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For people who want careers in environmental work, there are a number of different opportunities to go about it. If you are still in school, whether you are getting an associate's degree or a more advanced degree, you may be able to get environmental work experience, by working on research with a professor, or by applying for an environmental internship. People who aren't in school may be eligible for certain internships as well. Another way to get environmental work experience is to volunteer with a nonprofit organization; there are many of them in the environmental sector that will always be looking for help.
Students who are pursuing an environmental degree, particularly those in an advanced degree program such as a master's or doctoral degree, can often get environmental work experience by working directly with their professors. Frequently, professors will be working on research projects of their own in addition to teaching classes, and will welcome students who are interested in working on the project as well. Students may or may not get college credit for this, but it can be a great way to increase your knowledge and gain practical work experience.
Another opportunity for environmental work experience frequently available to students, or those looking to make a career change, is the internship. Depending on the area of the world in which you live, this might include internships with government services as well, which can really look great on a resume. Otherwise, corporations doing environmental work as well as nonprofit organizations will frequently offer internships. These are typically very low in pay, if they are paid at all, but they too offer very valuable work experience, look great on a resume, and help you to network and make valuable contacts that might be useful when searching for a more permanent position in the future.
If an internship isn't available, another way to get environmental work experience is through volunteer work. Most nonprofit environmental organizations have fairly low budgets and funding abilities, and will always welcome those who are willing to donate their time and learn as they go. This may involve everything from general office work, to volunteering at clean-up days, or grant writing. Some environmental organizations also use volunteers to monitor properties or collect data for research projects, which can also be great work experience. Like an internship, volunteer work also looks great on a resume and helps to build contacts, but it is very personally rewarding at the same time.