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Environmental Science

As an Environmental Science Technology student, you will be on your way to a meaningful career, imparting a lasting change on the future of Florida's natural environment. A major trend in today's job market is to focus on the "greening" of business operations and supporting environmental sustainability initiatives. Seize this opportunity and be the first to catch this exciting career trend that is transforming the world around us.

Courses in the Environmental Science Technology program include a wide range of environmental areas, providing our students with a well-rounded education that prepares them for positions in environmental assessment, restoration, research, and public education.

Palm Beach State College educational options include completing a two-year associate in science (A.S.) degree as an Environmental Science Technician, or taking our courses as electives on your way to earning an A.A. degree and then pursuing a Bachelor's degree. Perhaps you already work in the field and want to advance your career or learn new skills. The program offers two College Credit Certificates as well. Regardless of your final educational goal, you will receive quality, hands-on experience that you can take with you and apply towards many critical initiatives for Florida’s environment.


What is the purpose of the program?

The Environmental Science Technology program is intended to teach students real-world skills that are necessary to obtain a position in the wide-ranging environmental field. This is not a theoretical program but instead is one that is very practical and tailored to local needs and current desired skill sets.

Program highlights include:

  • State-of-the-art laboratories in the Bioscience Technology Complex, located on the Palm Beach Gardens campus.
  • Hands-on, skill-based training.

What is the job outlook?

  • The job outlook is GOOD.  There are many opportunities for employment in our area, especially as a result of a growing trend for businesses to "go green," for the need to work on restoration and environmental preservation as a foundation for strengthening our economy now and into the future, and for the necessity of dealing with global warming and the direct impact it will have on our low-lying state.
  • Several occupations have been highlighted as potential career paths for our students.  Current information, specific to our county, including job title, starting salary, and the average salary is found on the Employ Florida website.
  • Here is additional information on strong job growth in the environmental field. 

What types of organizations employ graduates?

In the Environmental Science Department’s Employment Handbook, on page 38, you will find a chart of local environmental employment, followed by job titles associated with specific specialization areas and then public and private agencies that hire for those types of positions. In general, graduates may secure entry-level positions with environmental consulting firms, industry or nonprofit organizations, utilities, as well as federal, state, and local governmental agencies.

What can I expect as an entry level salary?

Salaries vary widely depending on skills, experience, environmental focus/area, and type of business. You can expect a salary range from $23,000 to $45,000.

Can this program be completed on a part-time basis? In the evening?

Yes, you can complete the program on a full-time or part-time basis.  The majority of the classes are offered in the evening on the Palm Beach Gardens campus.  Assessments are currently being done to determine if additional daytime offerings will be scheduled.  Most classes are offered one night per week.  Lastly, you can begin taking courses during any semester.

What special skills or qualifications are needed for this program?

Students entering the program should enjoy working outside and feel comfortable with basic math, writing, and communication skills, as these will be critical for most environmental positions.

What are some suggestions to increase my success in this program and in my future career?

I encourage you to volunteer or hold an internship position throughout the semesters to expose you to the field, introduce you to the types of work you can expect, and get yourself networked in the environmental community. I am actively involved in forwarding environmental event information to my students, including speaking engagements, beach/natural area cleanups, and special events. Participate and get familiar with local environmental agencies, employers, and sites. Depending on your final goal, it may be helpful to obtain additional certificates such as HAZWOPER (hazardous materials certification), prescribed burning certificate, asbestos certificate, pesticide applicators licensure, etc. to make you more employable upon completion of the courses (note: these may be offered through the Corporate & Continuing Education (CCE) department and are in addition to the 64 credit hours required for an A.S. degree. Create a strong resume and have it prepared to present to employers or for job opportunities that become available. Also, meet with the Palm Beach State College Career Center.

What are the trends in the field?

People working in this field often do so because they are passionate about the environment and want to be a part of making a more sustainable future. In light of numerous recent environmental catastrophes from diminished water supplies and drought, to flooding and massive fires, to rising sea levels, our country is in a position like never before. They are depending on environmental scientists to help them understand how to mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts. You are therefore going to be in high demand once you hold a degree in this field.

What do I say, when people ask me, "what does an environmental science technician do?"

Explain that environmental impact is an issue of critical concern today, and environmental scientists respond to issues ranging from pollution detection and abatement to the protection of endangered species.  Technicians can be found working in the field collecting water, soil, air, and biological samples for regulatory compliance activities or to assist in managing the health and quantity of important resources.  Technicians may also be found in a laboratory, processing samples and helping to analyze the habitat characteristics or sources of impact to the environment.  Graduates may also be involved in projects aiming to identify and quantify organisms, to maintain field equipment, establish and monitor sampling areas, and prepare reports such as Environmental Impact Statements.  Environmental technicians are a critical component of a growing workforce dedicated to the sustainability of our local resources.




Important Information

Dr. Jessica Miles, Environmental Science Department Chair 

  • Phone: 561-207-5220
  • Email:
  • Faculty Webpage
  • Courses: Introduction to Environmental Science (EVR1001); Biology non-majors (BSC1005); Wildlife Ecology (EVS 2870c); Florida's Env. History (EVR 1007); Cooperative Work Experience (EVR2940)

Prof. Rachel Cartwright, Adjunct Professor

Prof. David Cowan, Adjunct Professor

Prof. Rebekah Gibble, Adjunct Professor

Prof. Jose Guardario, Adjunct Professor

Prof. Donna Harwell, Adjunct Professor

  • Email:
  • Faculty Webpage
  • Courses: Environmental Law (EVR 2858)

Prof. Robert Shuford, Adjunct Professor

 Prof. Donatto Surratt, Adjunct Professor

Dr. Felicia Survis, Adjunct Professor

Dr. Teresa ThorntonAdjunct Professor

  • Email:
  • Faculty Webpage
  • Courses: Environmental Sampling Techniques (EVS2193C); Introduction to Environmental Science (EVR 1001); Florida’s Environmental History (EVR 1007); Environmental Geology (GLY 2030c)

Prof. Lacramioara Ursu, Adjunct Professor

Dr. Phillip Watson, Adjunct Professor

Prof. Bruce Wear, Adjunct Professor

What you should know

  • Broward State College and Palm Beach State College have a legally-binding articulation agreement which means that you can transfer to Broward and pursue their Bachelor's Degree in Environmental Science.  They will accept Palm Beach State College's full A.S. Degree in Environmental Science for transfer into their program as a Junior.  Wildlife Ecology, EVS 2870c, can be used as your second biology course for entry into the program. Their tuition costs are almost 50% less than most local universities. |  Learn more
  • The University of Florida (UF) has programs in their College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and their School of Natural Resources and Environment. Various degree programs are offered at locations throughout Florida including: Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Pierce, Homestead, Plant City, Apopka, Milton, and Gainesville. UF has unique transfer requirements for each of their 30 degree offerings, but the A.A. (Associate in Arts) Degree is the transfer degree. Students intending to transfer generally take most of their Gen Ed requirements at PBSC and take Environmental Science Technology courses as electives.
  • Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University (FAMU) has an amazing pathway, the School of the Environment for students wanting to complete their Bachelor’s in Environmental Science, as well as Master’s and Ph.D. Here is an example of their typical transfer agreement which you can see encompasses most of our 2-year degree program. Their Ignite Transfer Program is specifically designed to engage community colleges and provide curriculum maps to students seeking to transfer. In the past they also have had grant funding available that may cover some or all of tuition. Fill out their digital prospect form for more information.

What you should do

  • Meet early in your program with the Environmental Science Technology Dept. Chair Dr. Jessica Miles.
  • Contact the four-year program at the university where you want to transfer and discuss the transfer. This will ward off misunderstandings, inaccurate assumptions, and problems stemming from outdated information.

Note: It is NOT necessary to begin the program during the fall semester in August. Most classes are taught in the evenings at the Garden’s campus location. It is recommended to take the General Education courses during fall and summer and focus on the environmental courses for fall and especially the spring semesters.

Program Grants Received

1.  Math Science Institute Grant

In the past, Palm Beach State College received a $545,471 grant from the National Science Foundation that launched a scholarship and mentoring program aimed at boosting the number of underrepresented minority students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

As part of the Math & Science Institute: S-STEM Diversity Project, a cohort of 55 academically talented students with financial need received scholarships to cover the full cost of tuition, fees, and books for their two-year associate degree at Palm Beach State College. In addition, those who transferred to Florida Atlantic University to pursue a bachelors degree in such discipline received full scholarships for their junior year. FAU, as part of a partnership with Palm Beach State College, offered scholarships for the students’ senior year and provided some of the mentoring and support.

The institute offered world-class opportunities for high school and Palm Beach State College students with special aptitude in mathematics and science. They learned from outstanding Palm Beach State College faculty, collaborated with local industry leaders in biotechnology, physics, aerospace engineering and environment and energy technology. The state-of-the-art BioScience Technology Complex, on the Palm Beach campus, hosted this Institute.

2.  Non-native Vegetation Removal Grant - Visit our natural habitat.

A rare Pond Apple forest frequently visited by the endangered wood stork on Palm Beach State's Lake Worth campus  benefits from restoration efforts, thanks to a grant the College received from the Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resources Management.

The $50,000 grant was used to remove non-native, exotic species of plants from the wetlands area on the northeast corner of the campus. Those plants were replaced by such native vegetation as Sweet Bay Magnolia, Hackberry, Cherry Laurel and Wild Lime. The final touches included installation of a nature trail with signage for students, staff and the community to enjoy.

The project is tied to the county’s “chain-of-lakes restoration work" and will improve the water quality of the adjacent Lake Osborne and nearby habitats. “Not only will the habitat be restored, but students and visitors will gain an understanding of how we can maintain the balance between nature and human impact", said Professor Jessica Miles, biology instructor and the project’s program leader. Professor Miles is also the Chair of the Environmental Science Technology program.

3.  Audubon Foundation for the Environment Grant

Palm Beach State's Environmental Science program was awarded a grant from the Audubon Foundation for the Environment in May 2005 to support student scholarships.

In particular the scholarships went toward students attending the program's Tropical Ecology course which includes a field study component to Costa Rica. Students learn in a hands-on fashion and participate in international projects in conjunction with the Audubon Society.

Program Awards Received

The Davis Award

The Florida Park Service has instituted an award winning "Parknership" program with the college allowing many of our students to excel in wildlife research and achieve publication in scientific journals along with the respect of experts in the field. We have been awarded the Davis Award for our part in this effort.

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Read the Environmental Science Employment Handbook for great tips on successful job hunting.

Palm Beach State Career Center

The Online Career Center gives current PBSC students access to thousands of resources to assist in your career exploration and/or job search, including our Career Mentor Network featuring local professionals ready to help you, local job listings, and an employer resume database. 


Other Job Information & Resources



EVR2940 Cooperative Work Experience-Environmental Science (A.A.)
Credits/Clock Hours: 3 credits (32 lab hours)

Course Description
Hands-on work experience as a volunteer assigned by the college to an appropriate cooperating office(s) or agency(ies). Hours and schedule are mutually determined by the student, cooperating office(s)/agency(ies), and the college. Final written and oral reports are required.

Student interns must commit an average of 8 hours per week for the 16-week term to complete the internship course.  Students generally complete one main research project during this time that benefits the learning and experience of the student as well as the advancement of the partner agency.  Students are encouraged to speak with the Department Chair, Dr. Jessica Miles, the semester prior to the term in which the student intends to enroll in the internship course, to allow for proper matching and placement of the student.

Below are several internship projects that have been produced as part of this course.  You are encouraged to view the work of previous students to learn about the type of projects available, the scope of work, and the level of competency that is expected for both the written portion of the internship as well as the oral presentation.


Student Internship Projects

  • Student - Kevin Metz
    • This internship supported ongoing efforts to research the feasibility of reintroducing the Red Cockaded Woodpecker to Jonathan Dickinson State Park.  |  Final Presentation
  • Student - Barry Carson
    • This internship project involved analyzing multi-year roadkill data collected at Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Final Presentation
  • Student - Alejandro Garcia
  • Student - Edwin Barrow
    • This internship was conducted with the South Florida Water Management District and was composed of two phases: 1) Biomass assessment of cattails and 2) Turbidity level study in the West Palm Beach Canal.
      Edwin Barrow, "the contacts and relationships I developed, along with the skills I learned, will enhance my chances of employment upon graduation."  |  PowerPoint presentation: SFWMD Internship PowerPoint and Edwin Barrow Internship Scientific Research Paper

  • Student - Megan Riley, 2013 Intern

  • Student - Katie O'Gara
  • Student - Patrick Kohler

  • Student - David Cowan
    • The internship as a part of the Palm Beach State/ Morse Zehnter Associates (MZA) was one of the best things that I could have done for my career. The internship gave me a place to transition from the job I had for many years to my new field. As an intern I was afforded more time to learn what we where doing and why not just how to do my job. I also felt that I could push myself to my limit with out fear of jeopardizing my job because I was still learning. In the environmental industry nothing is more powerful then experience. It seems like you can’t get a job without experience and you can’t get experience without the job. This is an age old conundrum that seems to have been solved for me with the internship in this program. I got the internship because of this program, and I got the job because of the internship.  |  A study of the location of CO2 generated sources and their effects on ambient CO2 levels around an in schools in South Florida

  • Student - Tove Rooney

    • I completed my internship during spring semester 2007 at Palm Beach County Environmental Resources Management (ERM). My project assignment was wading bird colony monitoring at a rookery at Juno Dunes Natural Area, which was designed as an independent study. The purpose of the project was to establish peak nesting activity and baseline date for future surveys. To complete the project, I had to seek knowledge in bird identification, behavior, nesting requirements, and foraging habits of wading birds. I also became familiar with survey techniques, including the flight-line count which was used in the project. I truly enjoyed my internship with ERM. I gained invaluable knowledge of wading birds in Florida and increased my understanding of the threats they are facing and why they are declining in numbers. I also experienced the inner workings of an environmental agency and learned a great deal about how a natural area is managed. I also acquired an interest in wading birds and bird watching which I’ll enjoy for years to come. I feel the internship is an important part of the environmental science program. It is an opportunity to work with an environmental agency and gain hands-on experience, which may lead to future employment.  |  Wading Bird Colony Monitoring at Juno Dunes Rookery Using the Flight-line Method, Table 1 - Juno Dunes Rookery Monitoring 2005, Table 2 - Flight-line Count Data Sheet, Figure 1 - Juno Dunes - Natural Area Boundary, Figure 2 - Juno Dunes, PowerPoint Presentation

  • Student - Tiffany LaCasse

    • The internship was conducted abroad, in Costa Rica, in coordination with the Environmental Science Technology Program course, Tropical Ecology, that incorporates an international field experience each summer. The internship provided exposure to field work in remote locations, gathering GPS points that were later utilized to create a map of a biological preserve in Costa Rica. Not only did the internship benefit the educational goals of a student, but it provided an incredible resource for the preserve that will be utilized for years to come.  |  data_mapping_finish_paper_1  and Survey and Mapping of El Zota Biological Field Station

The Community Earth Club usually meets 1-2 times per month including guest speakers and environmental field trips. Contact Professor Miles at 561-207-5220 for more information.

Please come and join us!

The Reef Hope Project aims to:

  • Study natural and artificial reef habitats.
  • Support the conservation of marine biodiversity over time amidst ongoing threats.
  • Provide project-based learning opportunities and scientific data collection opportunities.
  • Provide educational outreach.
  • Offer Science Technology Engineering Art Math (STEAM) career skill building opportunities.
  • Improve reef conservation and management plans.
  • Stimulate interest in reef protection through inspired beauty, creativity, and interaction with natural marine wonders
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