What Do Environmental Scientist or Specialist Do?
Position 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.
Daily Life Of an Environmental Scientist or Specialist
- Conduct applied research on environmental topics, such as waste control or treatment or pollution abatement methods.
- Review and implement environmental technical standards, guidelines, policies, and formal regulations that meet all appropriate requirements.
- Investigate and report on accidents affecting the environment.
- Provide advice on proper standards and regulations or the development of policies, strategies, or codes of practice for environmental management.
- Supervise or train students, environmental technologists, technicians, or other related staff.
- Monitor effects of pollution or land degradation and recommend means of prevention or control.
Things an Environmental Scientist or Specialist Should Know How to Do
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
- Environmental Programs Specialist
- Environmental Analyst
- Clinical Laboratory Scientist
- Environmental Scientist
- Research Environmental Scientist
Job Opportunities for Environmental Scientists and Specialists
There were about 89,500 jobs for Environmental Scientist or Specialist in 2016 (in the United States). 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. There will be an estimated 9,500 positions for Environmental Scientist or Specialist per year.
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.
Environmental Scientist or Specialist Average Salary
The average yearly salary of an Environmental Scientist or Specialist ranges between $42,520 and $124,620.
Environmental Scientists and Specialists who work in District of Columbia, California, or Colorado, make the highest salaries.
Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Environmental Scientists and Specialists in different U.S. states.
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
|District of Columbia||$115,190|
What Tools & Technology 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
- 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 do I Become an Environmental Scientist or Specialist?
What kind of Environmental Scientist or Specialist requirements are there?
How many years of work experience do I need?
Who Employs Environmental Scientists and Specialists?
The table below shows the approximate number of Environmental Scientists and Specialists employed by various industries.
Those thinking about becoming an Environmental Scientist or Specialist might also be interested in the following careers:
Those who work as an Environmental Scientist or Specialist sometimes switch careers to one of these choices:
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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