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Become An Environmental Specialist

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Working As An Environmental Specialist

  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • $55,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Environmental Specialist Do

Environmental scientists and specialists use their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment and human health. They may clean up polluted areas, advise policymakers, or work with industry to reduce waste.


Environmental scientists and specialists typically do the following:

  • Determine data collection methods for research projects, investigations, and surveys
  • Collect and compile environmental data from samples of air, soil, water, food, and other materials for scientific analysis
  • Analyze samples, surveys, and other information to identify and assess threats to the environment
  • Develop plans to prevent, control, or fix environmental problems, such as land or water pollution
  • Provide information and guidance to government officials, businesses, and the general public on possible environmental hazards and health risks
  • Prepare technical reports and presentations that explain their research and findings

Environmental scientists and specialists analyze environmental problems and develop solutions. For example, many environmental scientists and specialists work to reclaim lands and waters that have been contaminated by pollution. Others assess the risks that new construction projects pose to the environment and make recommendations to governments and businesses on how to minimize the environmental impact of these projects. Environmental scientists and specialists may do research and provide advice on manufacturing practices, such as advising against the use of chemicals that are known to harm the environment.

The federal government and many state and local governments have regulations to ensure that there is clean air to breathe, safe water to drink, and no hazardous materials in the soil. The regulations also place limits on development, particularly near sensitive ecosystems such as wetlands. Environmental scientists and specialists who work for governments ensure that the regulations are followed. Other environmental scientists and specialists work for consulting firms that help companies comply with regulations and policies.

Some environmental scientists and specialists focus on environmental regulations that are designed to protect people’s health, while others focus on regulations designed to minimize society’s impact on the ecosystem. The following are examples of types of specialists:

Climate change analysts study effects on ecosystems caused by the changing climate. They may do outreach education activities and grant writing typical of scientists.

Environmental health specialists study how environmental factors impact human health. They investigate potential environmental health risks. For example, they may investigate and address issues arising from soil and water contamination caused by nuclear weapons manufacturing. They also educate the public about potential health risks present in the environment.

Environmental restoration planners assess polluted sites and determine the cost and activities necessary to clean up the area.

Industrial ecologists work with industry to increase the efficiency of their operations and thereby limit the impacts these activities have on the environment. They analyze costs and benefits of various programs, as well as their impacts on ecosystems.

Other environmental scientists and specialists perform work and receive training similar to that of other physical or life scientists, but they focus on environmental issues. Environmental chemists are an example.

Environmental chemists study the effects that various chemicals have on ecosystems. For example, they look at how acids affect plants, animals, and people. Some areas in which they work include waste management and the remediation of contaminated soils, water, and air.

Many people with backgrounds in environmental science become postsecondary teachers or high school teachers.

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How To Become An Environmental Specialist

For most jobs, environmental scientists and specialists need at least a bachelor’s degree in a natural science.


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.


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.

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Environmental Specialist jobs

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Environmental Specialist Career Paths

Environmental Specialist
Safety Specialist Safety Manager Human Resources Manager
Assistant Vice President
7 Yearsyrs
Specialist Operations Manager General Manager
Chief Operating Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Environmental Scientist Environmental Engineer Project Manager
Construction Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Environmental Manager Operations Manager Senior Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Environmental Safety Specialist Safety Supervisor Project Manager
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Engineer Environmental Engineer
Environmental Compliance Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Environmental Health Safety Manager Health And Safety Manager
Environmental Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Field Technician Environmental Scientist
Environmental Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager Human Resources Manager Operations Director
Executive Director Of Operations
8 Yearsyrs
Machine Operator Home Health Aid Environmental Services Supervisor
Manager Of Environmental Services
9 Yearsyrs
Environmental Manager Safety Manager Human Resources Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Safety Specialist Safety Supervisor
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Environmental Coordinator Environmental Manager Operations Manager
Operations Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Specialist Account Manager Operations Manager
President Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Consultant Senior Consultant
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Safety Manager Human Resources Coordinator Business Analyst
Quality Assurance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Environmental Coordinator Project Manager Construction Manager
Senior Construction Manager
14 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager
Senior Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Environmental Scientist Project Manager
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Professor Development Manager Quality Assurance Manager
Senior Quality Manager
12 Yearsyrs
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Environmental Specialist Demographics


  • Male

  • Female

  • Unknown



  • White

  • Hispanic or Latino

  • Asian

  • Unknown

  • Black or African American

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Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

  • French

  • Italian

  • German

  • Navajo

  • Carrier

  • Comanche

  • Dakota

  • Russian

  • Portuguese

  • Chinese

  • Czech

  • Japanese

  • Arabic

  • Swahili

  • Vietnamese

  • Deseret

  • Dutch

  • Mandarin

  • Ukrainian

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Environmental Specialist

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Environmental Specialist Education

Environmental Specialist

Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.

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Real Environmental Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Environmental Specialist Chevron Corporation Houston, TX Apr 01, 2014 $121,000
Environmental Specialist, Senior Newmont Cripple Creek & Victor Mining Company Victor, CO Jul 15, 2016 $120,000
Environmental Specialist Texas Instruments Incorporated Santa Clara, CA Jun 21, 2016 $115,000
Environmental Specialist Texas Instruments Incorporated Santa Clara, CA Jul 13, 2015 $115,000
Air Environmental Specialist/Engineer Genon Energy Services LLC Rancho Cucamonga, CA Mar 01, 2013 $110,090
Air Environmental Specialist/Engineer Genon Energy Services, LLC Rancho Cucamonga, CA Jun 23, 2013 $110,090
Associate-Environmental Specialist, Senior BOOZ Allen Hamilton Inc. Washington, DC Apr 09, 2014 $106,090
Lead Associate-Environmental Specialist BOOZ Allen Hamilton Inc. Washington, DC Nov 14, 2014 $105,000
Environmental Specialist Suncor Energy (U.S.A.) Inc. Commerce City, CO Nov 29, 2014 $104,000
Environmental Specialist Chemtron Supply Corporation Saint Charles, MO Jan 15, 2016 $103,000
Environmental Specialist E2 Consulting Engineers, Inc. Emeryville, CA Dec 16, 2013 $85,280
Environmental Specialist Tisch Environmental, Inc. Cleves, OH Nov 17, 2016 $83,782
Environmental Specialist Praxair, Inc. Deer Park, TX Apr 13, 2015 $82,126
Staff Environmental Specialist (Green House Gases) Pioneer Natural Resources USA, Inc. Irving, TX Jun 25, 2015 $80,693
Staff Environmental Specialist Arcadis U.S., Inc. Edison, NJ Jan 18, 2013 $66,269
Staff Environmental Specialist Arcadis U.S., Inc. Minneapolis, MN Jan 17, 2015 $65,686
Environmental Specialist Tisch Environmental Inc. Cleves, OH Oct 09, 2016 $64,000
Staff Environmental Specialist Arcadis U.S., Inc. Minneapolis, MN Oct 01, 2014 $63,710
Environmental Specialist TRC Environmental Corporation Houston, TX Sep 14, 2013 $63,215
Environmental Specialist 2 Arcadis U.S., Inc. Houston, TX Dec 08, 2014 $62,700
Environmental Specialist Erm-West, Inc. Bakersfield, CA Sep 13, 2013 $61,000
Environmental Specialist 1 Arcadis U.S., Inc. Seattle, WA Feb 22, 2013 $51,522
Environmental Specialist 1 Arcadis U.S., Inc. Birmingham, AL Mar 01, 2013 $50,482
Environmental Affairs Specialist Martrex Inc. Minnetonka, MN Jan 30, 2014 $50,395 -
Environmental Specialist Integra Communications, LLC IL Sep 20, 2013 $50,318
Environmental Specialist Tomar Construction, LLC East Brunswick, NJ Sep 17, 2014 $50,253
Environmental Specialist Rew Group, LLC Houston, TX Sep 24, 2013 $50,000
Environmental Specialist Bleyl & Associates Conroe, TX Feb 09, 2016 $50,000
Environmental Science Specialist Azure Knowledge Corportation Piscataway, NJ Sep 16, 2015 $50,000

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Top Skills for An Environmental Specialist


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Top Environmental Specialist Skills

  1. Environmental Compliance
  2. Safety
  3. Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Interviewed on-site personnel regarding the environmental compliance history of each site.
  • Demonstrated comprehensive knowledge, experience, and outstanding performance within the field of health and safety.
  • Conducted monthly team meetings across four shifts to cover various HURT topics and response procedures.
  • Advised municipalities relative to regulatory compliance and the construction and operation of all solid and hazardous waste facilities.
  • Escalated discussion to department, management and/or operational teams for complex issues.

Top Environmental Specialist Employers

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Environmental Specialist Videos

What Can You Do with Public Health Degree

Public Historian (Environmental Specialist), Career Video from drkit.org

Career Advice on becoming a Health and Safety Manager by Hamish B (Full Version)