A Career as an Environmental Scientist

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An environmental scientist carries out research in the field on environment with the aim to make the world a better place ensuring the better health of people. The environmental scientists suggest methods to protect and conserve our depleted natural resources. With the ever growing population, the services of environmental scientists help us preserve and efficiently use water. They guide us on proper land use for building and construction projects. Environmental Scientists help people dispose and also come up with innovative means to control and reduce pollution. They study the effect of chemicals on the ecosystem. In other words, Environmental Scientists help solve environmental issues.

Qualification Required For Becoming an Environmental Scientist

A graduation degree in the field of environmental or earth science is a must, as is a master's degree in a related field like hydrology or natural science. Students who have had life science, chemistry, geology or geography as their subject can also opt for this career. Computer literacy is inevitable along with efficient communicating skills. Knowledge of multiple languages is an added preference in this field.

Skill Sets

An environmental scientist will specialize in scientific research in the laboratory, or field work initially but gradually as they gain experience, they start getting supervision jobs. In general, the work of the environmental involves collecting data, its analysis and making a report on it. The topics could vary from environmental pollution to the amount of chlorine in the government supplied water in a particular area. They also help to analyze the co-relation between environment and human activities. After research is conducted, they distribute the report among government bodies, public forums, and conduct conferences and workshops to communicate the information with the public.

Training and Experience

An environmental scientist is trained for renewing environmental licenses and permits. For instance, they review the environmental standards of the amount of bleaching agents present in a reputed brand of detergent, as the affluent which is discharged into the water body is generally poisonous, and poses a great threat to aquatic life. Advanced computer training based on Geographic Information Systems or GIS and Global Positioning Systems or GPS are also provided. With adequate experience in the field, you can become an independent consultant as an environmental scientist.

Employment Outlook

Career Opportunities and Prospects

According to a survey conducted by the American Bureau of Labor and Statistics, environmental scientists held about 92,000 jobs in the year 2006. Many of them had reputed jobs in schools and colleges and universities as faculty members. About 355 of them were employed in state and local governments. 15% of them were involved in architectural and related fields and around 21% were employed in scientific and technical consulting services.


The funding for carrying out research and survey is carried out by the government. They have job security, but layoffs may have occurred during recession. The average earning of an environmental scientist is $58,000 according to a census conducted in 2007. The scope of an Environmental Scientist in today's world is extremely lucrative and also beneficial for the environment as they contribute important inputs through their research. The starting salary of an environmental scientist, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, is about $32,000, and if you happen to be recruited by the industry, consulting or government, you are entitled to paid holidays as well as health insurance benefits.

With the ever growing environmental problems, the work of employment for an environmentalist is rising and shall continue to rise in the near future. It is expected that the employment opportunities are expected to rise by 25% between 2006 and 2016. The job opportunities can be strong in the private sector as well. The growing demand of ground water and clean air with the growth in awareness among people has led to a rise in job opportunities. The continuous need to monitor the quality of the environment has opened better employment opportunities for environmentalists. They are needed to restore the ecosystem, develop and construct building for proper land use, and protect and ensure efficient use of water.

A lot of consulting firms hire Environment Scientists to help them deal with issues like ground water, land disposal and waste management. They now focus on waste management is to come up with novel ways for recovering resources and recycling resources. They are also coming up with preventive measures to improve the environment. With experience, you retire and advance to better jobs as management positions and consultancy, thus giving way to budding scientists.
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