How Do You Become an Environmental Policy Advocate?

Environmental Policy AdvocateThere is no set academic and career path to become an environmental policy advocate. This is because environmental advocacy is not a common degree program. However, many colleges do offer select classes related to environmentalism or similar programs under different names, such as environmental activism, leadership or organization.

Obtain a Bachelor’s Degree

Any student who wants to become an environmental policy advocate should start by obtaining a bachelor’s degree related to the environment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There are many possible academic choices related to the natural sciences, such as biology and geology, and the environmental sciences, such as ecology and oceanology. Studying a general degree is actually beneficial for students because environmental policy advocates will need a broad background in science. In addition to this, students should be sure to study math, statistics, data analysis, computer modeling and geographic information systems. Most environmental-based degrees offer internships and training programs that help students gain valuable employment experience.

Cultivate the Right Skills

During and after college, prospective environmental policy advocates should hone certain skills that will benefit their career prospects. First, they should embrace community building and grass roots activism through joining professional organizations and coalition-building environmental groups. Environmental policy advocates must have strong persuasion and leadership skills. They should have excellent public speaking and meeting skills. Students should be capable of articulately expressing themselves through various communication formats, such as through debate panels or social media platforms. They must also know how to prepare an interesting meeting, reach a congenial consensus and empower others through engagement. Knowing how to effectively negotiate and resolve conflicts will help them throughout their career. Environmental policy advocates should be sensitive and respectful of different opinions, but also assertive with science-based facts and theories.

Gain the Right Experience

Any job or position that helps to improve the world may contribute positive and useful experiences. During school, students should consider volunteering as a student group leader or event organizer. There are endless volunteer opportunities with political and environmental organizations. These groups provide great networking prospects and demonstrate the student’s commitment to the environment. Many national wide environmental advocacy groups offer unpaid and paid internships. Attending political hearings, community outreach events and even observing protests will provide irreplaceable experience.

Obtain Additional Academic and Employment Experience

Although a master’s degree isn’t required, students with a general bachelor’s degree in environmental science should at least obtain a environmental policy certificate or complete select graduate level coursework. Ideal classes will cover corporate globalization, coalition-building and social and grassroots movements. Students should consider taking a specific business course related sustainability management. Most importantly, students must formally study current and emerging environmental laws and policies. As students expand their academic knowledge, they can start their career as a program assistant, campaign supervisor, field representative or outreach coordinator.

Related Resource: Climate Change Research

In the end, graduates will enjoy a certain level of flexibility and independence because there are many jobs that lead to becoming an environmental policy advocate. With the right education and experience, students will become an environmental policy advocate.