• Moving-up-the-green-career-ladder

    By Lori Tripoli, Academic Chair, Environmental Policy and Management Programs

    Advancing in an environmental career can take many forms. If you are contemplating the next logical steps as you progress in the field, you might first determine what “moving up” means for your particular situation. Does that mean a higher salary, supervisory role, or better title? More job responsibility or exercising more authority? More industry recognition? Doing more directly for the environment?

    Think about whether you want to advance within your current organization or whether there may be more and better opportunities for you elsewhere. Consider the individuals currently in the roles that interest you, whether those are in-house or at other entities entirely, and undertake a bit of competitive analysis. To assess the capabilities of people currently serving in jobs that you would like to have, ask yourself some of these questions: 


    • What are the qualifications for their roles?  
    • What traits do they have—like assertiveness, ingenuity or congeniality—that might not appear on their resumés but  help them do their jobs successfully? Do I have these traits?  
    • How did these individuals  climb the green career ladder get to where they are—by advancing within their organization or via an external hiring process?  
    • What is their educational background?  
    • Did they wait to be promoted or did they do something bold to get ahead?  
    • How long have they been in their jobs, and how long do I think they will be there?  
    • Is there likely to be an opportunity for me to take on one of these roles any time soon?  
    • Will going back to school to earn an additional degree (possibly funded by your employer) help advance my cause? 


    Clearly, there are many variables involved in advancing any career in the environmental field. You also need to determine the risks that you are willing to take and the commitment you are willing to make to move yourself ahead.

    Determination, knowledge, and hard work are only a few of the factors that that drive career success. Figure out what else you need for the position you want, and then take steps to get there. For instance, if  you need better speaking skills, seek out opportunities to improve them. If you need more education, consider going back to school on a part-time basis while you hold your day job. If you need management to notice your star qualities, volunteer for additional assignments. In short, remember that you are the driver of your own career. Don’t wait for someone to notice your existence. Do what it takes to enhance your talent and then take action to propel your own career forward.


    Lori Tripoli, J.D. oversees the undergraduate and graduate environmental policy and management programs at Kaplan University. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not represent the view of Kaplan University. The University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement.  

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    And if you are considering pursuing higher education we invite you to find out more about Kaplan University’s programs and explore our undergraduate and graduate degree offerings.

    It is important to note that certain career paths are growing and our degrees are designed to strengthen your knowledge and prepare our students to advance their careers. But Kaplan University cannot guarantee employment or career advancement. Several factors specific to a student’s or alumni’s backgrounds and actions, as well as economic and job conditions, affect employment. Also, keep in mind that national long-term projections covered in articles may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth.


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