Environmental Service Systems

This semester-length, high school elective introduces students to career opportunities and educational pathways in a wide array of environmental fields. Students examine environmental legislation and regulations, government agencies and organizations, monitoring and testing methods and requirements. They discover the relationship between environmental regulations and careers, and study the issues, history, and current status of air and water quality, soil and atmospheric conditions. In an environmentally challenged world, ESS professionals are critically important. Job outlooks and salary scales reflect this need for educated, dedicated researchers, scientists, engineers, etc.


  • Compare and contrast careers in environmental service systems in terms of scope, academic preparation, employment potential, and career demands.
  • Evaluate environmental-related issues with air, waste, water, and disposal.
  • Explain how individuals can impact the environment in a positive manner and educate others about environmental issues.
  • Articulate the science and technologies surrounding air, ecosystems, waste cleanup, toxics, and water.
  • Identify sustainable practices and form a deeper understanding to balance the environment, society, and the economy.
  • Describe laws and regulations impacting environmental service systems.
  • Identify key laboratory and analytical instrumentation used for environmental monitoring.
  • Discuss methods for improvement of analytical results.
  • Recognize weather systems and weather patterns using meteorological principles and knowledge.
  • Describe soil compositions and properties to demonstrate knowledge of soil science.
  • Apply chemistry principles to environmental service systems.
  • Evaluate wastewater treatment and compliance with regulations.
  • Identify health risks associated with hazardous materials.
  • Identify methods of conventional and alternative energy sources.

This is an introductory course in environmental service systems. The student needs to be interested in this field as a possible career, have computer and online access, and some experience with computer searches. Some students or student groups may have already done some field testing, such as simple pH water tests at home or in a stream. Some may have, or have access to, testing equipment and transportation to sites for testing projects, field trips to wastewater treatment plants, etc. The lesson projects are written so that students with access to labs, transportation, and equipment can use them, while those who do not can perform virtual testing. Students may be familiar with 2D and 3D computer modeling, and have access to such programs. These are not required, but are applicable to the course study.

State: National, California, Florida, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Washington
Grade Level: 9, 10, 11, 12
Category: Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources
Course Length: Semester