Energy and Environment Field Guide

Overview

Climate change, population, and economic growth pressures are creating complex energy and environmental problems that directly impact all aspects of human society. Challenges for today’s energy and environmental policy analysts include: controlling global climate change, considering environmental regulations in treaties and trade agreements, creating environmentally and economically sustainable development, and helping the private sector find ways to incorporate environmental concerns into business planning.

Career Opportunities

Employees in this industry are often monitoring environmental and regulatory compliance, integrating energy management services and assessing global impact, and advocating new approaches toward management, development and technology. Entry level positions in energy and environmental policy can be found in government, private industry, international organizations, research, non-profit and non-governmental organizations. Businesses and organizations seek qualified managers to work in compliance programs, to incorporate environmental concerns into business strategies, to improve performance by waste reduction and energy efficiency, and to develop sustainable strategies. Career-related activities within this field include policy and scientific research, education and advocacy, regulatory and legislative design, technical assistance to government agencies for planning and management, regulatory compliance and enforcement, and entrepreneurial development in both energy and environmental products and services.

Types of Jobs

  • Policy and scientific research
  • Education and advocacy
  • Regulatory and legislative design
  • Regulatory compliance and enforcement
  • Entrepreneurial development in products and services

Qualifications + Skills

  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Understanding of policy processes
  • Economics
  • Field-specific volunteer or internship experience
  • Functional expertise in areas such as: environmental science, engineering, etc.

PRO TIP: Generally, positions in the energy and environmental sustainability fields require some form of technical experience. Look for internships with energy or sustainable development firms that can provide exposure to common terminology and technologies used in the field.

Sample Employers

  • Private Sector Firms: AES, DNV GL, Duke Energy, Evolution Markets, ExxonMobil, Global Energy Security Analysis, Nexant Energy Consulting, PA Consulting, PACE Global Energy Services, Shell
  • Research and Nonprofits: Alliance to Save Energy, American Gas Association, American Wind Energy Association, Business Council for Sustainable Energy, Conservation International, Edison Electric Institute, Friends of the Earth, International Institute for Sustainable Development, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund
  • Government: Bureau of Land Management, Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of State, Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, House Committee on Energy and Commerce, House Committee on Resources, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, State Utility Commissions
  • International Organizations: European Union, North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, United Nations Development Programme, World Bank Group, World Trade Organization

Sample Maxwell Classes

  • Energy, Environment and Resources Policy
  • Economics of Environmental Policy
  • Science Technology and Public Policy
  • Public Administration and Law
  • Climate Change: Science, Perception & Policy
  • Regulatory Law and Policy
  • Related courses also available through SUNY ESF and SU Law

Resources

  • EnvironmentalCareer.com
  • Environmental Careers Organization
  • European Commission on Energy Research
  • U.S. Government Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
  • UNDP Energy for Sustainable Development

Related Career Guides

  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Economic Development
  • International Finance
>> Download a printable, PDF version of the Energy and Environment Career Field Guide.