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Environmental Scientist or Specialist

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All About Environmental Scientists and Specialists

Occupation Description Conduct research or perform investigation for the purpose of identifying, abating, or eliminating sources of pollutants or hazards that affect either the environment or the health of the population. Using knowledge of various scientific disciplines, may collect, synthesize, study, report, and recommend action based on data derived from measurements or observations of air, food, soil, water, and other sources.

List of Environmental Scientist or Specialist Job Duties

  • Communicate scientific or technical information to the public, organizations, or internal audiences through oral briefings, written documents, workshops, conferences, training sessions, or public hearings.
  • Prepare charts or graphs from data samples, providing summary information on the environmental relevance of the data.
  • Conduct environmental audits or inspections or investigations of violations.
  • Monitor effects of pollution or land degradation and recommend means of prevention or control.
  • Develop the technical portions of legal documents, administrative orders, or consent decrees.
  • Research sources of pollution to determine their effects on the environment and to develop theories or methods of pollution abatement or control.

Qualities of an Environmental Scientist or Specialist

When polled, Environmental Scientists and Specialists say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Science: Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.

Types of Environmental Scientist or Specialist Jobs

  • Regulatory Analyst
  • Environmental Specialist
  • Environmental Services Director
  • Water Pollution Specialist
  • Environmental Services Assistant

Is There Job Demand for Environmental Scientists and Specialists?

In the United States, there were 89,500 jobs for Environmental Scientist or Specialist in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 11.1% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 9,900 new jobs for Environmental Scientist or Specialist by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 9,500 job openings in this field each year.

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The states with the most job growth for Environmental Scientist or Specialist are Utah, Nevada, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Maine, Alaska, or Maryland. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

What is the Average Salary of an Environmental Scientist or Specialist

Environmental Scientists and Specialists make between $42,520 and $124,620 a year.

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Environmental Scientists and Specialists who work in District of Columbia, California, or Colorado, make the highest salaries.

How much do Environmental Scientists and Specialists make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $67,630
Alaska $80,220
Arizona $72,150
Arkansas $58,540
California $91,890
Colorado $93,010
Connecticut $83,220
Delaware $59,890
District of Columbia $115,190
Florida $58,790
Georgia $72,860
Hawaii $69,780
Idaho $60,470
Illinois $78,640
Indiana $62,590
Iowa $74,140
Kansas $76,780
Kentucky $51,740
Louisiana $68,570
Maine $67,390
Maryland $77,300
Massachusetts $82,580
Michigan $69,430
Minnesota $74,880
Missouri $53,820
Montana $68,660
Nebraska $61,020
Nevada $63,920
New Hampshire $75,520
New Jersey $80,350
New Mexico $87,200
New York $79,340
North Carolina $64,850
North Dakota $72,860
Ohio $74,750
Oklahoma $65,490
Oregon $77,980
Pennsylvania $74,430
Rhode Island $82,160
South Dakota $61,250
Tennessee $72,470
Texas $80,880
Utah $68,480
Vermont $66,440
Virginia $85,550
Washington $85,090
West Virginia $56,380
Wisconsin $61,030
Wyoming $68,940

What Tools do Environmental Scientists and Specialists Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Environmental Scientists and Specialists:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Microsoft Access
  • Word processing software
  • SAP
  • Microsoft Project
  • Autodesk AutoCAD
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat
  • Structured query language SQL
  • Database software
  • Microsoft Visual Basic
  • Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator
  • IBM SPSS Statistics
  • Geographic information system GIS software
  • Graphics software

How to Become an Environmental Scientist or Specialist

What kind of Environmental Scientist or Specialist requirements are there?

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How many years of work experience do I need?

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Who Employs Environmental Scientists and Specialists?

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The table below shows the approximate number of Environmental Scientists and Specialists employed by various industries.

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You May Also Be Interested In…

Those interested in being an Environmental Scientist or Specialist may also be interested in:

Are you already one of the many Environmental Scientist or Specialist in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:

References:

Image Credit: Lynn Betts via Photo by Lynn Betts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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