What Do Postsecondary Environmental Science Teachers Do?
Environmental science teachers in a postsecondary setting teach courses in environmental science in undergraduate and postgraduate academic settings. Depending on the specific job situation, you may be spending most or all of your time teaching, or splitting your time between teaching and conducting research. Growth in this career area is steady but not spectacular, with 180 job openings per year. As environmental concerns continue to grow, there is corresponding demand for teaching and research in this field.
Environmental Science Teachers, Postsecondary, Skills and Abilities
As an environmental science teacher in a college or university setting, you will need to have a strong background in environmental sciences, including related fields such as geography, chemistry and biology. In order to teach effectively, you should also have excellent communication skills, as well as the ability to organize and present information clearly. Organizational skills are an important asset in a field where lectures and assignments need to be planned out and a curriculum must be designed. As you will be teaching adults, you will have to face the challenge of creating coursework that is clear and accessible while continuing to challenge your students and offering them an appropriate balance of support and independent work.
Environmental Science Teachers, Postsecondary, Duties
Most environmental science teachers in a postsecondary setting divide their time between teaching and research, in varying proportions. In terms of teaching, your responsibilities will involve designing a curriculum, preparing course materials and evaluating assignments, tests and lab work done by your students. You will also be required to keep regular office hours to provide assistance and support to students. As a researcher, you will need to research and publish findings in professional publications. You will also be expected to regularly update yourself on developments in your field. Some other requirements you are likely to face include:
- Initiating and moderating classroom discussion
- Supervising your graduate or undergraduate students in research, teaching, or internships
- Provide students with advice on their academic and vocational goals
- Write and submit grant proposals to obtain outside research funding
- Serve on academic committees dealing with policies, departmental issues and academic questions
- Perform administrative duties in your department
- Review papers for scientific publications
Environmental Science Teachers, Postsecondary, Tools and Technology
As a researcher and lab research supervisor for others, you will use tools such as atomic absorption AA spectrometers and various types of water analyzers. In your teaching capacity, you will need to use microphones, televisions and interactive whiteboard controllers to optimize classroom presentation. In the field, you will be using and teaching the use of field data collectors to obtain samples and environmental information. Course management software can help you in designing and organizing your courses, assignments and grades. Information retrieval and search software is valuable for scientists working with data sets.
Education and Training for Environmental Science Teachers, Postsecondary
In order to teach environmental science at a postsecondary level, a doctoral or professional degree is required. A background in environmental science or environmental chemistry is necessary, as is education training, which can be specifically for science teachers or may consist of general teacher education.
Environmental Science Teachers, Postsecondary, Salary
This is a field that pays quite well, with a median salary of $77,500. At the lowest end, salaries begin at $42,100, with the potential to climb as high at $144,100.
Environmental Science Teachers, Postsecondary, Jobs by Geography
The highest median wages for environmental science teachers are available in the states of Michigan, Washington and Utah. The greatest growth in this field is predicted for Georgia, Arkansas and Colorado, while the greatest amount of jobs exists in New York, Maryland and Arizona. Consider these facts, together with work environment, institutional size and teaching-research balance when deciding which areas would be best to look for an environmental science teacher position.