Environmental scientists and specialists work to restore and protect the environment. They address potential and existing environmental and public health hazards. Environmental scientists provide businesses, government, and the general public with information as to how to minimize pollution and the potential for damage to the environment by new construction and development. General job responsibilities of environmental scientists and specialists include:
- Collecting and analyzing environmental samples and materials
- Developing plans to restore polluted environments
- Planning data collection methods to research a specific environmental threat
- Informing businesses and the general public of potential environmental and health hazards
The BLS reports that employment of environmental scientists and specialists will increase 19% from 2010 to 2020. Population growth and public awareness of health hazards resulting from environmental abuse are stimulating this increase. Private consulting firms that help businesses comply with environmental and health regulations will offer the majority of new jobs for environmental scientists and specialists.
Job Growth for
Environmental Scientist and Specialist
- Annual Pay National Average
- Hourly Pay National Average
Becoming an Environmental Scientist and Specialist
Environmental scientists and specialists typically hold a bachelor's degree in environmental science or another natural science, such as biology or chemistry. A master's degree can help with career opportunities and advancement, while a doctoral is generally only necessary for college teaching and some research positions. Environmental scientists should possess strong analytical, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills.
Several for-profit and some non-profit schools offer online bachelor's degrees in environmental studies. In an environmental studies degree program, students take courses in biology, chemistry, geology, and physics, specialized classes, as well as courses in environmental policies and regulations, management, and ethics. Some of the specific classes in a bachelor's of science in natural science program may include:
- Concepts of Sustainability
- Environmental Policies
- Scientific and Technical Writing
- Energy & Environmental Systems
Entry-level positions for environmental scientists and specialists include field analysts, research assistants, and laboratory technicians. Over time, as they gain more experience, they may advance to a management or research positions. Some environmental scientists and specialists move on to careers as researchers or faculty at colleges or universities.