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Finding Green Careers

150 minutes
9, 10, 11, 12
Average: 5 (1 vote)

This lesson introduces students to the idea of green careers and what it means to be a sustainability professional. We break down the concepts of "green" and "sustainability" and encourage students to explore how the concepts could apply to their career.

The lesson includes identifying potential green career opportunities and the skills, certifications, and credentials that can enhance a resume and improve a graduate’s employability.

Key objectives for students
Define sustainability
Provide descriptions of various green careers
Identify job requirements of green careers
Identify impact on sustainability these roles can have
Identify sustainability certifications and credentials and educational opportunities
green careers, sustainability
Communication skills
Real-World Application
Background information for teachers

Additional resources and a list of possible green careers are available to provide background information as needed.

Materials needed
  • Introducing Green Careers (video or slide presentation)
  • Introducing Green Careers worksheet
  • Sustainability Professionals Panel Podcast
  • Green Careers Research worksheet
  • Additional Resources
  • Green Careers List
  • Syllabus
Key vocabulary
triple bottom line, sustainability
Time Exercise Description
30 minutes Watch “Introducing Green Careers” presentation and use worksheet Have students watch the video or use the slides and talking points to present the materials
20 minutes Podcast “Sustainability Professionals Panel” Interview with three sustainability professionals
45 minutes “Green Careers Worksheet” Use the worksheet to identify possible green careers
45 minutes Report out Share with class about one career identified

See Syllabus, worksheets, and related instructor guides for additional teaching instructions.

Presentation: “Introducing Green Careers.” (video or slide deck + worksheet)
This presentation introduces key concepts of this lesson. Students will learn about definitions of sustainability and professional opportunities that apply the concept of sustainability. They will be introduced to leading sustainability-focused organizations, standards, certifications and credentials. This information will provide students with a foundation of knowledge about green career opportunities. The presentation concludes by prompting students to begin thinking about their career aspirations and the experiences and skills that will help them get there.

Podcast: “Sustainability Professionals Panel”
This podcast provides an inside look into the lives of three different sustainability professionals. Students will gain perspectives on each professional’s distinct sustainability sector: green building, sustainable city planning, and sustainable business. It is an engaging and informative resource and will help students gain clarity into what it means to be a sustainability professional

Activity: “Green Careers Research”
Identify and report on possible careers in green building and sustainability industries.

Optional activities:

Reflection Questions

Use the following questions to prompt critical thinking and guide students to reflect about the lesson:

  • What does “green” mean to you?
  • How do you define sustainability?
  • What are your core values, passions and greatest strengths?
  • How might your education and experiences serve a broader system?
  • What soft skills are you most confident in?
  • What hard skills would you like to develop, and why?
  • What is your initial idea when you think about your dream career?
  • When you think outside of the box, what career ideas can you come up with?
  • What are you passionate about and how can you contribute to this industry or issue?
Standards assessment

CTE Standards:
Lesson can align with either one depending on which career cluster(s) the students focus on.

Career Cluster Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources (AG)
AG 5 - Describe career opportunities and means to achieve those opportunities in each of the Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources Career Pathways.
3. Provide examples and descriptions of various careers in each of the AFNR pathways.

Career Cluster Architecture & Construction (AC)
AC 7 - Evaluate a wide range of career pathway opportunities for success in architecture and construction careers.

Community connections

Reach out to local professionals to speak to class (in person or via webcam), allow students to visit or interview staff, and/or host job shadowing sessions.

USGBC local communities are a great source of sustainability sector professionals.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has partnered with Nepris, Inc. to connect our network of LEED and sustainability professionals with K-12 classrooms across the world, using sustainability concepts as a context for learning across a variety of subjects. Through this innovative partnership, students get exposure to green career pathways; teachers benefit by adding real-world application to classroom curriculum, and professionals get the opportunity to inspire future generations to contribute to a sustainable future.

Professional Development Opportunities

The Green Classroom Professional Certificate is recommended to provide teachers with the knowledge to identify what supports or impedes healthy, resource-efficient and environmentally sustainable learning spaces.

LEED Green Associates have a documented, up-to-date understanding of the most current green building principles and practices, and are committed to their professional future.

Education @USGBC is USGBC’s education platform for sustainability industry professionals’ professional development. An annual subscription provides unlimited access to hundreds of courses.


Durga Raghavi Tripurasetty's picture
Wed, 02/13/2019 - 06:42

Durga Raghavi T...

Pro Reviewer

very helpful..and inspiring..