Sustainability, at its core, is the pursuit of maintaining ecological and environmental balance. It’s considered part of the “green revolution,” but it’s also a career path. Many graduate students are enrolling in courses to earn their Master of Business Administration degrees in sustainability with one goal in mind: to put environmental and social effects before profits. According to PayScale, the average sustainability manager’s salary starts at $70,000, making it an attractive career choice for those who want to make a positive environmental impact.
Earning an MBA in sustainability is twofold. It provides students with important business foundations as well as specialty skills and knowledge in their chosen concentration. Students learn how to assess risk and to make sustainability a part of a business’s success, helping it to align with the needs of both the environment and a global society. Graduates with a sustainability MBA are skilled evaluators and implement policies on their organizations’ energy use, waste management and overall resource conservation.
Supervisors in this position also manage the organizations’ employees on sustainability ventures. Therefore, students who want a career in which they can grow and become managers and directors will benefit from this career path. The MBA degree gives them the skills to grow in the field, to become leaders in sustainability and to make a difference in how their organizations affect society and the environment.
What Can I Expect from an Online MBA in Sustainability?
The online MBA in sustainability provides the skills and knowledge needed to implement social and ecological business practices in today’s organizations. With many businesses going green, a career in sustainability opens doors in a variety of industries. The online degree program combines the traditional education of an on-campus program with the convenience of taking classes from home. Because no two degree programs are identical, it’s important to research and find the one that most suits your goals.
Concentrations Offered for an Online MBA in Sustainability
Some MBA in sustainability programs offer concentrations that focus on the environmental aspect of the degree. These programs are ideal for those following a specific career path.
|CONCENTRATION||DESCRIPTION||POTENTIAL CAREERS FOR THIS CONCENTRATION|
|Environmental Law||Ideal for the individual who eventually wants to complete a Juris Doctorate. It combines the disciplines of law, policy analysis, science and economics and involves current global problems like pollution and global climate change.||Environmental journalist, environmental lawyer, environmental professor, high school biology teacher and environmental scientist|
|Environmental Risk Management||Prepares professionals to identify environmental risks and address these issues.||Environmental coordinator, environmental manager, risk consultant, waste management coordinator and risk analyst|
Curriculum for an Online MBA in Sustainability
Courses for a graduate degree in business with a concentration in sustainability combine core business principals with a focus on the environment. While classes may vary depending on the school, there are several common core classes you might encounter.
|Business Ethics||Study proper business policies and practices regarding sensitive social issues, corporate governance, insider trading, discrimination and corporate social responsibility.|
|Sustainable Systems||Covers the advancing solutions for businesses that promote sustainability or a healthy environment.|
|Business Leadership||Focuses on what is necessary for leaders in business to succeed and to reach career goals while managing an organization.|
|Data Analysis||Examines data within an organization to make informed financial and production decisions.|
|Information Systems||Explores the different types of hardware and software that organizations use to collect, process and use collected data.|
How Long Does It Take to Get an Online MBA in Sustainability?
An online MBA in sustainability varies from 32 to 40 credit hours depending on the concentration and the university. An individual taking a full-time load can complete the coursework in approximately two years. It takes around five years when taking classes part-time, and those on a fast-track can complete the degree in 12 to 18 months.
Another factor that affects the time of completion is the method of delivery. Cohort classes group a set of students together who complete the degree on a rigid schedule. Self-paced programs let the student take classes on their own schedule.
Certifications and Licenses an Online MBA in Sustainability Prepares For
|Registered Environmental Manager||REM is a certification for professionals who are in charge of managing environmental health and safety projects. The certification requires at least five years of experience in an environmental position.|
|Certified Environmental Auditor||This specialty certification is for environmental compliance auditors who conduct risk audits of equipment and procedures. It is recognized by the U.S. Air Force.|
|ISSP Sustainability Associate||The International Society of Sustainability Professionals Sustainability Associate is for new graduates who work in sustainability or allied professionals, such as purchasing or human resources.|
|SSC Green Auditors Certification||This certification provides proof of the skills needed to help organizations go green.|
|Certified Environmental and Safety Compliance Officer||This certification is intended to identify professionals who are proficient in environmental laws and regulations.|
Accreditation for Online MBA in Sustainability
Accreditation is an important factor when choosing a graduate degree program. An MBA program may receive national or regional accreditation. Both types are based on industry standards and excellence; however, regional accreditation requires higher standards and is recognized as more favorable by employers. The Association of MBAs and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education are two accrediting agencies that evaluate business degrees. This accreditation may affect an individual’s ability to get certain jobs or to obtain financial aid.
Employment Outlook for MBA in Sustainability Graduates
Job Placement: Master’s v. Bachelor’s
In today’s competitive job market, a master’s degree can help you stand out over those with a bachelor’s degree. Some organizations understand the value of the degree and require even entry-level applicants to have one. Having a master’s increases your chances for advancement, especially if you are interested in upper-level management.
An online MBA in sustainability can open doors to both business and environmental science careers. Many occupations also offer premium salaries. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2013, those with a master’s degree earned $12,000 more per year than those with a bachelor’s.
Environmental careers can be found in nearly every industry. While many professionals gravitate to corporations or in the government sector, other establishments have a need for green goods and services.
|Industry Sector||Number of Established in 2009||Percent Distribution|
|Professional and Business Services||779,100||36.2%|
|Repair and Maintenance||183,300||8.5%|
|Natural Resources and Mining||88,700||4.1%|
|Trade, Transportation and Utilities||49,300||2.3%|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
A master’s degree in homeland security prepares you for the challenges of a demanding yet rewarding career path with above-average employment growth rates and high earning potential. Your advanced degree prepares you to work in numerous sectors, including government agencies, medical facilities, large corporations and private institutions. Some common career choices for master’s in homeland security graduates are outlined below.
|JOB TITLE||JOB DESCRIPTION||MEDIAN SALARY||PROJECTED GROWTH RATE|
|Operations Research Analyst||Operations research analysts help an organization locate issues and find ways to solve them.||$81,390 per year||27%|
|Management Analyst||Management analysts find ways to make a business more productive and use resources more efficiently.||$82,450 per year||14%|
|Logistician||Logisticians manage a company’s products from production to the consumer. This includes how the product is acquired and delivered.||$74,590 per year||7%|
|Market Research Analyst||Market analysts study individual markets to determine the potential success of a product or service.||$63,230 per year||23%|
|Sustainability Director||A sustainability director is responsible for evaluating a company’s profits, employees, ecological outlook and all factors that affect performance and success.||$69,400 per year||11%|
Professional organizations help individuals in their field become active in their industry. It can also give you a competitive advantage when applying for jobs.
NET Impact: NET Impact is a global network of professionals across the world working towards sustainability. The group hosts several conferences throughout the year and creates environmental challenges for its members.
Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals: CSCMP is a network of supply chain management professionals. It helps members advance their careers and keep up-to-date on industry changes and provides networking opportunities.
American Sustainable Business Council: Members join together to uphold the principals of a sustainable business. The council has several levels of membership for both individuals and businesses.
National Association for Environmental Management: NAEM empower leaders in environmental, health and safety careers to advance global sustainability. The organization holds webinars, conferences and offers educational opportunities.
Sustainability Management Association: The SMA offers certifications for managers and provides networking and continuing education opportunities.
Financing Your Online MBA in Sustainability
Online degree programs are usually cheaper than traditional on-campus programs, but it can still be tricky locating financial assistance. Start by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This gives you information on any grants, loans and scholarships you qualify for through the federal government. You can also find financial assistance through public and private organizations.