If you have ever considered pursuing a career in environmental accounting, an important question has probably crossed your mind: Am I supposed to obtain an environmental accounting degree in order to work within the field?
What Is Environmental Accounting?
Although broadly defined, environmental accounting is basically a field designed to identify resource use and communicate the costs that a company is having on the environment. Some of the costs that a company could incur include environmental fines, purchase of pollution prevention technologies, penalties and taxes, waste management costs, and the costs involved in remediating or cleaning up sites that have become contaminated. Environmental accountants also play a role in helping businesses cut costs by comparing the fees associated with pollution prevention in manufacturing operations to any existing cheaper forms. As a subset of accounting, environmental accounting incorporates the acquisition of both environmental and economic information. Environmental accounting can operate at the corporate level. However, it can also work at the national level through the National Accounts of Countries, which produces estimates for the Gross Domestic Product (or GDP).
Are Environmental Accounting Degrees Available?
In the article “Environmental Accountants Do It for the Green,” writer John Rossheim informs his readers that there is no official environmental accounting degree that an individual could earn in order to work within the field. In doing so, he states: “Environmental accounting is something of an outlier in the broad field of finance. There are no academic programs focusing on environmental accounting, nor is there a professional credential for the specialty.”
Environmental Accounting: Obtaining Education and Experience
In recognizing the fact that there is no official environmental accounting degree that an individual can obtain in order to prepare to work in the field, people who wish to do so must develop and implement a plan to make themselves the most qualified, marketable candidate for jobs within this sector. There are a plethora of different ways this objective can be accomplished, but one of the most basic and potentially effective routes is to obtain a bachelor’s degree and subsequently attain certification as a CPA (Certified Public Accountant). The most practical degree option is likely accounting, and this field of study will incorporate coursework in subjects such as taxation, auditing, and general business and management.
As you begin to prepare for a career in the field of environmental accounting, you may find it advantageous to tailor your educational coursework towards any specialization you wish to pursue. There are three main regions of specialization within the field of environmental accounting, which includes environmental management, environmental finance, and national environmental accounting. If you are planning on working within the field of environmental management, it may be prudent for you to minor in Business Management or take as many management classes as you can.
Related Resource: Master’s in Accounting
If you are thinking about pursuing a career in environmental accounting, you should know that doing so can be a personally and professionally profitable decision. Although there is no environmental accounting degree that you can obtain to work within the field, there are a variety of things you can do to attain the education and experience necessary to excel within this sector.