which includes improving the air and water within the Dallas metroplex. Groundwork Dallas, as one of about 20 trusts in the Groundwork USA nonprofit network, is largely focused on improving the Dallas Elm Fork Greenbelt and the Great Trinity Forest through the creation of trails that provide access to the region’s urban forests and through service-learning opportunities and community involvement.
Another big name in environmental protection and natural resource preservation is Houston Wilderness, an alliance of more than 100 businesses, governmental agencies, and environmental nonprofits that come together to protect and preserve the Greater Houston region’s environment, from its forests to its wetlands. Some of this organization’s major programs include the Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan, the Wilderness Passport, Great Green Quest, and the Houston Wilderness Ecosystem Services Primer.
Professional opportunities in sustainability programs and organizations in Texas are matched with robust salaries. According to 2018 BLS statistics, environmental scientists in Texas earn an average salary of $80,880. Other professions in sustainability that enjoy competitive salaries include environmental engineers who earn an average salary of $102,660, urban planners who earn $69,070, and foresters who earn $64,740 on average.
Master’s in Sustainability Available Through Schools in Texas
Study sustainability at the master’s level and you’ll dive deep into sustainability as it relates to other fields of study, such as agriculture, engineering, technology, and public policy.
Huntsville’s Sam Houston State University offers a Master of Agriculture in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Environment, which features an in-depth examination into sustainable agriculture and food systems. This fully online program explores both traditional and modern agricultural methods, as well as food safety and small business marketing.
The University of Texas at Austin’s MS in Sustainable Design is offered in the esteemed School of Architecture, which features intimate cohorts for the finest in personalized learning, a faculty of experienced scholars, and several facilities and laboratories that allow for superb research experiences.
The University of Houston Clear Lake’s MBA with a concentration in Sustainability focuses on the legal, economic, and strategic issues related to operating a business with sustainability in mind. This professional MBA features a blend of online, in-person, and hybrid courses for maximum flexibility.
Texas A&M University offers both an MS and an ME in Civil Engineering with an Environmental Engineering specialization. These programs are located in the university’s Zachry Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the largest civil engineering program in the country. The department is ranked ninth in the nation among civil engineering graduate programs in public institutions, and the faculty here has long been recognized for their excellence in research, teaching, and professional service.
Sustainability Bachelor Degree Programs in Texas
A bachelor’s degree in sustainability is an excellent foundation on which to build a career in this field or for future graduate study. These programs prepare students with a liberal arts core and then combine it with a broad examination of sustainability and environmental science.
For example, the University of Texas at Austin offers a BA in Sustainability Studies that features study in areas like environment and earth sciences, economics and development, politics and policy, and research design. Students here can specialize their degree by choosing from among concentration options in Trajectories to Sustainability, Sustainable Choice in a Diverse World, or Natural Resource Management.
Online Sustainability Degrees Offered Through Schools in Texas
Online programs in sustainability have become a common addition to many esteemed universities and colleges throughout the country as institutions seek to accommodate busy, working professionals and those with geographical restrictions. These programs offer the same rigorous curriculum and the same respected faculty as their on-campus counterparts while also offering convenient and flexible distance-based course delivery.
In Texas, for example, Texas Tech University’s College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources offers a number of online master’s programs in sustainability, including Master of Science degrees in agricultural education, agricultural communication, horticulture, and plant and social science, along with an online bachelor’s degree in plant and soil science.