UHCL graduates in Environmental Science have a very high placement rate and are employed by consulting firms, private utilities and energy firms, environmental and conservation agencies, non-profits and local, state, and federal agencies. Depending on the specializations, graduates of environmental science have numerous career options, such as environmental scientist, environmental specialist, environmental biologist, environmental chemist, environmental geologist, industrial hygienist, safety specialist/officer, and environmental health and safety specialist.
There has been a steady and high demand for graduates in environmental science. According to U.S. Department of Labor, the employment of environmental scientists is expected to grow much faster than the average for all other occupations. It was reported that job prospects are expected to be favorable; employment of environmental scientists is expected to increase by 25 percent between 2006 and 2016, much faster than the average for all occupations. Job growth for environmental scientists should be strongest in private-sector consulting firms. Growth in employment of environmental scientists will be spurred largely by the increasing demands placed on the environment and water resources by population growth. Further demand should result from the need to comply with complex and evolving environmental laws and regulations, particularly those regarding ground-water decontamination, clean air, and flood control.
The Houston Galveston area and State of Texas employs a large number of environmental professionals. This trend is expected to increase in future years due to the increasing number of environmental issues and expected population growth. For example, a recent query of environmental job listings in a regional job bank (http://houston.jobs.topusajobs.com) indicated that there are over 369 environmental industry-related jobs listings currently in Houston that require professionals in this field. Another service (http://www.ehscareers.com) listed 79 positions available in Texas and 531 jobs nationwide. Due to the fact that Houston serves as the petrochemical capital of the U.S., future opportunities for environmental professionals in these industries will continue to increase.
Students in environmental science have a variety of learning opportunities including lectures in small classroom settings, hands-on labs, and field trips. The School of Science and Computer Engineering has excellent computing resources and maintains comprehensive and state-of-the-art laboratories for environmental biology, environmental toxicology, aquatic science, environmental chemistry, analytical instrumentations, environmental geology, and industrial hygiene. Our chemical analysis instrumentations include inductively coupled plasma, gas chromatography with electron capture detector, gas chromatography with flame ionization detector, high performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detector and UV detector, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, ion chromatography, liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, high speed ultra centrifuge, Fourier Transformed Infrared spectrometer, UV-VIS spectrometer, and total organic carbon analyzer. Field equipment used for research includes chemical, biological and hydrological monitoring equipment and GPS instrumentation.
Students in environmental science can also participate in a variety of projects, including independent studies, internship, and co-ops under the supervision of faculty advisors and/or our partnership in the local area. We have strong ties with local and regional environmental agencies, organizations and industries including NASA, NOAA, EPA, TCEQ, TPWD, GLO, Galveston Bay Estuary Program, USCOE, and the USFWS. Many faculty serve on agency science advisory boards, and many agency scientists from these organizations have served as adjunct faculty and guest speakers. Strong collaborations exist between our researchers and scientists within these organizations.
Since our campus is located adjacent to Galveston Bay and the northern Gulf of Mexico, our faculty can participate and conduct important research in these locales. Galveston Bay is considered a national estuary and consequently targeted federal funds are provided to TCEQ to fund research in Galveston Bay. Similar programs exist in other federal agencies. Due to the ozone non-attainment status in Harris and Galveston Counties, federal and state funds are often provided to conduct research pertaining to these topic areas.
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