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For most jobs, environmental scientists and specialists need at least a bachelor’s degree in a natural science.Education
For most entry-level jobs, environmental scientists and specialists must have a bachelor’s degree in environmental science or a science-related field, such as biology, chemistry, physics, geosciences, or engineering. However, a master’s degree may be needed for advancement. Environmental scientists and specialists who have a doctoral degree make up a small percentage of the occupation, and this level of training is typically needed only for the relatively few postsecondary teaching and basic research positions.
A bachelor’s degree in environmental science offers a broad approach to the natural sciences. Students typically take courses in biology, chemistry, geology, and physics. Students often take specialized courses in hydrology or waste management as part of their degree as well. Classes in environmental policy and regulation are also beneficial. Students who want to reach the Ph.D. level and have a career in academia or as an environmental scientist doing basic research may find it advantageous to major in a more specific natural science such as chemistry, biology, physics, or geology, rather than a broader environmental science degree.
Students should look for classes and internships that include work in computer modeling, data analysis, and geographic information systems. Students with experience in these programs will be the best prepared to enter the job market. The University Consortium of Atmospheric Research (UCAR) offers several programs to help students broaden their understanding of environmental sciences.Important Qualities
Analytical skills. Environmental scientists and specialists base their conclusions on careful analysis of scientific data. They must consider all possible methods and solutions in their analyses.
Communication skills. Environmental scientists and specialists may need to present and explain their findings to audiences of varying backgrounds and to write technical reports.
Interpersonal skills. Environmental scientists and specialists typically work on teams with scientists, engineers, and technicians. Team members must be able to work together effectively to achieve their goals.
Problem-solving skills. Environmental scientists and specialists try to find the best possible solution to problems that affect the environment and people’s health.
Self-discipline. Environmental scientists and specialists may spend a lot of time working alone. They need to be able to stay motivated and get their work done without supervision.Advancement
Environmental scientists and specialists often begin their careers as field analysts, research assistants, or technicians in laboratories and offices. As they gain experience, they earn more responsibilities and autonomy, and may supervise the work of technicians or other scientists. Eventually, they may be promoted to project leader, program manager, or other management or research position.
Other environmental scientists and specialists go on to work as researchers or faculty at colleges and universities.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Environmental scientists and specialists can become Certified Hazardous Materials Managers through the Institute of Hazardous Materials Management. This certification, which must be renewed every 5 years, shows that an environmental scientist or specialist is staying current with developments relevant to this occupation’s work.Work Experience in a Related Occupation
Some environmental scientists and specialists begin their careers as scientists in related occupations, such as hydrology or engineering, and then move into the more interdisciplinary field of environmental science.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Environmental Informatics Analyst||Ut-Battelle, LLC (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)||Oak Ridge, TN||Jul 29, 2016||$108,434|
|Lead Environmental Analyst||Moneygram International, Inc.||Saint Louis Park, MN||Aug 17, 2015||$106,920 -
|Lead Environmental Analyst||Moneygram International, Inc.||Saint Louis Park, MN||Aug 17, 2015||$106,912 -
|Lead Environmental Analyst||Moneygram International, Inc.||Saint Louis Park, MN||Aug 16, 2014||$106,205 -
|Lead Environmental Analyst||Moneygram International Inc.||Minneapolis, MN||Apr 03, 2015||$103,584 -
|Environmental Analyst||International Design, Engineering and Analysis Ser||Burlingame, CA||Sep 24, 2015||$96,000|
|Associate-Aviation Environmental Analyst||BOOZ Allen Hamilton Inc.||Washington, DC||Mar 08, 2012||$90,000|
|Associate-Aviation Environmental Analyst||BOOZ Allen Hamilton Inc.||Washington, DC||Nov 14, 2011||$90,000|
|Associate-Aviation Environmental Analyst||BOOZ Allen Hamilton Inc.||McLean, VA||Jun 21, 2012||$90,000|
|Environmental Informatics Analyst||Ut-Battelle, LLC (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)||Oak Ridge, TN||Jul 31, 2013||$84,304|
|Environmental Analyst||Citadel Environmental Services, Inc.||Glendale, CA||May 15, 2013||$83,480|
|Environmental Analyst/Scientist||Ut-Battelle, LLC (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)||Oak Ridge, TN||Feb 01, 2010||$82,008|
|Environmental Analyst||Chemtech||Mountainside, NJ||Jul 08, 2015||$65,770|
|Environmental Analyst||Potomac Management Services, Inc.||Hyattsville, MD||Oct 01, 2012||$65,000|
|Environmental Analyst||Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Managemen||Boston, MA||Jul 23, 2010||$64,196|
|Environmental Analyst||Total Environmental Restoration Solutions Inc.||Nanuet, NY||Oct 01, 2010||$62,754|
|Lead Environmental Analyst||Moneygram International Inc.||Saint Louis Park, MN||Sep 10, 2012||$62,026 -
|Health, Safety, and Environmental Analyst||Cummins Inc.||Columbus, IN||Aug 18, 2016||$62,000 -
|Environmental Analyst||Delisle Associates Ltd||Portage, MI||Sep 03, 2015||$52,175|
|Environmental Analyst||Delisle Associates Ltd||Portage, MI||Sep 19, 2013||$52,175|
|Environmental Analyst (Project Associate)||Sd Keppler & Associates, LLC||Rockville, MD||Sep 25, 2012||$52,000|
|Environmental Analyst||Sure Shot Termite and Pest Control, Inc.||NY||Oct 01, 2010||$51,465|
|Environmental Analyst||Sure Shot Termite and Pest Control, Inc.||NY||Sep 09, 2010||$51,465|
|Environmental Analyst||Kap Technologies, Inc.||The Woodlands, TX||Oct 01, 2015||$51,000|
|Environmental Analyst||Chemtex Environmental Laboratory Inc.||Port Arthur, TX||Dec 16, 2014||$50,500|
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