While other cities in the country were talking about the importance of sustainability, Burlington, Vermont, was already a city in motion, completing their Burlington Legacy Project Action Plan in 2000. And when other cities were just getting around to creating actionable plans, Burlington was putting their plans into action, addressing everything from green infrastructure and stormwater management to reducing pollution and improving air quality.
By 2015, the Greater Burlington region earned a designation as a Regional Center of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development by the United Nations University Institute for Advanced Studies of Sustainability for its innovative education efforts in sustainability, and in 2016, Burlington was the first city in the nation to draw its power from 100% renewable resources.
While Burlington is certainly a leader in sustainability, other Vermont cities like Rutland and Montpelier are following its lead with the creation of their own innovative programs and initiatives aimed at reducing their carbon footprint and preserving their natural resources. Whether your interests and talents lie in urban planning, sustainable design, or sustainable business practices, you’re sure to find a wealth of exceptional opportunities awaiting you in Vermont.
Sustainability Jobs Available in Vermont with the Right Degree
Sustainability initiatives and programs are often the work of a host of organizations and agencies that come together to achieve a common goal.
This is especially true in Vermont, where organizations like South Burlington’s Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative bring together the expertise and talents of both nonprofits and governmental agencies to study, maintain, and conserve the state’s natural resources.
The South Burlington’s Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative, which extends into five states, emphasizes the sharing of research, data, and tools for understanding and managing forested ecosystems throughout the region.
Similarly, the Bennington County Sustainable Forest Consortium allows foresters, loggers, landowners, and natural resource professionals to come together to share their ideas and experiences about protecting and conserving the area’s forests.
The Vermont Association of Conservation Districts is a large nonprofit in Vermont that focuses on the collaboration of the state’s 14 Natural Resource Conservation Districts, whose main areas of focus include the conservation, maintenance, development, and improvement of the state’s natural resources and wildlife.
Another big name in conservation in Vermont is SWEEP – the Vermont State-Wide Environmental Education Programs, a coalition of citizens and organizations whose goal is to attain a sustainable future through environmental literacy.
You’ll find Vermont’s plentiful professional opportunities in sustainability often come with impressive paychecks. According to 2018 BLS statistics, environmental engineers in Vermont earn an average salary of $82,430, while environmental scientists earn $66,440 on average and conservation scientists earn $55,150.
Master’s in Sustainability Available Through Schools in Vermont
Study sustainability at the master’s level and you’ll find in-depth, focused programs that are generally aimed at examining sustainability within a specific field or profession.
The University of Vermont’s Graduate Program in Food Systems allows students to examine some of the most pressing topics in modern food systems, such as reducing waste, ensuring fair labor practices, and achieving climate change resilience. This program comes with exciting, hands-on experiences, both in the field and in the laboratory, as well as opportunities to collaborate with community partners on a variety of issues related to food systems.
Other graduate options in the university’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences include programs in agroecology, ecological landscape design, horticulture, soil science, and more.
The University of Vermont offers two options for students seeking master’s programs in sustainable business management and leadership: the Master’s in Leadership for Sustainability and the Sustainable Innovation MBA, which was ranked first in the nation by the Princeton Review.
The Goddard College, located in Plainfield, offers an MA in Social Innovation and Sustainability, which allows students to examine issues associated with social justice, such as inclusive and equitable practices. This program features opportunities for specialization through your choice of concentration in consciousness studies, embodiment studies, or transformative language arts.
The University of Vermont’s College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences offers an MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering, which includes options to specialize in areas like environmental, geotechnical, water resources, structural, materials, and transportation engineering.
Sustainability Bachelor Degree Programs in Vermont
Bachelor’s degrees in sustainability in Vermont are the perfect foundation on which to build a career in sustainability. These programs are often broad examinations of areas within sustainability, such as agriculture, business, or engineering.
Online Sustainability Degrees Offered Through Schools in Vermont
You’ll find a wealth of exciting degree options in sustainability throughout the country, many of which are offered online. These programs allow busy, working professionals and other nontraditional students to earn their undergraduate or graduate degree through convenient and flexible online study.
In Vermont, Green Mountain College offers a nice selection of online master’s degree programs in sustainability, including an MS in Resilient and Sustainable Communities, a Sustainable MBA, and an MS in Environmental Studies.