Environmental Scientist

Job Description

Environmental Scientists do the vital work of conducting research, analyzing data, and developing plans on how to avoid, repair or minimize hazards that affect the environment and public health. Their research typically involves collecting and analyzing samples from the environment, examining published data from fellow scientists, and exploring ways to help solve pressing issues as broad as deforestation, pollution, and the quality of our water, soil, and air.  

After doing scientific work, Environmental Scientists often have to present and defend their findings and conclusions. Government agencies, policymakers, and business leaders depend on these findings to inform positive actions to help the environment. 

Typical Duties and Responsibilities

  • Collect and analyze soil, air, water, and other samples from various sites and areas of concern
  • Provide scientific support for environmental risk projects
  • Perform environmental impact analyses and examine scientific data
  • Prepare and write reports and research papers based on findings
  • Present findings to policymakers, business leaders, and decision-makers 
  • Create environmental plans for construction projects

Education and Background

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, biology, natural resource management, or a related field, preferably with coursework in chemistry, mathematics, and water/air/soil sciences. Employers often prefer candidates with CES certification and experience as a research assistant, field analyst, or lab technician.

Skills and Proficiencies

  • Broad knowledge of federal, state, and local environmental regulations
  • Experience with ecological surveying and reporting
  • Knowledge of various sampling techniques and equipment
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Robust technical writing, analytical, and communications skills

Compensation

According to Payscale the median annual salary of an Environmental Scientist with

1 Year of Experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $48,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $49,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $50,000
  • Miami, Florida: $51,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $60,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $65,000
  • Houston, Texas: $55,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $63,000
  • New York City, New York: $69,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $65,000
  • Overall: $55,000

5 Years of Experience:

  • Orlando, Florida: $73,000
  • Tampa, Florida: $69,000
  • Jacksonville, Florida: $70,000
  • Miami, Florida: $68,000
  • Atlanta, Georgia: $75,000
  • Chicago, Illinois: $80,000
  • Houston, Texas: $75,000
  • Los Angeles, California: $85,000
  • New York City, New York: $88,000
  • Seattle, Washington: $75,000
  • Overall: $79,000

Similar Job Titles

Career Path

The path to becoming an Environmental Scientist typically starts with earning a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, biology, natural resource management, or a related field. Beyond that, obtaining certification as a Certified Environmental Scientist demonstrates that a job candidate has met standards in education, experience, and knowledge. 

Position Trends

Due to a growing informed public and other factors, Environmental Scientists will be expected to help manage, or at least minimize, a host of environmental concerns and issues. These topics include the environmental impact and emissions rising from cement production and use, growing water scarcity, human waste management, emissions from the beef industry, and the ever-increasing demands placed on the environment by population growth.

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for Environmental Scientists and Specialists should grow by eight percent through 2028, faster than the average for all occupations.  

Typical Hours

The typical work hours for an Environmental Scientist are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, typically in an office or laboratory setting, as well as in the field as needed. 

Where You Can Find Jobs

  • 4 Corner Resources
  • Career Builder
  • Glassdoor
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • Monster 

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