If you grew up in Idaho, you probably have a more complex relationship with the environment than folks from more heavily urbanized parts of the country.
The broad freshwater lakes, fast-tumbling mountain rivers, and towering, snow-capped peaks are all places we enjoy while we're out fishing, snowmobiling, or hunting in the majestic outdoors. But for many of us, they are also where we make a living. In addition to being a huge agricultural state, up in the Silver Valley, hard-rock miners are helping hold up the nickname of the Gem State, having produced more silver than any other mining district in the country.
And while we don't have a drop of oil, we're rich in natural energy sources, with wind and hydropower resources like the Snake winding through our geography. More exotic technologies like geothermal are also being pioneered here.
So we understand the value of working to both preserve and to utilize our natural environment, and getting a master's degree in environmental science offers the tools for both.
What Can I Do with an Environmental Science Degree in Idaho
Government jobs are always a good bet in the environmental sector. Idaho Fish and Game has positions all over the states, and federal agencies like the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Reclamation have a significant presence in the Boise area. For more exotic opportunities, check out the Idaho National Laboratory, our local nuclear research facility that has recently become a force in clean energy technology and integration research.
Hard rock mining is still a force in the panhandle, and regulatory compliance and mitigation for years of less-than-stellar environmental mining practices mean there is also plenty of private sector work for specialists there.
Pay scales reflect those private sector jobs, with wildlife biologists pulling in just shy of $70,000 a year on average and other environmental scientists making a bit more than $60,000 accord to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Idaho, that goes a long way!
Master's in Environmental Science in Idaho
A master's degree is the qualification you need to take your place at the very top of the pyramid of environmental science in either research or practice. You have a couple of options in Idaho for universities at which to earn this level of degree, including Idaho State University in Pocatello.
ISU offers a Master of Science in either environmental engineering or environmental science and management, two prongs of the practice that cover your ambitions in either direction. You can get a ground-level education in the practical work of environmental mitigation and remediation, including in radioactive material handling and disposal, or you can focus on the larger issues of environmental management with an interdisciplinary education that emphasizes communication and synthesis of the big issues.
Bachelor's in Environmental Science in Idaho
Bachelor's degrees are your main point of entry into the field of environmental science, so it's important you choose the right one to get your foundations set for either higher education or a long-term career in the field.
Idaho students are covered, with an array of excellent bachelor's programs available throughout the state.
In Boise, Boise State delivers a bachelor of arts in environmental studies with a huge range of electives that allow you to scratch an educational itch on everything from urban sociology to global climate change.
In Rexburg, Brigham Young University-Idaho has an even wider array of specialized bachelor programs that have environmental science aspects, including the one in Applied Plant Science. With extra features such as the Thomas E. Ricks demonstration garden and on-campus farms, you will get your hands dirty in more than one sense as you absorb practical information to build your career on.
Online Environmental Science Degree Options from Schools in Idaho
Although Idaho isn't a big state, either in terms of population or geographically, it is a predominantly rural one. We're number 44 out of 50 in terms of population density, and our largest city, Boise, barely breaks 200,000.
That makes online education programs a priority here, and fortunately, the University of Idaho has come through with a great array of environmental degrees that you can earn online:
- MS in Environmental Science
- Master of Natural Resources
- MS in Natural Resources
- Professional Science Masters in Natural Resources and Environmental Science
With full access to the university's online research libraries and partnerships with agencies around the state for thesis and non-thesis research, you can complete your degree without the hassle of relocating or dramatically restructuring your life to attend classes.