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Earning an Environmental Science Degree in Texas

Even environmental efforts are bigger in Texas. Just a few of this state's success stories include a reduction in ozone levels by 29 percent between 2000 and 2014…a reduction in nitrogen oxides from industrial sources by 63 percent between 2000 and 2013…and the creation, protection, and restoration of more than 7,500 acres of coastal habitat in Galveston Bay.

From its hurricane-vulnerable position on the country's Gulf Coast to the environmental challenges associated with a flourishing gas and oil industry to rising sea waters due to climate change that threaten its shores, the environmental problems here are complex. One such challenge includes the lasting effects of 2017's Category 4 Hurricane Harvey. As a result of this storm's surge, floodwaters containing chemicals, sewage, and other contaminants entered the state's drinking water, posing an immediate and long-lasting risk to public health.

Studying and finding solutions to these types of significant environmental issues is the mission of Texas' environmental scientists, whose work is valued in the private, nonprofit, and governmental sectors. Get a solid education under your belt and you'll be ready to work as part of a team of trusted professionals who are dedicated to the protection and reclamation of Texas' natural resources.

What Can I Do with an Environmental Science Degree in Texas

As the state's leader in environmental management, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is the governmental agency charged with improving and preserving air and water quality through monitoring, restoration efforts, and permitting. Environmental scientists are an important part of this agency, which maintains and analyzes data related to industrial emissions, chemical storage, pollution prevention, waste, wastewater management, and public water systems.

Texas is home to a variety of nonprofit organizations that advocate sustainability through programs and initiatives. For example, Texas Campaign for the Environment in Austin is one of state's largest advocacy groups that spreads the word about environmental protection through grassroots efforts. The Citizens' Environmental Council in Houston is another notable group that enhances the environmental efforts of citizens, community leaders, and more than 100 environmental groups.

Private consulting is a large employer of environmental scientists in Texas. These companies help business, industry, and government ensure environmental compliance to avoid risk of fines, legal action, and sanctions. Just a few of these firms in Texas include SWCA Environmental Consulting in Houston, Baer Engineering & Environmental Consulting in Austin, and Crouch Environmental Services in Houston.

Salary potential will depend on your education, experience and, often times, the industry in which you work, but 2020 BLS statistics reveal impressive salaries for environmental scientists in Texas. During this time, the annual, average salary for environmental scientists and specialists was $84,090. Hydrologists earned a similar salary, at $85,260, while geoscientists in Texas earned the most, at $166,720.

2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures and job growth projections for Environmental Scientists and Specialists, Geoscientists, Except Hydrologists and Geographers, and Hydrologists reflect state data not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed September 2021.

Master's in Environmental Science in Texas

Master's degrees are a typical pursuit of environmental scientists in Texas and are valued by employers. A master's degree in environmental science is your opportunity to refine your skills and perfect your craft. Fortunately, you'll find these degrees to be plentiful in Texas.

For example, just a few of the graduate offerings at public institutions include the University of Texas at San Antonio's MS in Environmental Science, Tarleton State University's MS in Environmental Science, the University of North Texas' MS in Environmental Science, and West Texas A&M's MS in Environmental Sciences. You can expect a host of perks as a student of these major universities, including outstanding research and field experience opportunities, faculty members with a variety of research interests and practical experience, and superb academic support services.

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Bachelor's in Environmental Science in Texas

Undergraduate study in environmental science is the ideal foundation to entry-level work in this field and is an excellent predecessor to future graduate study.

There's a variety of impressive bachelor's degrees in environmental science in Texas, such as the University of Houston's BS in Environmental Science, which is housed in the university's esteemed Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. This is a place where research programs in areas like sedimentology, structural geology, geodynamics, and marine geology are plentiful and where exciting field experiences like the summer field camps at the Yellow-Bighorn Research Association field station in Montana result in a truly well-rounded, hands-on course of study.

Just a few of the other excellent bachelor's programs offered through state universities include the University of Texas at Austin's BS in Environmental Science, the University of Texas at San Antonio's BS in Environmental Science, and the BS in Environmental Science at Tarleton State University.

Online Environmental Science Degree Options from Schools in Texas

Online degree programs provide today's learners with a convenient and flexible alternative to on-campus study. Thanks to the growth of the environmental science field, online programs in this area of study are also plentiful.

In Texas, you'll be able to earn your graduate degree entirely online through the University of Houston's online MS in Environmental Science, which offers the same outstanding course of study you'd expect from the university's on-campus programs, including a distinguished, internationally recognized faculty and your choice of relevant specializations in areas like toxicology, hydrology, hazardous waste, and wetland ecology.

Texas Tech University's Master of Plant & Soil Science is another top program in Texas that's offered entirely online. Choose this graduate course of study and you'll be able to specialize your degree in crop science, soil science, crop protection, or fibers and biopolymers.