Air quality woes, rising sea levels along the famed Jersey shore, and a persistent black eye from the severely contaminated Superfund sites - these are just a sampling of the pressing environmental issues plaguing the Garden State.
But let's be clear - New Jersey, led by environmental groups like the New Jersey League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, are addressing these issues head on. For example, thanks to the successes surrounding the closure of all but one of the state's coal-burning power plants and new restrictions on high-emission vehicles, air quality is improving. But there's still more work to do.
This densely populated state still continues to see rising ozone levels, and efforts from the Trump administration to kill the Clean Power Plan have left environmentalists struggling to keep their heads above the rising sea levels that threaten the state's picturesque shoreline.
It's not a job for the faint of heart, but with the right education, you'll be able to join the growing environmental movement and champion the state's most pressing environmental causes.
What Can I Do with an Environmental Science Degree in New Jersey
Its enviable position along the eastern seaboard gives New Jersey residents and tourists alike a front row seat to beautiful beaches and quaint seaside towns. And thanks to a host of environmental organizations in New Jersey like the Alliance for a Living Ocean (ALO), future generations will be able to enjoy the state's coastal environment. Since 1987, ALO has made it a mission to stop ocean dumping and maintain a healthy coastal environment. Not surprisingly, ALO was born from the disastrous 50-mile garbage slick that made its home off the coast that summer. Since then, ALO achievements have been impressive and have included work to end sewer overflow, chemical waste dumping, and reckless hazardous medical waste product disposal.
There's also much work being done in the private sector, with companies like First Environment helping federal, private, and public organizations solve complex environmental problems related to everything from site investigation and remediation to greenhouse gas management to regulatory compliance support and auditing.
While jobs in the environmental field tend to vary widely based on the sector in which they're found, with nonprofits and government positions usually paying less than those found in the private sector, average salaries for these professionals in New Jersey are impressive, nonetheless, with the BLS reporting an annual, average salary of $80,350 for environmental scientists and specialists and $85,360 for conservation scientists in 2018.
Master's in Environmental Science in New Jersey
It's no surprise that New Jersey's offerings in environmental science master's degrees are plentiful, and certainly no surprise that Rutgers, one of the state's biggest names in secondary education, leads the pack with their MS in Environmental Sciences. Earn your master's degree here and you'll enjoy opportunities to focus on specialties like environmental engineering, environmental chemistry, air pollution science and technology, and pollution prevention and control.
New Jersey Institute of Technology, not to be outdone by Rutgers, also offers an MS in Environmental Science, which comes complete with a customizable curriculum courtesy of a host of relevant classes like physical and chemical treatment, site remediation, scale of biodiversity, stormwater management, and sustainable politics and policy. Research efforts here are widespread, spanning everything from environmental microbiology to atmospheric and aerosol science to watershed management and planning.
Bachelor's in Environmental Science in New Jersey
For newbies to environmental science, New Jersey offers a nice selection of bachelor's degrees to get a career off the ground. For example, Montclair State University offers bachelor's degrees in Geography, Earth and Environmental Science, and Sustainability Science. The BS in Earth and Environmental Science here serves up a well-rounded curriculum that's complemented with contemporary electives like earth surface processes and hydrology, environmental quality and remediation, and geology & geophysics.
New Jersey City University also offers a BS in Earth and Environmental Sciences, which is taught by a thoughtfully chosen faculty with expertise and research interests in areas like GIS, medical geology, and groundwater/soil contaminants.
Online Environmental Science Degree Options from Schools in New Jersey
Online learning has become a trusted method of earning degrees for those with geographical limitations and professional obligations that prevent them from completing on-campus programs. Montclair State University offers one such program - the MS in Sustainability Science, which is delivered as a fully or partially online program that can be completed in an accelerated or part-time format.