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An accel­er­at­ed envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence degree can be a great choice for a work­ing adult who wants a career change or boost. Whether you’ve start­ed work­ing with an associate’s degree or cer­tifi­cate, or you need an online pro­gram that gets you out the door and onto the job mar­ket faster, there are options for you.

So in real­i­ty, how long does it take to get an envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence degree? It real­ly depends on where you start. A full bachelor’s degree is gen­er­al­ly four years, of course. But if you’ve already got an associate’s degree, there are many degree com­ple­tion pro­grams online that can allow you to fin­ish the bachelor’s in as lit­tle as a year. Oth­er online pro­grams use accel­er­at­ed cours­es, as short as 5–8 weeks, to help speed you along. Mul­ti­ple start dates, and con­tin­u­ous onboard­ing, means that for many online pro­grams you get rid of the lag time of sum­mer and win­ter to fin­ish faster.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Accelerated Environmental Science Degree Programs

Speed is impor­tant, but so is qual­i­ty, so the edi­tors at Bachelor’s Degree Cen­ter fea­ture legit­i­mate, accred­it­ed schools. These pro­grams are ranked accord­ing to cur­rent IPEDS and Niche data, includ­ing cost, poten­tial salary, and stu­dent satisfaction.

1. Bellevue University

Belle­vue Uni­ver­si­ty offers the best accel­er­at­ed envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence degree for stu­dents who are inter­est­ed in learn­ing online. The uni­ver­si­ty allows stu­dents to trans­fer many of their cred­its from oth­er eli­gi­ble schools and pro­vides them with a degree that can be com­plet­ed in much less time than sim­i­lar degrees from oth­er uni­ver­si­ties. With a Sus­tain­abil­i­ty BS that is earned online, stu­dents have the best of both worlds and are able to work while they attend school.

Belle­vue Uni­ver­si­ty has been around for over 25 years and offers val­ued, accel­er­at­ed degree pro­grams that stu­dents can earn either online or on cam­pus. In addi­tion to offer­ing accel­er­at­ed pro­grams that can be com­plet­ed much soon­er than sim­i­lar pro­grams, the uni­ver­si­ty makes sure that each degree is as afford­able as pos­si­ble. Stu­dents can also rely on fac­ul­ty mem­bers to have the expe­ri­ence and skills they need to be effec­tive educators.

What We Like: Every stu­dent grad­u­ates know­ing they have what they need to be effec­tive at what­ev­er job they choose.

Degree: Sus­tain­abil­i­ty Man­age­ment BS

Belle­vue University

2. American Public University

Amer­i­can Pub­lic Uni­ver­si­ty pro­vides stu­dents with an accel­er­at­ed envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence degree they can rely on if they plan to be suc­cess­ful. With this degree, stu­dents can have up to 82% trans­fer cred­it. Stu­dents are capa­ble of explor­ing all of the career options that are avail­able with an envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence degree. With an online Envi­ron­men­tal Sci­ence BS, stu­dents are capa­ble of find­ing a job while they are still in school and gain­ing valu­able expe­ri­ence long before they graduate.

Amer­i­can Pub­lic Uni­ver­si­ty is well-known for pro­vid­ing the high­est qual­i­ty online degree pro­grams at afford­able prices. The online learn­ing plat­form makes it easy for stu­dents to access many of the uni­ver­si­ty’s resources with­out ever leav­ing their homes. The uni­ver­si­ty also takes pride in hav­ing many award-win­ning fac­ul­ty mem­bers on staff.

What We Like: By enrolling at the uni­ver­si­ty, stu­dents are able to explore numer­ous career oppor­tu­ni­ties before they ever graduate.

Degree: Envi­ron­men­tal Sci­ence BS

Amer­i­can Pub­lic University

3. University of Maryland Global Campus

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land Glob­al Cam­pus offers an accel­er­at­ed envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence degree pro­gram that can be tak­en in the cam­pus or online. No mat­ter which direc­tion they choose, the accel­er­at­ed pro­gram offers con­densed les­son plans that allow stu­dents to pur­sue a degree that will give them all of the nec­es­sary skills they will need to work in most envi­ron­men­tal­ly-based careers. With an online BS in Envi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment, they will be able to take on large projects and suc­ceed at see­ing them through to completion.

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land Glob­al Cam­pus offers top-of-the-line degree pro­grams with advanced tech­no­log­i­cal resources. Accel­er­at­ed pro­grams allow stu­dents to com­plete their degree pro­grams in less than 18 months and move on to the next phase of their career. Every fac­ul­ty mem­ber employed by the school is suc­cess­ful in their own right and capa­ble of pro­vid­ing stu­dents with a unique perspective.

What We Like: Stu­dents can expect to achieve great things by earn­ing their online degrees online from this university.

Degree: Envi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment BS

Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land Glob­al Campus

4. Virginia Wesleyan University

Vir­ginia Wes­leyan Uni­ver­si­ty offers many of the best accel­er­at­ed envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence degree pro­grams avail­able to stu­dents who want to attend school online while they work. With this accel­er­at­ed degree pro­gram, the stu­dent can com­plete their course­work and grad­u­ate in less than 12 months. Most Bach­e­lors of Arts degree pro­grams takes 18 months to two years to com­plete. By enrolling online for their BA in Envi­ron­men­tal Stud­ies, they have the option to take a course load that is con­densed into few­er lessons so they can fin­ish much faster and begin tak­ing on more respon­si­bil­i­ties at work.

Vir­ginia Wes­leyan Uni­ver­si­ty has a rep­u­ta­tion for offer­ing qual­i­ty degree pro­grams in the class­room. Now, they offer those same qual­i­ty degree pro­grams online for stu­dents who can’t afford to leave work to attend school. Fac­ul­ty mem­bers offer their full sup­port and give stu­dents every­thing they need to increase their earn­ing poten­tial and cre­ate a sol­id career path.

What We Like: Even before they grad­u­ate, they will begin to explore new oppor­tu­ni­ties and work through every challenge.

Degree: Envi­ron­men­tal Stud­ies BA

Vir­ginia Wes­leyan University

5. Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon Uni­ver­si­ty’s Envi­ron­men­tal Sci­ence BS gives stu­dents a chance to earn an accel­er­at­ed envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence degree online so they are able to take full advan­tage of every job-relat­ed oppor­tu­ni­ty. The uni­ver­si­ty allows stu­dents to trans­fer up to 90 cred­its, giv­ing them a chance to com­plete their degree in a time­ly fash­ion. By learn­ing online, they can begin to use their new skills almost imme­di­ate­ly. Many stu­dents who choose an online BS in envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence are already employed and tak­ing care of their fam­i­lies. The only way to go to school and con­tin­ue to work is through using an online learn­ing platform.

As a well-known Chris­t­ian school, Grand Canyon Uni­ver­si­ty is sought after by stu­dents who val­ue an edu­ca­tion that is based on their faith and reli­gious val­ues. By enrolling in the uni­ver­si­ty’s online pro­grams, stu­dents get the best of both worlds and a cur­ricu­lum that can be com­plet­ed in much less time than a tra­di­tion­al degree program.

What We Like: Stu­dents can turn to the expe­ri­enced fac­ul­ty for both guid­ance and advice as they begin to take on new chal­lenges and opportunities.

Degree: Envi­ron­men­tal Sci­ence BS

Grand Canyon University

6. Maryville University

Maryville Uni­ver­si­ty offers online accel­er­at­ed envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence degree pro­grams to stu­dents who want to trans­fer into the pro­gram. The school is trans­fer-friend­ly, which means stu­dents may be able to trans­fer the bulk of their exist­ing cred­its to their new pro­gram. This means that they will grad­u­ate much faster, using an afford­able online BS in Sus­tain­abil­i­ty degree pro­gram. They can begin to look for work long before they grad­u­ate, allow­ing them to start their career much sooner.

Maryville Uni­ver­si­ty has won numer­ous awards for both core col­lege val­ues and advanced aca­d­e­m­ic cur­ricu­lums. Fac­ul­ty and staff are both expe­ri­enced and pro­fes­sion­al, giv­ing stu­dents a chance to learn their lessons from a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive. With the advanced online learn­ing plat­form, stu­dents are able to learn when­ev­er it is most con­ve­nient for them.

What We Like: Flex­i­ble sched­ules mean more com­pre­hen­sion and less wast­ed time dri­ving to and from the campus.

Degree: Sus­tain­abil­i­ty BS

Maryville Uni­ver­si­ty

7. Columbia Southern University

Colum­bia South­ern Uni­ver­si­ty offers an online accel­er­at­ed envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence degree pro­gram that pro­vides tech­ni­cal skills as well as man­age­r­i­al abil­i­ties for stu­dents who are already employed in their cho­sen career field. The uni­ver­si­ty allows stu­dents to trans­fer 90 cred­its from their old degree pro­gram, mak­ing it pos­si­ble for them to grad­u­ate much soon­er and begin to apply what they are learn­ing. Online degree pro­grams offer the same qual­i­ty edu­ca­tion as those taught on cam­pus, giv­ing stu­dents every advan­tage possible.

Colum­bia South­ern Uni­ver­si­ty offers online pro­grams that are sec­ond to none when it comes to being flex­i­ble and afford­able. Accel­er­at­ed degree pro­grams can be com­plet­ed in 18 months or less and when it is most con­ve­nient for the student.

What We Like: Flex­i­bil­i­ty is key with online pro­grams. Stu­dents can study from any­where and at any time. They are able to work or care for their fam­i­lies and study when they are best able to absorb the con­tent being presented.

Degree: Envi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment BS

Colum­bia South­ern University

8. Southern New Hampshire University

South­ern New Hamp­shire Uni­ver­si­ty offers online accel­er­at­ed envi­ron­men­tal sci­ences degree pro­grams for stu­dents with a desire to work with our nat­ur­al resources. The accel­er­at­ed degree pro­gram can be com­plet­ed in approx­i­mate­ly 18 to 24 months, depend­ing on which degree is cho­sen. Stu­dents have the option to trans­fer up to 90 cred­its from oth­er schools if they are eli­gi­ble. With an online envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence BS, stu­dents can work on their degree with­out leav­ing their job or vis­it­ing the campus.

South­ern New Hamp­shire is one of the most respect­ed uni­ver­si­ties in the coun­try when it comes to online learn­ing and advanced degree pro­grams. Stu­dents are giv­en every advan­tage and allowed to work accord­ing to a flex­i­ble sched­ule. With the assis­tance of their pro­fes­sors, they are able to earn their degrees and take on new chal­lenges that will allow them to succeed.

What We Like: Almost all of their degree pro­grams are avail­able over an online learn­ing plat­form, mak­ing them both con­ve­nient and affordable.

Degree: Envi­ron­men­tal Sci­ence BS

South­ern New Hamp­shire University

9. Unity College

Uni­ty Col­lege offers the best online accel­er­at­ed envi­ron­men­tal sci­ences degree pro­grams in the New Eng­land area. Accel­er­at­ed online degrees offer both con­ve­nience and effi­cien­cy. Stu­dents are able to learn in an envi­ron­ment where they are most com­fort­able and have the flex­i­bil­i­ty to con­tin­ue work­ing in the process. They also have the advan­tage of learn­ing more in a short­er amount of time. This allows them to use what they are learn­ing in their online BS in envi­ron­men­tal stud­ies while they are on the job.

Uni­ty Col­lege has gone to great lengths to ensure that its degree pro­grams are aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly sound and able to give stu­dents all of the tools they will need to suc­ceed. The col­lege accepts up to 90 trans­fer cred­its to ensure that each stu­dent is capa­ble of earn­ing the degree they want.

What We Like: The advanced online learn­ing plat­form and valu­able resources make it pos­si­ble for the stu­dent to move for­ward with their careers before they receive their diploma.

Degree: Envi­ron­men­tal Stud­ies BS

Uni­ty College

10. Everglades University

Ever­glades Uni­ver­si­ty is able to pro­vide stu­dents with an online accel­er­at­ed envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence degree they can use to explore employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties in the envi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment field. Stu­dents are able to learn valu­able skills they will be able to use both in the office and out in the field. With an online BS in envi­ron­men­tal man­age­ment, each stu­dent has the abil­i­ty to pur­sue employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties at the high­est lev­el and enjoy the rewards that come with those positions.

Ever­glades Uni­ver­si­ty is one of Flori­da’s top online schools. Every degree pro­gram they offer meets or exceeds the lev­el of aca­d­e­m­ic excel­lence that is expect­ed from a top-tier school. Fac­ul­ty mem­bers work dili­gent­ly to ensure each stu­dent has every­thing they need to suc­ceed both in their careers as well as life in general.

What We Like: No stone is left unturned when it comes to help­ing stu­dents meet and over­come their challenges.

Degree: Envi­ron­men­tal Man­age­ment BS Online

Ever­glades University

What If I Already Have a Bachelor’s Degree?

If you already have a bachelor’s in a relat­ed field and want to move into a dif­fer­ent envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence career, a cer­tifi­cate pro­gram might be your best option. There are a lot of advan­tages to using an envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence cer­tifi­cate or an online envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence cer­tifi­cate pro­gram to get that extra career lift. Cer­tifi­cates take a lot less time and mon­ey than a whole new bachelor’s degree or a master’s and they are stack­able — you can add up sev­er­al cer­tifi­cates for dif­fer­ent areas or lev­els of exper­tise. That can add some real job mar­ket influ­ence and make you a lot more appeal­ing to employ­ers. Cer­tifi­cates are much more afford­able than a full four-year bachelor’s degree or 2–3 year master’s degree. Some cer­tifi­cate pro­grams are as cheap as a few hun­dred dol­lars for an entire pro­gram. Con­sid­er­ing the moun­tain of stu­dent loan debt many pro­fes­sion­als are pay­ing off, a low cost for a real career boost seems like a smart investment.

Just like bachelor’s and master’s degrees, a cer­tifi­cate in envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence pro­gram comes in all kinds of forms. Some cer­tifi­cate pro­grams may take five cours­es, while oth­ers may take 10 or even 15. Some spe­cial­iza­tions in envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence cer­tifi­cates may include:

  • Cli­mate & Renew­able Ener­gy Finance
  • Cli­mate Solu­tions and Sus­tain­able Energy
  • Com­mu­ni­ca­tions for Conservation
  • Com­mu­ni­ty Envi­ron­men­tal Studies
  • Con­ser­va­tion Action
  • Envi­ron­men­tal Management
  • Glob­al Stability
  • Sus­tain­able Lands Management
  • Under­stand­ing Cli­mate Change

Many envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence cer­tifi­cate pro­grams are avail­able online from rep­utable, accred­it­ed col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties. The advan­tages of tak­ing an envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence cer­tifi­cate online are very real for work­ing adults or career-chang­ing pro­fes­sion­als. With no com­mute and flex­i­ble class­es, an online cer­tifi­cate in envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence is much more con­ve­nient for work­ing around a cur­rent job and fam­i­ly obligations.

“Envi­ron­men­tal sci­en­tist” is a job title, but most of the careers with an envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence degree are not quite so obvi­ous. A bachelor’s in envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence can be the start­ing point for a wide range of careers in a wide range of indus­tries and fields. The careers in envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence list includes:

  • Ecol­o­gist
  • Envi­ron­men­tal Lawyer
  • Envi­ron­men­tal Pol­i­cy and Management
  • Hor­ti­cul­tur­ist
  • Mete­o­rol­o­gist
  • Micro­bi­ol­o­gist
  • Oceanog­ra­ph­er
  • Soil Sci­en­tist
  • Wildlife Man­ag­er
  • Zool­o­gist

That’s a wild­ly incom­plete list of envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence careers. Depend­ing on your area of focus in envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence, you could find your­self work­ing for:

  • Edu­ca­tion
  • Gov­ern­ment
  • Lab­o­ra­to­ry Science
  • Non­prof­its
  • Pri­vate Industry

With a bachelor’s in envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence, you could find your­self work­ing in a gov­ern­ment office for sus­tain­abil­i­ty or pub­lic safe­ty and health, like OSHA. You could be hired by a pri­vate com­pa­ny to help them craft pol­i­cy and improve their impact on the earth. You could help raise mon­ey for a non­prof­it, or you could spend most of your time out­side, test­ing soil or air or water.

While some envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence careers can be obtained with a master’s, any envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence careers list will include jobs that you need a master’s or doc­tor­ate for. That’s why a bachelor’s in envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence can often be a step­ping stone to more school­ing and expertise.

What are some pos­si­ble future career fields in envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence? Future career fields in envi­ron­men­tal sci­ence could include jobs involv­ing robot­ics and nan­otech­nol­o­gy, cre­at­ing vir­tu­al envi­ron­ments to study the nat­ur­al world, and using tech­nolo­gies in devel­op­ment and not even invent­ed yet to rebuilt bet­ter against cli­mate change.

Relat­ed Rankings:

25 Best Bach­e­lor’s in Envi­ron­men­tal Science

15 Best Online Bach­e­lor’s in Envi­ron­men­tal Science

10 Most Afford­able Bach­e­lor’s in Envi­ron­men­tal Science