The 10 Best Environmental Jobs

By Caitlin Mazur
Feb. 21, 2023
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Find a Job You Really Want In

Summary. The top three environmental jobs are conservation scientist officer, wind turbine technician, and Marine biologist. The requirements for the job will vary but most will require a bachelor’s degree or higher.

As the younger generation begins to recognize that climate change is a defining issue, many more are looking for careers that could positively impact these changes. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, environmental jobs are projected to have an above-average growth rate throughout the next ten years.

Environmental careers can focus on conversion, alternative energy, or using engineering tactics to help solve environmental issues. Many environmentalists are vouching for a global green economy that would eliminate fossil fuels and increase the use of alternative energy while preventing or mitigating environmental degradation.

With so many new opportunities coming to light during this climate change fight, many are looking to contribute. Here are the 10 best environmental jobs:

Key Takeaways:

  • Environmental careers are in high demand, with The International Labor Organization reporting that shifting to a greener economy could create over 24 million jobs worldwide if done right.

  • Many environmental jobs fall within the fields of science and engineering, though applicants with backgrounds in a variety of areas may be qualified.

  • Environmental jobs can be found across sectors, from the private sector to government work, as well as nonprofit organizations.

The 10 Best Environmental Jobs

The 10 Best Environmental Jobs

  1. Conservation Scientist Officer

    Average Annual Salary: $58,000

    Conservation scientists work to ensure that natural resources are protected and thriving. They’re often associated with forests and national parks, as they’re the ones who help establish regulations on visitors, logging, and mining, as well as reducing the risk of forest fires.

    This may mean thinning dead trees and underbrush, planting specific species of trees that need to be reintroduced to the area, or clearing a few live ones to make sure the rest have enough resources to be healthy and strong enough to withstand disease or fire.

    Requirements: To become a conservation scientist, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in biology, forestry, or a related field. Most conversation scientists work for the government, but some work for private organizations.

    Find Conservation Scientist jobs near me

  2. Wind Turbine Technician

    Average Annual Salary: $41,000

    With more focus and resources going toward renewable or “green” energy, more wind turbines are installed on land and the ocean. As a result, wind turbine service technicians are in high demand, as they’re needed both to install new turbines and repair older ones.

    The number of job opportunities is growing in this field, and you don’t always need a bachelor’s degree to become a wind turbine service technician. Many community colleges and technical schools offer professional certification programs and associate’s degrees that will allow you to get a job in this area.

    Find Wind Turbine Technician jobs near me

  3. Marine Biologist

    Average Annual Salary: $61,000

    Marine biologists study the plethora of animals and plants that call the ocean their home. They work to discover new species, learn more about the ones already documented, and ensure that underwater ecosystems are protected and thriving.

    Marine biologists often help inform government and corporate laws and policies involving the ocean and educate the public about this major part of the planet. As a result, they often work for aquariums, zoos, government organizations, and private organizations.

    Requirements: To become a marine biologist, you’ll first of all need to be willing to live by the ocean, spend a lot of time in the water, and be willing to potentially travel around the world. You’ll also need a bachelor’s degree in biology, marine biology, zoology, oceanography, or a similar field, and it’s generally a good idea to get a master’s degree as well to make yourself a more attractive job candidate.

    Find Marine Biologist jobs near me

  4. Hydrologist

    Average Annual Salary: $87,000

    Water is a valuable resource, so hydrologists study how to keep it clean, how it moves, and how to make it readily available. These professionals usually work with governments or private organizations to test the water and ensure it stays clean and accessible.

    Hydrologists are vital to protecting human populations and natural ecosystems, whether it’s creating environmental regulations for a company that is building a new facility near a water source or conducting regular tests on a city’s water supply.

    Requirements: To become a hydrologist, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree and often a master’s degree in hydrology, physical science, or a similar field. If you want to conduct high-level research or teach hydrology, you’ll also need a Ph.D.

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  5. Environmental Engineer

    Average Annual Salary: $66,000

    Every town and city needs environmental engineers to create systems that remove waste and pollution and ensure water, air, and equipment are safe for the community to use.

    This requires testing these resources regularly and setting up policies and systems to protect them. If you become an environmental engineer, your job responsibilities will often vary depending on where you work and the unique challenges and resources that that community has, making this an interesting career choice.

    Requirements: To enter this field, you’ll need at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering and some on-the-job training or work experience to enter this field. As with most engineering roles, You’llhelp open up more prestigious and lucrative opportunities for you as well.

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  6. Agricultural and Food Scientist

    Average Annual Salary: $57,000

    A lot of science goes into growing, raising, harvesting, and processing the food you buy in the grocery store. Someone needs to make sure the animals and plants are healthy, packaging facilities are clean, and prices stay low, and often agricultural, and food scientists are the ones who do this.

    Agricultural and food scientists can choose a variety of fields to specialize in, and some lean more toward agricultural pursuits such as managing soil, plants, and animals, while others focus more on food in general. These professionals may work independently as farmers or ranchers, large food companies, or even government agencies, whatever their area of expertise.

    Requirements: To become an agricultural or food scientist, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science, animal science, or something similar. If you want to do research for a university or other organization, however, you’ll also need a master’s degree and often a Ph.D. as well.

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  7. Urban Planner

    Average Annual Salary: $57,000

    As towns and cities grow and change, urban planners need to guide that growth. These professionals create guidelines for what the city’s land will be used for, where power lines and roads will go, and how many parks and open spaces will be in a given area.

    Urban planners have a huge influence on communities’ sustainability and natural beauty. For example, they help make sure factories aren’t placed next to parks and rivers, power and water systems are efficient and renewable, and neighborhoods aren’t plagued by air pollution.

    If you become an urban planner, your role will change based on the particular city or town you’re working in, so there are a wide variety of challenges available to you in this career.

    Requirements: To get started, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree, but if you want to move past entry-level jobs in an urban planner’s office, you’ll need a master’s degree as well, usually in urban ecology, sustainable planning, or something similar.

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  8. Zoologist

    Average Annual Salary: $67,000

    Contrary to what you might think, zoologists don’t just work in zoos, although many do. Zoologists study animals of all kinds, both in captivity and in the wild.

    In this role, you’ll learn more about animals so that you can help protect and care for them. As a result, this is an excellent career option for someone who loves animals and wants to spend time both outside and in a lab.

    Requirements: To become a zoologist, you’ll need your bachelor’s degree in zoology, wildlife biology, or a similar field. You might also need a master’s degree or even a Ph.D. for many research positions as well.

    Find Zoologist jobs near me

  9. Meteorologist

    Average Annual Salary: $52,000

    Meteorologists do more than stand in front of a green screen and give the weather report on TV. They also study weather patterns and use models and data to create forecasts that the world relies on for everything from knowing what to wear to knowing when to take shelter from a life-threatening storm.

    While many meteorologists work for news stations, others work for the military, the government, and commercial companies such as airlines. One of the largest employers of meteorologists is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is a federal government agency.

    Requirements: Meteorologists need a significant amount of training, which they get from a bachelor’s degree in meteorology. Some also go on to earn a master’s degree or even a Ph.D. to conduct more in-depth research or teach, but often this isn’t required for a standard meteorology job.

    Find Meteorologist jobs near me

  10. Geoscientist

    Average Annual Salary: $99,000

    Geoscientists can have various roles, but they all study the earth and its geological features and processes to learn more about it, find natural resources and care for it more effectively.

    Many geoscientists travel worldwide to conduct research both outside and in labs, while others have more stationary office positions where they use photographs and records to help governments and companies decide where to mine for resources such as oil or gems.

    Requirements: To become a geoscientist, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in geoscience, physical science, or a similar field; however, some employers may want you to have a master’s degree as well.

    Find Geoscientist jobs near me

Environmental Careers

For students just entering the workforce or those looking for a career change, environmental careers are in high demand. Environmental science and engineering jobs typically require a bachelor’s degree in related fields.

However, jobs in alternative energy may only require an associate degree or experience. Environmental advocacy is also an area where those with backgrounds in communications, policy, or journalism can make an impact.

Here are some descriptions of different environmental careers:

  • Alternative energy jobs. Alternative energy is also called renewable or green energy and is important to eliminate the world’s dependency on fossil fuels. It’s one of the pillars of building a green economy.

    Alternative energy can refer to hydroelectric, solar, and wind, all areas that are rapidly expanding. Jobs in this field are growing four times faster than other jobs in the United States.

  • Environmental science jobs. This study of the environment and solutions to environmental problems is a great option for those who have a scientific background.

    Those interested in protecting ecosystems, decreasing pollution, and studying wildlife might be interested in this type of career. Most often, you’ll work in state and local governments, but jobs can also be found in the private sector as well.

  • Sustainable agriculture jobs. Agricultural science focused on soil cultivation, harvesting, and plant and animal product processing.

    Those with a background in biology interested in this career that focuses on optimizing food production, reducing agricultural pollution, and improving crop sustainability may want to consider a career in this field.

  • Atmospheric and earth science jobs. Earth science is a very broad field that includes specialties like hydrology, geology, ecology, and more. Atmospheric science refers to the study of Earth’s atmosphere including meteorology and weather forecasting.

    Those interested in science, studying climate change, testing water quality, or developing and maintaining geological maps, might want to pursue jobs in this career.

Green Jobs by Sector

Environmental jobs are available in a wide variety of areas across private, nonprofit, and public sectors. Jobs in the private sector are mostly focused on creating individual solutions for clients that relate to infrastructure and energy.

In government, professionals are typically working to enforce environmental regulations or monitor the existing health of ecosystems in their area. Nonprofits offer jobs for those who may be interested in conservation or advocating for eco-friendly legislative change.

Public Sector Environmental Careers

Green jobs are available at all levels of government including local, state, and federal. Opportunities for professionals include conservation scientists, environmental engineers, and geologists who may help with a variety of responsibilities including research, design projects, and policy.

Some of the most notable public employers are:

  • Environmental Protection Agency. Also known as the EPA, their mission is to protect human health and the environment through access to clean air, water, and land. Those working for this agency include toxicologists, environmental engineers, geologists, lawyers, and more.

  • National Park Service. The NPS is responsible for maintaining and protecting the United States National Park System. They employ ecologists, geologists, biologists, among others.

  • U.S. Forest Service. The U.S. Forest Service is a department of the United States Department of Agriculture and they are responsible for sustaining health, diversity, and productivity in public grasslands and forests.

  • U.S. Geological Survey. Also known as the USGS, this organization studies climate change and the hazards that threaten our climate, environment, resources, and more. They hire geologists, hydrologists, ecologists, and more.

  • Local and State Government. Depending on where you live, the United States has many environmentally-focused departments at both the state and local levels. Typically, these types of organizations hire staff for departments like ecology, agriculture, wildlife, and natural resources.

Private Sector Environmental Careers

In the coming years, wind turbine technicians and solar photovoltaic installers will see a boom in their job growth. There are plenty of opportunities out there for private wind and solar companies who are hiring for environmental, civil, and mechanical engineers.

The most notable private employers that hire for green careers are:

  • AECOM. This impressive engineering firm develops solutions to large-scale problems including city planning, restoring damaged environments, and designing parks.

    Some of their most notable projects include the 2016 Summer Olympics, Abu Dhabi International Airport, ATT Stadium, Logan International Airport, Fort Knox Gold Mine, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Millennium Park, New Irving TUnnel, the World Trade Center, among many others.

  • Tetra Tech, Inc. This California-based consulting and engineering services firm provides consulting, engineering, program management, and construction management services, providing clients with solutions for water, energy, infrastructure, and more.

  • Jacobs. This American international technical professional services firm provides technical, professional, and construction services, as well as scientific and specialty consulting for clients that include the U.S. government, among other companies and organizations.

    Jacobs uses big data to tackle issues like climate change, water scarcity, and urbanization.

  • Environmental Resources Management. Also known as ERM, this multinational consultancy firm focuses on sustainability. This organization provides environmental, health, safety, risk, and social consulting services and sustainability service for clients looking to manage their environment, safety, and social impact.

  • HDR, Inc. HDR is one of the largest employee-owned companies in the United States. This design firm specializes in engineering, architecture, environmental, and construction services.

    They’ve worked on projects in every U.S. state and over 60 countries including notable projects like the Hoover Dam Bypass Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, and the Roslin Institute Building.

Nonprofit Environmental Careers

Those interested in advocating for better and more green policies might consider joining a nonprofit organization like Greenpeace, 250, or the Climate Reality Project. These organizations typically hire individuals with backgrounds in political sciences, law, journalist, or communications. Some of the major organizations in this field are:

  • World Wildlife Fund. Also known as the WWF, this organization is the world’s largest conservation organization and works hard to reduce the human impact we’ve had on the environment, as well as preserve natural habitats to protect wildlife.

    With over 5 million supporters worldwide, this organization has invested over a billion dollars in over 12,000 conservation initiatives since 1995.

  • Nature Conservancy. This organization has over a million members in its ranks, all fighting for change. Their mission is to help conserve the lands and waters for which life depends.

    Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, the Nature Conservancy has protected over 119,000,000 acres of land and thousands of miles of the river all over the world. It is the largest environmental nonprofit by assets and revenue in America.

  • Sierra Club. This is one of the oldest active environmental organizations in the United States, boasting over 3.5 million members. Their focus is mainly on promoting sustainability and mitigating climate change. This organization operates only in the United States.

    It was one of the first large-scale environmental preservation organizations in the world and to this day still engages in lobbying politicians to promote environmentalist policies.

  • National Audubon Society. This organization is committed to the preservation of ecosystems with a heavy emphasis on the conservation of birds and their habitat. They accomplished this through education, advocacy, and science, with over 500 chapters across the country.

    Founded in 1905, it is also one of the oldest organizations of its kind and also offers the Audubon Medal. This is a recognition of outstanding achievement in the field of conservation and environmental protection.

  • National Wildlife Federation. Also known as the NWF, this organization boasts 6 million members all committed to protecting habitats, restoration, and management, as well as extinction prevention for vulnerable species.

    With over 4 million members, the NWF seeks to educate people of all ages by publishing a variety of wildlife magazines and television series, as well as Conservation Summits typically held with notable environmental educators, naturalists, authors, and artists.

Environmental Jobs FAQ

  1. Are environmental jobs hard to get?

    Environmental jobs can be competitive and can require specialized education and work experience. You will typically need a bachelors degree or higher to get an environmental job.

  2. How do I start a career with an environmental job?

    To start a career in an environmental job you should first pick an area where you want to work and obtain a bachelors degree. Once you know which area you want to specialize in, you will be able to determine what the necessary requirements for that job include. A bachelor’s degree will allow for you to advance in getting other degrees if necessary.


  1. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Wind Turbine Technician Occupational Outlook

  2. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Environmental Engineer Occupational Outlook

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Caitlin Mazur

Caitlin Mazur is a freelance writer at Zippia. Caitlin is passionate about helping Zippia’s readers land the jobs of their dreams by offering content that discusses job-seeking advice based on experience and extensive research. Caitlin holds a degree in English from Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA.

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