Exploring a Career in Sustainability Part III: Essential basic training but mostly networking

Published: Aug 17, 2009


We've talked about the certification and discussed that there is potential for a six-figure salary. But what about academic qualifications? Except for a Masters in Sustainability offered by a few universities (Masters of Arts/Masters of Science), there isn't much offered if you want to hit the ground running. A Masters would of course pull you off a full time job.

If you'd rather not leave the workforce, certifications such as the one offered by the SSC is a quick briefer on this up and coming career. There also aren't too many general certifications out there. Which is why, Green Auditor Matt Lillard advises attending a general training session and then specializing. Once you establish a niche, there are certifications that bolster not only your resume but also your working knowledge (e.g., Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design also known as LEED, Home Energy Rating System--HERS, etc.). 

Here at Vault, we have time and again emphasized on the benefits of networking and that's what Matt recommends as well. "Especially in a relatively new field like energy efficiency, meeting people and establishing networks is the best way currently to get projects and consulting work. I was able to get projects soon after my certification because it pushes you into the center of the talent pool of certified professionals," he says, adding, "Then there is always the interconnecting, exchanging project details and feeding off of each other's networks."

Some of the steps Matt took to increase his exposure (and eventually land his current job as a Senior Consultant at Applied Energy Group) was attend seminars on environmental issues, meet people at Chambers of Commerce at conferences and events and follow the basic rules of networking. "This increases your credibility as well as your earning potential," he advises. 

Did you miss Part I and II? Click here to catch up!

TOMORROW: Okay, so ROI is high in this field. And I don't need too much elaborate training. But can I apply my existing skills to this field? What if I am from finance and don't know much about energy efficiency beyond recycling?