Jobs for a Sustainable Future These jobs have both a bright outlook and a huge impact on sustainability
Jobs for a Sustainable Future These jobs have both a bright outlook and a huge impact on sustainability

If your life goals involve saving the planet, consider a career that promotes sustainable development. Here’s a look at two jobs that have both a bright outlook and a huge impact on sustainability — plus the UW Professional & Continuing Education programs that can help you land one of these roles.   

Transportation Planner

Transportation planners evaluate a community’s short- and long-term transportation needs and develop transportation plans and programs.

According to O*NET, jobs for transportation planners, are projected to grow by 4% nationally and 8% in Washington over the next decade. “There are positions at all levels across the country, from the federal government to states to counties to cities to small towns, as well as with firms in the private sector,” says Ed McCormack, director of the Online Master of Sustainable Transportation degree program.

Transportation planners who focus on sustainability aim to promote alternatives to motorized travel and make communities more transit-friendly, among other goals. The impact of their work can be significant.

“Our society is dealing with concerns about climate change, human health, energy usage and resources and social equity and mobility,” McCormack says. “Sustainable transportation systems allow us to move people and goods more effectively and directly address societal concerns.” 

Interested in learning how to develop sustainable solutions to transportation challenges? Check out our UW Certificate in Sustainable Transportation: Planning & Livable Communities. For a more in-depth education, you can continue your studies with the Master of Sustainable Transportation.

GIS Analyst

GIS analysts use powerful spatial database technology called geographic information systems (GIS) to support the work of scientists, engineers, planners and other professionals. GIS allows you to gather, manipulate, analyze and apply data over specific geographic locations, making it indispensable for modeling the environmental impacts of human-driven activities.  

“Achieving sustainability requires the ability to analyze and understand the relationship of the land and the impacts of human activities,” says Harvey Arnone, an instructor for the UW Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

Arnone, who is also a GIS and CADD manager for the City of Seattle, says GIS gets a lot of use in urban planning. “We use GIS for virtually every aspect of our business, from managing property and utility assets to planning future growth and transportation needs,” said Arnone.   

The number of jobs for GIS analysts is expected to rise by 10% nationally and 30% in Washington in the next decade, promising lots of opportunities.

“Many of the students in the program have a passion for the natural environment and go on to find work for engineering firms, government agencies or nonprofits where they focus largely on environmental and sustainability issues,” saiys Arnone.

If you’d like to get into the GIS field, take a look at the UW Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Advancing Your Education

If you’re looking to further your career in a sustainability-related field, UW Professional & Continuing Education can help. Check out these relevant UW certificates and degrees.

For more career tips and industry trends, visit the News & Features section of our website, and subscribe to our email list. To learn more about UW Professional & Continuing Education certificates, specializations, degrees and courses, explore your options or contact us.

Author Rowena Clima

Rowena Clima

Rowena Clima is a marketing manager at the University of Washington Continuum College and enjoys writing about topics in education, marketing, business, science, technology and the environment. She has an MBA from the University of Washington and a bachelors in environmental thought & practice from the University of Virginia.

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