Career Trends for Jumbos: Sustainability Professionals

One career path that certainly overlaps with many industries and remains a popular career option for many Tufts graduates involves variety of jobs held by sustainability professionals who strive to make an impact on the operational practices of an organization, internally and externally, whether that organization is based in private industry, government, or within the non-profit industry.

Most recently, the Tufts Sustainability Council in 2022, updated its definition of sustainability to involve practices that are “meeting the needs of the present while enhancing the ability of future generations to meet their needs in a just and equitable manner.”

Furthermore, when one consults the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), an online career database (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor), you will find that internship and job opportunities in sustainability are on the rise.  Many of the job opportunities compromise a variety of roles that “address organizational sustainability issues, such as waste stream management, green building practices, and green procurement plans” just to name a few.

For students who are just beginning to explore possible career paths in sustainability, research the skills and interests of professionals who hold the following job titles might be a start :

  • Sustainability consultants help businesses improve their sustainability practices and efficiency.
  • Urban planners develop infrastructure that contribute to the growth and sustainability of urban, suburban and rural communities.
  • Environmental consultants help companies comply with regulations and increase efficiency.
  • Environmental journalists cover environmental issues to increase awareness and public knowledge.
  • Recycling directors develop and manage recycling programs in compliance with community ordinances.
  • Environmental policy analysts (ESG analyst) present recommendations to government agencies and nonprofits based on research.
  • Geographic information systems (GIS) specialists build and maintain databases of geographic information for city planning, transportation, geology and more.
  • Nature educators work with schools, nature reserves and nonprofits to grow awareness of environmental topics.

As illustrated in the variety of roles above, careers in sustainability, can be a viable option for students in ANY major, as many professional jobs utilize transferable skills that students gain in classes as well as the important “soft skills” that are built by participating in student organizations and off-campus internships such as communication, leadership and team-problem solving skills. In fact, by searching Tufts Alumni profiles on the HERD or LinkedIn, you may find a number of Tufts alumni working a variety of sustainability roles; and a good first step would be to search some of the job titles found above.

The following resources will support you in exploring this career path, and then as a next step, you might browse job postings in Handshake to explore related jobs and internships that can help to deepen your career knowledge.  Also, some students, may choose to go the next step and contact Tufts alumni working in sustainability roles in order to have a career conversation which can further help you clarify your career goals by asking questions about this popular career choice.

Next Step Resources 

By Malakia Silcott
Malakia Silcott Assistant Director