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Industry: Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences

Careers in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences offer opportunities in a variety of environments including government agencies (local, state, and federal), laboratories, farms, forests, nature/wildlife centers, and more. Careers include a variety of sub-industries such as natural resource management, conservation, geography/sustainability, and more. People interested in this cluster of careers often enjoy studying the physical components of Earth, how humans interact with the environment, fieldwork to protect the environment, advocating for our naturals resources, or preventing environmental disasters. Skills used in this area include, but are not limited to: problem solving skills, written and verbal communication, and technical skills needed in the industry. We invite you to explore this cluster to determine if it is a good fit for you and leverage our resources to launch your job, internship, or graduate school search.

Make an Appointment with a Career Coach

  • Log into your MyUTK account.
  • Select “Academic Support” from the options at the top of the screen and select “Vol Connect” from the dropdown menu.
  • This will take you to the Vol Connect student portal.
  • Click “Connect” from the options at the top of the screen and select “Schedule Appointments” from the dropdown menu.
  • Click the blue “Schedule an Appointment” button.
  • Select the “Teams” tab.
  • Select the Center for Career Development and Academic Exploration.
  • Select the topic (Career Coaching) and subtopic. 
  • Select the preferred date, time, staff member, and modality.
  • Indicate what you would like to discuss during your appointment in the comment box.
  • To confirm the appointment, click “Schedule ___ Appointment.” Your appointment will NOT be saved until you click this button.
  • Please call 865-974-5435 if you have problems scheduling your appointment online.


Example Career Paths and Job Titles 

Climate Change Analyst City Planner Ecologist Environmental Analyst Environmental Consultant Environmental Scientist/Technician Environmental Compliance Officer Geoscientist GIS Analyst/Technician Land Surveying Technician Occupational Health and Safety Manager Outdoor Recreation Instructor Park Ranger Physical Scientist Remote Sensing Analyst Zoning Specialist
Conservation Officer Conservationist GIS Analyst/Technician Restoration Specialist Sustainability Analyst Sustainability Representative
Biological Technician Crop Advisor Entomologist Florist Horticulturist Plant Biologist Plant Scientist Seed Production Technician Soil Scientist Water Treatment Technician Waste Management Specialist
Arborist Geologist Fisheries Technician Forester Rangeland Management Specialist Stormwater Quality Specialist Utility Forester Watershed Coordinator Wildland Firefighter Wildlife Biologist Wildlife Officer

Career Resources

Below are a few platforms you can use to explore and learn more about Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences:

Please consider viewing other industry clusters pages besides Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences as there can be overlap, especially if you are interested in the business aspects or science/research aspects of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences.

Student Organizations You can view a list of student organizations related to Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences on VolLink or by going to the Student Organization website for the Herbert College of Agriculture. Below are a few examples of some student organizations:

  • American Society of American and Biological Engineers
  • Crop, Soil, & Environmental Science Club
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences Student Association (GeoClub)
  • EcoVols
  • Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS)
  • Plant Sciences Club
  • Students Promoting Environmental Action in Knoxville (SPEAK)
  • Society of American Foresters
  • UT Alliance for Geographers and Sustainers
  • UT Compost Coalition
  • Wildlife and Fisheries Society
  • Wildlife Disease Club

Research Research is another experience that can be helpful in exploring careers and gaining relevant experience. If you are considering a Masters or PhD, gaining research experience is very important (possibly even critical) for graduate school admissions. Explore the following resources for ideas on how and where to get started.

For specific research opportunities, students are encouraged to reach out to faculty directly by browsing the department websites to learn about research areas and sending a direct email to the faculty member. Students should make sure their email is professional and may want to consider attaching a resume.

There are numerous opportunities to volunteer within the Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences industry. We recommend researching organizations of interests and following them on social media or signing up for newsletters to find more volunteer opportunities. Below are a few highlighted resources:

Professional Organizations can be helpful in exploring more about certain sub-industries within Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, finding job opportunities, and connecting with professionals in your area of interest. Many have their own job search boards along with a way to sign up for job alerts. You can view a list of Professional Organizations associated with your area/major on What Can I Do With This Major. Below are a few examples of some professional organizations:

Graduate School Application Resources Many graduate school resources can be found on our Prepare for Graduate School website, including deciding on graduate school, resumes, letters of recommendation, and admissions essays/personal statements. Graduate School Applications take time and will require roughly 6-9 months of preparation. The key to applying to a graduate program within Natural Resources and Environmental Services will be exploring each school and program’s process for obtaining a faculty mentor. You will likely need to research faculty associated with the program of interests and contact them to inquire about research opportunities and faculty mentorship. Below are some links you may find helpful:

Jobs on Handshake: Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences