When you graduate with a degree from NRES, you are prepared to make a real difference as an environmental professional with a solid foundation in scientific principles, hands-on experience, and the ability to work effectively with the public. Our graduates work for a variety of sectors, including Fortune 500 companies, consulting firms, government agencies, research institutions, non-profits, and more.
Your career could be primarily based in the outdoors, in an office, a laboratory, or a combination of these - the possibilities are endless!
Not sure what direction is best for you? We offer a career exploration course as well as multiple career counselors and faculty advisors to help you hone your passions. Most of our graduates start their careers immediately after graduation, and about 30% go on to pursue advanced degrees.
Check out some examples of the jobs our graduates have landed below.
Examples of Job Titles
- Conservation biologist
- Conservation officer
- Environmental attorney
- Environmental consultant
- Environmental ecologist
- Environmental engineer
- Environmental protection specialist
- Fisheries specialist
- GIS/GPS Technician
- Health inspector
- Hydrologic technician
- Industrial hygienist
- Landscape architect
- Park Ranger
- Plant Physiologist
- Soil Conservationist
- Wildlife Manager
When it comes to finding a job, we have many resources available to students to ensure they are prepared for the job application process.
Campus Centers and Services
The University of Illinois Career Center offers a full range of programs, services, resources and counseling to assist all students and alumni of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, regardless of academic affiliation. The Career Center also runs the job posting platform Handshake @ Illinois, which can alert students when jobs pertaining to their field are posted.
ACES students can also take advantage of the College of ACES Career Services, which offers job search skills development as well as access to on-campus internship and full-time job interviews with companies recruiting on-campus. Career Services can also aid students applying to graduate programs.
In addition to the College of ACES Career Services, the University of Illinois also offers additional career services. You can learn about specific college offices, career readiness competencies, and how to articulate your experiences into valuable resume building content. For more information visit careerservices.illinois.edu.
Students in NRES can also have certain departmental resources available to them:
- The NRES Career Information Blog which is updated regularly with job and internship postings. We recommend students subscribe to the blog when job hunting to be sure they don’t miss a posting.
- NRES 108: Environmental Science and Natural Resource Careers is recommended for students as soon as they can fit it into their schedule. NRES students who have taken this class as seniors always talk about how helpful it was and how much they wish they had taken it earlier.
- The NRES @ Illinois group on LinkedIn is also an excellent resource to learn about potential careers and ask alumni career-related questions.
- Our IllinoisNRES Twitter account regularly posts news, jobs, and internship opportunities.
We also recommend looking into the following professional organizations to grow your network:
- Environmental Law Institute
- Ecological Society of America
- International Environmental Communication Association
- International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council
- North American Association for Environmental Education
- National Association of Environmental Professionals
- Society for Ecological Restoration International
- Society of Wetland Scientists
- Soil Science Society of America
- The Wildlife Society
Many careers in NRES-related fields have certification programs that enhance your credentials and impress employers. Many require a certain amount of post-education experience and continuing professional development.
While you will not be able to attain many of these certifications with just your NRES coursework, you can choose coursework during your degree program that will provide you with the background you need to pursue certification after you have gained the necessary experience.
You can find certification requirements for many professions linked below:
- Certified Environmental Professional In Training (CERT-IT)
- Certified Lake Manager (CLM)/Professional (CLP)
- Certified Professional Soil Scientist/Classifier
- Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator
- Energy Manager in Training (EMIT)
- Environmental Professional Intern Credential
- Qualified Environmental Professional
- Certified Interpretive Guide
- The Wildlife Society offers several certifications